Youth Vote 2012: Why Millennials Are Disillusioned This Time Around

I remember my first time voting. At the young age of 18, I was so ready to be a part of the voting population. I wanted to be politically active, and do my part for our nation. It was one of the most important times to be a young voter, during a historic campaign season that finally led to the first African-American president entering office.

Now, here I am. It is four years later, and I am filling out my absentee ballot. Like many of my peers around me, we have registered to vote, but not out of excitement for choosing our next leader. It is our duty as American citizens to vote, and we all understand the responsibility that comes with that. Throughout the campaign season, we have fervently watched the RNC convention, DNC convention, and all the presidential and vice-presidential debates. We have kept up with polls, and with how each candidate is doing in each swing state. We care, but there is something lacking. We are all just disillusioned.

Many of my peers are voting for the first time, and they do not have the same excitement I felt four years ago. They have watched as two candidates go back and forth, but neither with much substance or answers. On the Republican side, we have a candidate who has seemed more like a robot than a man. He has changed many of his views on policies that he has campaigned for. On the other hand, we have President Obama, the man who promised change. It is unrealistic to expect all of the United States’ problems to be fixed in four years, but there hasn’t been as much progress towards change either.

It makes us wonder why we even vote at all. Neither candidate has really brought promise into this year’s elections. It also doesn’t help that the elections really rely on a few key swings states. Those states have the power to actually change how the elections will go. The votes in states like Texas (where I permanently reside) are really kind of worthless. There is no surprise in what the popular vote there will look like. Even if I did vote for Obama (and I did), will it really make that much of a difference for Obama? None of the 38 electoral votes from Texas will be going to him. So why bother?

I know millennials, including myself, will continue to vote. We vote because it’s our duty as citizens. We want to be politically involved, we want to be a positive influence, and we want to leave our mark on the world. We hope that our leaders will aspire to do this, but until then, we will just continue to cynically wait for change.  

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Belinda Moreira

Belinda is a Teach for America 2013 Corp Member and 10th grade English teacher in the DC Region. She is a graduate of Georgetown University. She also has a particular interest for education policy, and is originally from Houston, TX.

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