Parkland Students May Be Inspiring Something Bigger Than Gun Control
They May Be Inspiring Young People To Vote
According to the Census Bureau just 39% of 18–24 year olds voted in the 2016 Presidential Election. In the last midterm Congressional Election in 2014, just 15% of people between 18–24 voted. That’s only about 1 in 7 people in that age group. In both cases, young people participated in the election less than any other age demographic.
Of course November is a long way off, and with politics moving so fast, the events of the past couple of weeks could be a distant memory by then. At that same time, there are signs powerful, moneyed people believe in the perseverance of this group of students. (And we do too!)
According to Politico, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who’s already spent tens of millions of dollars on what’s seemed to us a Quixotic campaign to get President Trump impeached, is committing $1-million right now in an effort to register high school students to vote in time for this year’s midterms. And if that drive starts going well, he could intensify his support. Steyer says voters that age are “the biggest and least politically represented group in the U.S.”
While it’s mainly Democrats seizing on opportunities like this, we don’t believe the students themselves are thinking in terms of party loyalty much if at all (which is part of the reason people in this age group haven’t been voting). They’re looking purely at issues, and will vote for candidates who most powerfully reflect their views.
That’s why we’ve repeatedly argued that the “generic ballot” polls we keep seeing, which just measure one party vs. another, are almost completely meaningless this year.