The youngest generation to place their votes in 2016—millennials—make up over ¼ of the national population. It’s no wonder that the leading candidates are striving to earn their vote.
But not every single millennial fits into a box, or ballot. Not every young person is either strictly “feelin’ the Bern” or craving to become a “Trumpkin.”
There’s an entire group of the millennial generation that is currently undecided, and voter turnout for those between 18 and 30 is lower than ever. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement reported that only 19.9% of registered millennial voters opted to cast a ballot at all in the 2014 congressional elections. That number is pacing to climb dramatically this election year.
And the reason they aren’t showing up on election day? They feel lost, confused, and that issues have been oversimplified. There lacks a candidate who can state the issue and their solution in great detail, and not all twenty-somethings are jumping on the “hope and change” bandwagon. They want solid plans and solutions.
These undecided voters are not first-time voters and the issue is not that they don’t know what their core values and principles are. These voters have stable careers, thousands of dollars in student loan debt, a passion for social issues, confusion when it comes to the economy, and strong opinions on we should have boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
These are not young people who claim to have all the answers. But what they do have is a vision. They know what they want to country to look like, but they’re not sure how to get there. That’s where the presidential candidates are supposed to come in.
So what the candidates of the 2016 Primary Election need to do is recognize those voters. Stop classifying millennials as the young voters and start realizing that there are different issues, concerns, and passions within each demographic.
It’s not only unfair to lump an entire generation into the young vote, the old vote, or the black or white vote, it also completely overlooks the diversity that is the United States of America.
It takes issues like student loans repayments and access to birth control and says that those only concern the young vote. It takes medicare and social security and says they only matter to the retired voters.
It’s not true. And it’s not fair.
So, to the candidates attempting to race to the finish line and claim the “young vote” — please pause; Consider that there are still undecided voters, and they will make a difference in the election. Find a way to voice your true agendas and stop thinking millennials are young and naïve.
They are watching closely, and in the end, their vote will matter.