While it has been proventhat the vote of young people can make or a break an election, mostcandidates are reluctant to relate themselves to youngpeople. When that Tuesday in November comes, young people choose not beheard, assuring themselves future neglect by thepart of elected officials. There are reasons that young people do not vote, or get involved inpolitical actions. They range from apathy to just plainnot having enough time. One of the larger reasons is that mostcandidates are much older then those 18-25.
This would put thegeneration gap in between candidates and the youthful voters. A 19 yearold Trinity College student remarks about Bob Dole, Ithink he is making himself look older by speaking about certain issueswe (young people) can not relate to. When asked to givean example the student stated, “he made a reference to World War I, Ithought he was going to say he fought in that one too!”(www. mtv.
com/chooseorlose). While Bob Dole is a isolated instance, manyyouthful voters feel that there is a ever growingdistance between them and the older generations. Another reason thatyoung people are turning away is lack of educationtowards politics. While this could be said for any age group, it seemsto be more prevalent in younger people.
The lifestyle ofyounger people does not allow for a everyday exposure to politics asthose of a older generation. Thomas Banks, a 19 yearold student, when asked why he was not watching the 1992 PresidentialDebates responded, “I guess because I don’t reallysee what’s going on at college. I feel pretty isolated. It doesn’t seemas important to me as studying.
I guess”. Although not in acareer yet, the life of a student is proving to be just as busy as thosein the older generations. People in the full time labor arenot the only ones who can use a hassle-full life as an excuse not to getinvolved. There is another major reason that youngpeople feel isolated and set apart from the political world.
For thosewho take the time to educate themselves, and toparticipate in what activities they can; they soon find that the majorcandidates have paid little, if any attention to the issues thateffect young people the most. Chris Weinkopf, associate editor ofNational Review, when speaking about how Bill Clinton andBob Dole are talking to young voters said, “I think both of them arereally just paying lip service to young people in the waythey address issues” (www. mtv. com/issues.
html). When young voters make themselves heard in an election, they canturn the outcome like no other age group can. Evenwith minimal turn-out on the part of 18-25 year olds. Elections havebeen won or lost because of who young people do or donot support.
In 1992, 50% of registered voters under the age of 30turned out to vote. In that election, Bill Clinton received50% of the under 30 vote (Bush received 30%, Perot 20%). Clintons 20%margin of victory in the young people vote was hislargest in any age group and may have very well put him in the WhiteHouse. Since John Andersons independent run at theWhite House in 1980, young people have been the strongest supporters forthose outside the two party system.
Now in 1996,even though Ross Perot has a dismal 5% overall, his support amongst theyounger voters is in the double digits. There are many things that will make young people get involved. Thebiggest thing that gets the attention of youthfulvoters is the same thing that gets the attention of older voters, money. When the financial status of a young person is threatened,they are more likely to get involved in political activities.
Issuessuch as student loans, tax cuts, minimum wage and Pell Grantminimums are issues that turn the heads of younger voters. Other issuesthat effect young people and make them get involvedinclude birth control, use of tobacco products and A. I. D.
S. research toname a few more. In 1991, Montanas state Legislatureenacted a unique referendum. It allowed the states high school studentsto