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TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Millennials have power to define the midterms. Will they use it?

Millennials protest at a Black Lives Matter rally. credit: DC Report

Millennials will likely be the largest voting-eligible population by the 2020 presidential election, but they have yet to flex their political muscle at the polls.

Born between 1977 and 1995, millennials tend to lean left on the political spectrum, which could play a role in the results on Nov. 6, according to a report written by William Frey, a demographer with Brookings.

The majority of the voting eligible population was younger than 52 in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Millennials are the most diverse generation. More than two-fifths of them are African American, Latino, Asian American, and other minority groups. Their numbers are also expected to get a boost because there are hundreds of young immigrants on the path to citizenship.

“I believe that, if they did turnout to vote more than young adults in the past, millennials could help to sway several elections toward the Democrats,” said Frey.

Getting young people to the ballot box has never been an easy feat, much less in a midterm election.

The voting age was lowered in 1971 due to backlash of the Vietnam War. People were drafted at 18, but they couldn’t vote.

Protesters voice opinions for the 18-year-old vote. Credit: History for Free

Since the change, young people have statistically had low turnout rates.

“Their participation rates typically go up when they establish their careers and get more settled with their family life,” said TCU American politics professor Joanne Green.

A variety of reasons could be the culprit of low voting numbers. TCU political scientist James Riddlesperger attributed it to the difficulty of getting an absentee ballot for students away from their home states and a lack of interest in the news.

“They often feel, erroneously, that they have ‘less at stake’ in the election than do people farther along in their careers,” said Riddlesperger.

According to a survey done on a nationally representative sample of 1,910 millennials aged 18 to 34, the majority of millennials plan to vote.

Most millennials; however, don’t view these midterms as more important than any other.

It’s hard to tell if this year’s midterms will bring more votes, said Riddlesperger. If any factor plays a role, it could be the controversy surrounding President Trump.

“Midterm elections are always a referendum on the incumbent president even though his name is not on the ballot,” said Riddlesperger.

Even political science students are not immune to the public disinterest in the midterms. Green said most of her students weren’t as excited to vote as they were during the presidential election. But she said that they were “reasonably interested” in comparison to the general population of TCU students.

Senior political science major Christian Tjoa said he believes in the importance of voting. “It’s the primary method of holding those in power accountable,” he said.

Tjoa’s peer, senior political science major Allie Strehle said that it’s a shame more young people aren’t voting. “Those that we vote into office will make decisions that impact everyone’s lives,” she said.

Organizations are determined to get more millennials to the ballot box.

TheSkimm sends the most important news stories to thousands of millennials’ inboxes each week day. They revolutionized how people get their news, and they now want to bring awareness to the importance of voting.

The Skimm said in a report that people’s vote matters, and who gets voted into office has a direct effect on people’s wallets, health care plans, and rights to carry firearms.

Read more about how to get a head start on voting.

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