In 2008, young adults in America felt the excitement. The promise of restoring hope and optimism in America’s future drove the most youth voters since 1960 to the polls. Then-Senator Barack Obama reaped the rewards of this movement; more than twice as many voters under 30 voted for Obama over his Republican opponent Senator John Mccain, which propelled Obama into the White House.
However, the hopeful momentum of that election has faded. According to an article in The New York Times, students feel less enthused to vote in the upcoming November election. With a downtrodden economy and high numbers of youth unemployment, even advisers to President Obama are banking on a marginal win among youth rather than a sweep.
The apparent disinterest in this election, though, is disappointing. This nation is far from healed. Youth were moved in 2008 because of motivational rhetoric. The promise of “Change” from Obama was exhilarating, but what about now? America is still in a recession. It is the youth who will have to deal with the effects in the long run.
This observation, like so many other in the realm of politics, goes back to party politics. Each party is willing to do whatever it can to get its candidate into the White House. Dull speeches about policies and plans are not nearly as moving as an impassioned speech that actually says very little. In the modern world, most citizens are disgruntled by at least one specific issue during any given election year and, therefore, blame whichever party is in office. That is why Democrats riled up the optimistic youth in 2008 and why the Republicans are at an advantage this year.
So, back to why you should care: the policies of the candidates are as relevant to youth today as they were four years ago. There are the many of the same social, political and economic issues on the table. The thrill from Obama’s 2008 speeches may be missing, but young adults should look beyond the silly motivational pep talks and focus on what really matters. After all, that’s what politics should be about.
Natalie Barman / Opinion Editor