5 Things Millennials Want This Election Season
By: Pamela Chan
June 24, 2016
Presidential elections never seem to draw much attention from the American public—not to mention from the Millennial crowd, who more often than not, don’t mind all that much about missing a Democratic or Republican debate in lieu of the NBA playoffs or a House of Cards marathon.
It hasn’t been all that different this time around, even if we are dealing with the almighty Hillz and God help us, Mr. Trump. With most national debates and primaries having come and gone, November is no doubt creeping upon us. That’s right folks, election season is in full swing. Yet it seems that though attention to poll numbers has bumped up an ever so slight sixteen percent, the majority of Americans are still not following the race, with a little more than one-fourth really even caring at all.
When it comes down specifically to us young 'uns, the numbers get worse. Older folks are much more engaged and politically active, whereas “kids these days” just aren’t. A recent survey conducted by Rock the Vote and USA TODAY even revealed that only around sixty percent of Gen-Y plans to vote in the general election come fall. Whaattt?!
Millennials are not totally to blame though, considering where a decade’s worth of muggy political maneuvering has left us. No, we are not the “narcissistic generation,” as TIME put it, nor are we the “me generation” who is constantly stuck on the phone and uninterested in anything truly important. It’s not that political action isn’t the cool thing to do, it’s just that the entire political process has created a blechh taste in our mouths—an unending sort of self-perpetuating hopelessness that never seems to go away.
Problem is, the under-35-bunch is now the largest living generation to date. For those who hate crunching numbers, let’s lay it out simply: the upcoming November 2016 election will be a watershed moment for the American electorate, as it will be the first presidential election where Millennials make up the same proportion of the U.S. voting-age population as Baby Boomers.
It has never been a more important time to realize that one of the main reasons why Millennials don't vote or participate is because politics don’t seem to serve any of our interests. Yet the reason politics continues to not serve our interests is because we don't vote.
BAM. Corny as it sounds, we are indeed “the future.” Every single vote can and will “make a difference,” and no matter how cynical we may have become, it is now or never to appreciate and to take advantage of a luxury and a gift that many people in other countries still fight desperately for. If change is to be evoked, taking a long hard look at the issues and ‘doing something about them’ is key. And surprisingly, even though it appears voter turnout might be low for Millennials in 2016, we actually do care very deeply about the future of this country-- despite our lack of faith.
“All the passion in the world won’t help us unless we learn either to work within or to change the current power structure,” notes an article from the Nation. Stop complaining and do something monumentally different this year by taking to the polls, by paying attention, and by believing that perhaps this country could one day really run on the ideals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Here are five things that WE would like to see from our next Mr. President:
1. We want to flourish, not flounder as an economy.
Like Baby Boomers and every other generation that preceded us, Millennials want the economy booming, not buzzed. As soon as it slows and slurs, companies get leaner and debt because inevitable.
Yet ever since the 2008 recession, American economics has been in a total bust. Jobs, the minimum wage, paid leave, income inequality, and breaking up big bank corporations—those are just a select few among loads of other financial problems we are still dealing with almost a decade later.
No, our daily focuses should not revolve around pesky pocketbook issues, but instead, around more important things such as friends, family, happiness, and prosperity. Action must be taken-- because juggling three jobs and figuring out how to make ends meet is not the way to ‘live’ for anyone.
College affordability and never-ending amounts of student debt aren’t either. And unfortunately for young people, both the former and the latter continue to cause stress. The consequences of having resorted to student loans haunt Millennials to this very day. Further, there are also those unreasonable and always rising higher education costs that never seem to end.
2. We want to sleep soundly again during nights, without our eyes wide open.
Back in 2001, 9/11 instigated numerous foreign policy, border safety, and basic well-being issues that the U.S. has been embroiled in since most Millennials can remember. Now with ISIS, the refugee crisis, as well as the recent San Bernardino and Paris attacks, the topic of terrorism has once again reached a tipping point.
Should we be committing and/or deploying ground troops and armed forces to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State? Should we be accepting refugees from foreign conflicts such as Syria or Central America like our European counterparts? Should we be helping to alleviate extreme poverty in other countries to combat extremism?
Everybody from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton have said numerous things about these topics. Obama’s already been blasted for attempting to remove certain refugees via “inhumane” ICE raids earlier this year.
There needs to be a solution. Fast. We need to feel safe. Now.
3. We want to go to school or to work or to a party without having to worry about being brazed by dozens of bullets.
Columbine was nearly two decades ago. Sandy Hook was several years ago. San Bernardino was a few months ago. Orlando was a couple weeks ago. It seems that all too much violence has and still is occurring in this country—and all because of guns. Second Amendment or not, actions need to be taken to ensure that we can continue to learn, live, and work in utter peace and quiet. Period.
So to our dear Future President: Please amp up on gun control reform by enforcing stricter gun laws, paying stronger attention to the mental health care system, and requiring universal background checks for all gun purchasers.
4. We want to thrive without thinking that an imminent Apocalypse will soon be heading our way.
These days, the threat of climate changes such as global warming has made life much harder to deal with. Living in constant fear that the world will soon come to an end is not the way to spend our days here on earth. Further, if we do not end up having a place to live, there really is no need to worry about anything else, am I right?
Still, not nearly enough efforts are being taken to combat this environmental crisis we find ourselves stuck in. For starters, maybe it’s time to transition to mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030, or to help conserve on water and energy that is constantly being unknowingly wasted. Southern Californians know especially well that Mother Nature is begging for Americans to save on both H2O and electricity-- brown lawns and shorter showers aside.
5. We want clean and breathable air.
Smog is bad-- not only for hair, skin, nails, and the environment, but for helplessly automobile-dependent human beings such as ourselves who seem to be the very ones causing this dirty old mess. Let’s make some changes this year by putting heavier investments into building buses and railways for transportation options such as carpooling, road sharing, and public transit systems. In the end, this could all add up to less cars, less smog, cleaner air, and happier people. It’s a win-win. be heading our way.