Did I make you angry? Before you run to your safety zones on your college campuses, listen to this quickly. With less than one month until the election, have you paid attention to the ads on television or the talking points in the debates? You may not have noticed, but the issues that Millennials were so vocal about in the primaries aren’t there. You know why? You don’t vote, but I’ll return to this a little later. First, let’s look at the marketing spectrum for this election.
Marketing is expensive, especially television advertising. This election cycle alone, campaigns are spending roughly $4.4 billion on television advertisement. Strategy meetings across the board look at how money can best reach the most people. With this much money on the table we focus on the people who show up on Election Day. The Millennial generation is now as large as the baby boomer generation in the pool of voters who can go to the polls. With such huge numbers, the question we’re left with is why don’t we get barraged with ads and people clamoring for our vote? Statistically, Millennials don’t vote. A survey done by CIRCLE, a center that studies civic participation, found that in the 2014 midterm, only 19.9% of Millennials showed up to vote. Only 46% of Millennials voted in the last presidential election in 2012 compared to 76% of the Silent Generation, or our grandparent’s generation. (See graphs below for voter pop. and voter turnout)
Let me get back to your interests in the election. You were vocal on social media and on the campaign trail, but when it mattered most, you didn’t show up. Go to Youtube and look up candidates’ ads; either positive or negative. The biggest talking points are healthcare, national security, and taxes. These kind of affect Millennials, but it’s not the affordable (or free) college platform that perked up every ear. With less than a month until elections, the only question I have left is why don’t we show up at the polls?
This presidential election, just about all Millennials are now of voting age which makes us huge contenders in the election, but something in our generation seems to stop us from making the difference we want. Have you ever heard someone say, well I’m not voting because my vote doesn’t matter. When person after person begins to say this, you’ve just crippled a large body of voters. In 2000, George W. Bush won the presidency over Al Gore because of 537 votes in Florida. Another example, Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate Seat in 2008 by just 312 votes! Another reason we’re not voting? We’re lazy. At least that’s how we are perceived. We’re passionate when we want, but apathetic when it doesn’t interest us. We hear sound bites from candidates and we’re the first to jump onto social media and praise someone or tear someone down, but leaving the house to cast a vote? Well, that interferes with my Starbucks run.
Okay, I’m exaggerating with that last one, but it echoes my point. We as a generation don’t really do anything we don’t want to do. SO, what does this mean? This is in essence a call to action for Millennials. If you want to be heard, if you want candidates to focus on your issues, if you really want to see change, you have to make the effort and vote! We can be trending on Twitter, we can have hundreds of followers or friends on Instagram and Facebook, but that won’t bring us to the table in politics. On November 8th, make it to the polls, cast your vote, and change the world!