Young People's Silence Paved the Republicans' Road to Victory

Not voting is a sure-fire way for young adults to silence their own voices.

With the Republicans’ return to power in the House and increased voice in the Senate, pundits and politicians alike have been quick to talk about what the American people want. Yet, it’s not that simple. The electorate that voted President Obama into office in 2008 was vastly different from the electorate of last week's elections.  

Exit polls have indicated that while young voters made up approximately 18% of the electorate in 2008, only 11% of registered young people came out this November. Moreover, turnout in this year's elections was only about 42% - far less than in the 2008 presidential election. So, the youth vote this time around was even smaller, in absolute terms, than the numbers suggest.

Polling data suggests that young adults voted for Democrats at higher levels than they did for Republicans. So, the Republican sweep into office does not likely reflect the preferences of the majority of young Americans.

While older, more conservative voters were out to take their country back, young voters were sitting on the sidelines allowing their parents to plan their futures. We have a powerful voice, but we cannot affect real change in this country if we stay silent.

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