By Ally Yager
Ever since Donald Trump was elected in 2016 after winning against running mate Hillary Clinton, it has been difficult for everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to deny the rising tensions between Trump and his supporters and the rest of the country. Throughout his presidency, Trump has made no attempts to mask his close minded ways, with many of his followers feeding off of the xenophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist ideologies he preaches. Hence why, it’s really no mystery that those who adamantly oppose his policies have rushed to the polls to vote in the 2020 election. The nation’s efforts were indefinitely more heightened than previous elections due to the fact that the next presidential elect would alter the course of history, and statistics echo this sentiment. A projected 161 million Americans voted in the presidential election, making up the highest voter turnout in modern history. This ultimately Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to win.
According to the United States Election Project, the voter turnout for 18-29-year-olds increased by approximately 10% from 1986-2018. To nobody’s surprise, the numerous months leading up to Biden’s election also followed this trend. Millennials and Gen Z have become increasingly more aware of the necessities of exercising their right Constitutional right to vote and how vital it is in being a good citizen. People who have never voted did so in this election, and all over social media platforms, celebrities and influencers alike urged people to register to vote and find resources to learn how to make the most well-informed decisions. This prominent shift into making voting a “trend” that the younger generations can follow is groundbreaking, and I theorize that it will lead to a lifelong involvement in politics and care for human rights issues for young individuals.
In regard to the specifics of the 2020 election, the youth truly solidified that our nation would never again overlook the meaning of the phrases “power to the polls” and “strength in numbers.” The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and Tufts University stated that over half of all voters under the age of 30 voted in the elections, breaking a record and ultimately resulting in Biden’s victory. Edison Research arrived at the same conclusion, revealing that voters aged 18-29 overwhelmingly supported Biden over Trump to a 60% to 36% margin. This is pretty significant, because in choosing to back a candidate that advocates for the rights of various minority groups, Gen Z and Millennials are becoming increasingly more tolerant and accepting of those who don’t fit the norms that their parents and grandparents were so persistent on maintaining.
My hope is that over the course of the next few years young voters will be able to continue being able to educate themselves, their friends and their family members on how to be more loving and accepting people in such a politically polarized world. While I don’t necessarily believe that certain people’s votes are more powerful and important than others, I do value and stress the importance of my own generation’s votes because they will ultimately shape the world that we live in and the rest of our futures far more than the remainder of the lives of the elderly.
For those who can’t vote yet, know that you should absolutely be forming your own political opinions right now. Any prep is good prep, and when you are eligible to vote, you’ll go forward with confidence knowing that you made the best choice. And like you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m an avid MAGA-loving Trump supporter. In all seriousness, get out there and inform yourself! You hold lots more influence than you may think.