Why the 2016 Election Should Matter to the Millennials


(Photo courtesy of take part.com)

The Jagwire Staff

The Millennials are the generation born in the time period between 1982 and 2000. In other words, us. Often labeled the “entitled generation,” we are notorious for our bad reputation. After all, we’re selfish rule-breakers who are too obsessed with technology right? Well, as with any stereotype, most of these accusations are founded on over-simplified classifications of our generation.

For those of us who will be eighteen by this coming election day on March 1, we will be able to cast our vote in the Virginia Primary. This year, the number of Millennials who will be able to vote will almost equal those of the eligible “Baby Boomers” (the generation born between 1946 and 1964). By 2020, we will have surpassed them. However, just because we can vote, doesn’t mean many of us will show up at our polling places. In the 2012 election, only an estimated 58.2% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24, only 41.2% actually voted. While asking for a voter turnout of a hundred percent isn’t feasible, we still have plenty of room for improvement.

Though we have seen an upward trend of independent voters amongst Millennials, a high percentage of Millennials have Democratic or Democratic-leaning views. However, these views could possibly shift more to the right with age and changing circumstances. Regardless, we are a major demographic to be considered in this upcoming election. We could potentially hold a lot of weight, if people were to cast their ballots. So for all the 18-year-olds reading this, make sure you are registered!

But wait! Before you go running to the polls, do your research. Find out your stances on the issues and which ones are your deal-breakers. See if you side with a particular party, or if your views run more independent. Don’t base your opinions on what your family, teachers, or friends are saying; do your own digging and see what you believe. We have the ability to influence change, so make sure your influence is really your own.

Maybe we are the selfish generation. But we’re selfish about our right to an affordable college education. And so what if we break the rules? We’ll keep breaking the rules of gender norms and racial stereotypes. We’ll use our knowledge of social media to spark open dialogue and change, none of which would be possible without the technology we have today. This is an important year for our generation; more and more Millennials will be able to head to the polls and have their voices heard. Let’s not waste that opportunity.