Those born in the 1990s and into the millennial years are said to be the least active in political history.
According to MCCC History Professor Edmond La Clair, participation by young people is at an all-time low.
“Besides 2008 for the Obama election, participation is lower than any other generation,” he said.
How could this be if Generation Y is considered the digital generation, having media-galore covering every volunteer event or scandalous activity at the tips of their fingers?
Maybe it’s because a majority of these younger voters say they think the candidates are crummy.
MCCC student Courtney Mink said she isn’t interested in politics because she couldn’t trust their word.
“I just feel like you can’t believe anything they say,” she said.
Student Alexander Basile agreed that politicians seem to miss the truth.
Basile said he considered running for a position until he realized what the job might entail.
“I considered trying to run for something, but the other side of me doesn’t want to deal with the bull-crap,” he said. “To get any- where I’d have to lie and stab them in the back.”
Not every young voter dislikes politicians.
Hayley Koszegi said there are some aspects she likes about politics and politicians.
“I love politics because it raises issues to the public about the state, country, and world,” she said. “I love politicians because sometimes they make good decisions and actually care about the people.”
La Clair said that students should care. Otherwise, there is a stronger liklihood they will get “extreme politicians.”
He said that if voters felt strongly only one way or the other, politicians would tend to those requests. This would leave no room for compromise.
“Moderate voters will not vote, if we only have the extreme voting, the candidates will be more extreme,” he said. “And in a country built on compromise, that’s very problematic.”
Student Jacob Boes said he doesn’t like politics or politicians because he already sees politics as all-or-nothing.
“I don’t like the bipartisan system and corruption that goes on. All the lobbyist and special interest groups that play in,” he said.
“Everything in life is a compromise and when these people don’t get their way, they literally throw a fit.”
So, if the younger generation is unhappy with Washington, then why aren’t they doing anything to change it? Some students say they could, and that they do have a voice, while others say they think it’s pointless.
“The more people that have an opinion, or a voice, could potentially make a difference,” Mink said. “I don’t really make it a huge priority, but I kind of care what’s going to happen because it’s going to affect us so we should kind of pay attention.”
MCCC student Heaven Wuest said the opposite — that if she felt she mattered, she would probably care more.
“I don’t think our votes count,” she said. “I feel as if the government controls the world – they make everything happen the way they want it to happen.”
How can baby-boomer off- spring get more involved when they feel so useless?
According to La Clair, information is more available to this generation than prior generations.
“This generation, ages 18-24, even 30, are more aware of politics, they know more and have more access to information,” he said.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media blow up with information on political parties, candidates and issues.
However, Boes said that his main gateway of information on politicians comes from TV and in the mail.
Boes disagrees that the younger generations are as informed as research says.
“They probably aren’t as involved or educated as they should be,” he said. “It’s hard to be involved when you’re not the ones who matter.”
Koszegi agreed that people don’t know as much as they should.
“People don’t know the facts about what’s going on and they make a big deal about things that they don’t know,” she said.
Although it seems as if members of this genertion are forgotten children, La Clair said this is not the case.
For example, he said that most students are graduating with loan debt. The interest rate on the loan is controlled by the government, but why would the government make it more favorable to students when students don’t vote?
“If students don’t vote, the government is free to ignore them,” La Clair said.