A lot of issues have come up in the recent election. Things like the economy, foreign policy and energy. But which of these issues are affecting young voters. What is gearing their decision making?
Experts say the young vote is crucial in the upcoming election. But what issues affect the younger voter? Just like older voters young adults in Michigan have told me that the economy is their main concern. They say they want to elect a candidate who not necessarily has better political sense, but can help their financial future.
Julius Bryant is a junior at Central Michigan University.
“I’ll be graduating soon and I would like to stay here in Michigan and have a job here after I graduate. But it’s become almost a regularity for a student to graduate here in Michigan to go out of state for a job. Just because the economy is so terrible here there’s few jobs here. I think the economy is probably the thing effecting me most.
Many students like Julius, who try hard throughout their college career, are sometimes stuck after graduation when it comes to job hunting. Most of the young voters I spoke with felt they can relate better to Obama than McCain. Some say this could be because Barack Obama stresses issues in his campaign that affect middle class young people more than others. Issues like education.
Ricardo White is vice president of the College Democrats at Central Michigan University.
“If barrack Obama is president, he has insured that he will invest more in education. John McCain on the other hand has said he wants to eliminate education all together. Which to me symbolizes that he doesn’t really care what happens in education. Because he went to the naval academy he doesn’t know first hand how much college cost. Being a millionaire and having children that go to college really shows that you don’t know what it’s like to take out loans and pay for school.”
Many say that if young people want their concerns addressed they have to simply “show up”. Assistant political science professor Cherie Strachn says Presidential candidates usually address the concerns of those who vote, which may be why the youth vote is stressed in the current election.
“The issues that affect young people have been but their being exacerbated by the poor economy. Either presidential candidate that gets elected will have to deal with these issues whether they deal with them in a way that is most helpful to young I think depends on how many young people show up. Politicians pay attention to issues based on who votes. Which is why we’ve heard so much in the past about retirement packages and social security. So if young people show up then perhaps they will get some some economic relief in terms of access to student loans, access to affordable housing while they’re in college and while they are searching for a job.”
There are also young people who agree with Senator Mccain when it comes to tax breaks and funding for education. Some youth believe MCcain’s plan will make getting money for college less complicated.
Nathan Inks is Vice Chair of the College Republicans at Central Michigan University.
“The main focus of Senator Mccain’s tax cut plans when it comes to education is to simplify the tax code so that students can find the tax breaks that are there and the tax code. Right now the code is very complex and it’s hard for people who don’t know the ins and outs of the tax code to find the tax credit so simplifying it is gonna make it easier for students to fill out the forms and get the money back.”
Professor of Political science Sterling Johnson says the power and potential of the youth vote is nothing new. Johnson believes that America is counting on young voters to put the best person in the white house come November 4th.
“Since the 60’s, since gunner generation and revolution of the 60’swe’ve been taunting the possibility and the potential power of the youth vote. But more importantly the global community is counting on young Americans to turn out and put someone responsible with whom they can actually have a political economic dialogue and move the planet forward.”
Lack of voter participation from young people, may be why the potential power of the youth vote is just that; potential. Most of the people I spoke with say that in order for the power of the youth vote to be unleashed, young people have to go out and vote.