A Closer Look Highlights Impact of Millennials on Election
With midterms behind us and Thanksgiving break on the horizon, it might be reasonable to assume that many students have not been concerned with election polls, platforms and headlines. The Pew Research Center reports that millennials (defined as people between 18 and 35) have the lowest voter turnout of any age group, with only 46 percent voting in the last presidential election. Despite potentially low voter turnout among millennials, the millennial generation now rivals baby boomers in total share of the electorate, each accounting for about one third of the general electorate.
In the midst of changing national racial and age demographics, the current presidential election has been one of the most controversial, bitter, polarizing political events in a generation. To reflect the importance of such a singular event, the Multicultural Center has been hosting a series of debate viewing parties and post-debate discussions, called Debate the Debates, aimed at engaging Georgia State University students in the political process and encouraging dialogue about the most pressing issues facing millennials.
Since this will be the first presidential election in which all millennials will be of voting age, media outlets have been particularly interested in hearing from college students about the political process, their impressions of the candidates and reactions to this year’s presidential debates. Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE 90.1, featured several Spelman College and Georgia State University students in A Closer Look following the first presidential debate in late September.
Allen Bosbyshell, junior public policy major at Georgia State University, was one of the students featured in NPR’s A Closer Look after attending the Multicultural Center’s first debate viewing party. Bosbyshell sat down with Multicultural Center staff to expand on his feelings on the most pressing issues in this election cycle.
To me personally, it would be income inequality. I think that goes for our country as a whole as well. But it’s definitely not ISIS. It’s not healthcare. Immigration is used by politicians to scare people. Latino immigrants will be the majority voters in a few years, so politicians are worried.
~ Allen Bosbyshell
Do Allen’s feelings reflect the majority of other 18-24 voters? The Multicultural Center staff asked him to speculate on the reasons for the lack of voter turnout in the millennial age group.
Either they just don’t care, or they don’t think it would make a difference, which are valid reasons. They don’t think elections will address their real-world concerns, like paying the rent.
~ Allen Bosbyshell
Through events like the debate viewing parties, Debate the Debates or other discussion based programs, the Multicultural Center encourages students to make their voices heard about their political and societal concerns, take the opportunity to hear their fellow Panthers share their stories and feelings about the election and find ways to connect questions of politics with their purpose and their personal and career goals. The culmination of the Multicultural Center’s election related events will the Art as Politics art show on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 5 – 8 p.m. in the Multicultural Center Lounge. The Multicultural Center is currently accepting submissions of traditional, mixed media and performance based art for the show.