More than ever, presidential candidates are trying to appeal to millennials by bringing issues like women’s rights and education to the forefront of this year’s election.
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are those born after 1980 and are reaching adulthood on the brink of the new millennium, currently consisting of ages 18 to 34. Most millennials tend to avoid elections, resulting in the lowest election turnout compared to older generations. In the 2012 election, voters between 18 and 29 made up just 19 percent of the electorate.
During this election season, however, millennials were piqued by former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. His appeal to the younger generation mainly stemmed from his goal to make college cost-free, increase the minimum wage, and supply affordable housing.
After his loss to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a majority of the younger generation seemed lost – they weren’t sure of who to vote for. Later, Sanders’s endorsement of Clinton guided most of his supporters toward the nominee, although many remained in opposition, either opting for a third party candidate or standing as undecided.
In order to appeal to this opposition, Clinton shed light on policies geared towards youth. She mentioned her goals to lower student debt and combat climate change – both issues that appeal to millennials.
Republican nominee Donald Tump instead shares views with the older majority of voters with his goals of appointing a conservative Supreme Court and maintaining a pro-life stance on abortion. Unlike Clinton, Trump does not believe in climate change, which is a common Republican viewpoint.
However, with the two candidates being neck-and-neck, millennials could possibly decide this year’s outcome. According to Pew, millennials have “caught up to the [Baby] Boomers when it comes to their share of the American electorate.”
The question remains: Will millennials vote?
Those who do not identify with either of the major political parties’ ideals tend to drift off. Voter turnout is a major factor in the outcome of this election.
Older voters and millennials alike have decided to refrain from voting in this election, often declaring themselves unaffiliated. Many believe the political process and the two-party system do not consider their concerns.
Many are also searching for other candidates within third parties. Third party nominees like Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have received increasing attention from eligible voters, especially those who believe it is better to vote than to refrain.
However, this far into the election, third-party candidates have not received the minimum percentage in order to partake in the debates. For now, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominate the polls.
By Alexandra Reboredo