As the primary elections in the 50 states come to a close, nearing the core
of March, a new trend of voters is surfacing with the support of a new wave
of younger voters who are beginning to take hold of democracy in their generation.
The great educator John Dewey once wrote that, “Democracy needs to be reborn in every generation.” No matter the gravity of this statement for young voters, youth voting decreased in the election cycle greatly between 1972 and 2000, from the point when 18 year olds were allowed to vote until present day. Until now, the youth of the nation was never keen on its duties to vote, but with the ever-present influential election of 2008 rearing its head, they have taken on a new perspective: one that holds them sturdy in their positions in the ballot box on election day.
This new trend did not materialize from nothing, but, rather, from a catalyst. That catalyst is Barack Obama, who holds 53% of the vote in being the candidate with the highest level of inspiration. As stated in the February issue of TIME magazine, “Obama radiates change, which attracts young people, which is turn validates the message of change.” Barack Obama has an eloquent way of pursuing the younger vote by persuasion of importance. He projects the message that their voice, and their vote, does make a difference.
Barack Obama also enacted the first-in-the-nation caucuses that allowed 17 year-olds to vote if they were going to be 18 before the general election. Through this outreach to students, he was able to augment his campaign through exemplary primaries, like South Carolina, where he had better than a 3-1 advantage among voters 30 years old and under. This focus on young voters not only glorified his campaign and the youth of the nation. After being able to see that their vote would carry weight in the election, the possibility of being able to choose change began to seem exciting, if not necessary.
Barack remains placid in, as he refers to, the silly season, where the politicians seem to lose their senses of morality and instead focus on belittling their opponents, as opposed to focusing on strengths of their own. In focusing more on their opponents rather than themselves, they become belligerent, thus creating an air of negativity to their campaign. Barack has been known to steer from the path of aggressive behaviors, focusing more on his campaign than on anybody else’s weaknesses. In steering away from the norm, change seems even more prevalent in his campaign, thus making him more appealing to the younger voters who seem to be desiring a less emotional race, but rather, a race that actually focuses on the issues.
The wave of youth flourishes even still, as the general election draws closer. As we, the youth, begin to consider our options outside and inside of the ballot box, consider the impact of one vote, leading to one change, all by the hands of one trendy group of people!