Colorado Springs, Colorado 2020-10-17 16:00:00 –
Rachel Hutchins woke up early on November 9, 2016, watching Republican Donald Trump claiming Ccollege’s victory in the election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Hutchins, a self-proclaimed “Capital’D’Democrat,” was a student at a boarding school in Indiana at the time. She was 16 years old.
“There was a feeling of helplessness in 2016,” said Hutchins, now a 21-year-old junior at the University of Colorado. “There was a lot of debate among groups of people with different beliefs than children, but in the end, none of us could vote.”
For voters in Hutchins, Colorado and other first-time presidential elections, 2020 is an opportunity to hear their views. According to a recent Brookings data analysis, more than half of Americans are under millennials, and Gen Z accounts for 37% of all voters.
In Colorado, youth turnout has risen in recent elections, with 61% of Colorado aged 18-24 years up from 51% in 2012 in the 2016 general election. In mid-2018, Colorado had the second highest turnout. Thank you to the country, mainly young voters.
Just a few weeks before November, young people say they have a mixture of excitement, fear and pressure.
Colorado, like any other country, is involved in a series of problems, from racial calculations caused by police atrocities to record wildfires caused by climate change. For many young people, it raised stakes in this election.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure to get out and vote, especially because it’s affected by so many of these issues,” said Hutchins, who supports former Vice President Joe Biden.
Although not perfect, she said Biden was better than Trump on important issues such as climate change.
“(Climate variability) is such an immediate and large-scale thing,” Hutchins said. “This is definitely not the time for a reflexive solution, as it is not the time for a medium solution.”
For Junior Sophie Cardin, 20, of the University of Colorado, the recent death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court puts even more pressure on the election. Cardin is concerned that Amy Coney Barrett’s presumptive confirmation could solidify the court’s right-wing ideology over the next few years, and hopes the Biden administration will seek to expand the court.
“The court isn’t meant to be a political institution … it has a very different worldview than the majority of voters, and I think it’s really dangerous,” Cardin said. “I hope the court will be expanded to 13 judges.”
University of Colorado-Boulder sophomore Shaymanic, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, said the next election would be a “mixture of emotions.”
“Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice,” said 20-year-old Manic. “I know I’ll vote against Biden’s Trump, but I have no illusion that he’ll be the savior. I still have to fight really hard to get what I need. . “
Manic came out in high school in Queer. He said the 2016 election “ignited” for his political interests in improving protected LGBTQ rights, health care and immigration policies as some of his most pressing issues. Stated.
Brenna Sullivan, 19, a second-year student at CU Boulder, is particularly concerned about the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy towards immigration at the US border.
“I live in a mixed family, half Hispanic and half white, and I feel the moral obligation to vote against President Trump,” Sullivan said.
But young people who support the president’s reelection say they are happy with how the president acted during his first term.
Zoe Misner, 19, a second-year student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, praised Trump’s focus on the economy and the low unemployment rate before the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are a lot of attacks on him because he didn’t do things right away, but he closed the border even when no one said he couldn’t,” Misner said.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs student Savannah Barris, 20, is helping bring soldiers into foreign conflicts and deploy federal law enforcement agencies to quell anti-police protests in cities.
“The protests hurt people who shouldn’t be hurt and hurt companies,” she said. “He probably saved a lot of lives.”
For senior Alicia Oh, 21, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, there is no ideal candidate, and it’s the feeling she felt in 2016. Unrelated moderate Oh will vote for Biden, believing that Trump will have too much of a negative impact on foreign relations.
“International affairs are very important to me … it’s my dream to be a diplomat someday, and I consider diplomacy to be very essential to our global structure,” Orr said. It was.
Past youth turnout in Colorado shows promising signs for 2020, but like most others of the year, it can be weakened by a coronavirus pandemic.
Students are facing turmoil and turmoil as many universities are shifting their focus to distance learning, which can complicate voting methods.
Michael Carter, communications manager for the nonpartisan group New Era Colorado, said the organization is working daily to overcome voting obstacles, including knowing how young people can vote from unregistered counties and states. It was.
“We want to make sure that turnout remains high,” Carter said. “Colorado is in a pretty good place compared to many other states, and its value really becomes apparent in these years.”
With Colorado’s same-day voter registration policy, adoption of mail voting, and a wealth of voting dropboxes, Carter hopes the pandemic will not interfere much with youth turnout.
“I’m confident that turnout will continue to rise in 2020,” he said.
Robert Preus, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Metropolitan State University, said the pandemic would make it more difficult to reach out to voters.
“When you visit face-to-face, it’s difficult to decline registration,” he said. “But instead, by targeting social media, we can do that in a modern technology-driven era.”
Still, many of the factors that led to higher turnout in 2016 exist today and could be carried over to this year’s elections.
“You still have strong anti-Trump sentiment within the age group of young voters, and there is still some carry-over of mobilization efforts from the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign,” Preuhs said. “By mail, voting will continue to be available, so I think we’ll see the same number of youth votes as in 2016.”
There are signs that young voters have high turnout, but the reason for their indifference remains.
“There is a lot of disillusionment in the political system from people of my age,” said Manic, a sophomore in CU Boulder.
He blames the political impact of the interests of electoral colleges and businesses as the main reason young people may find their voting unimportant.
“Sure, I think everyone should vote, but some of the pressure is irrelevant to our generation,” he said.
For Hutchins, a junior at the University of Colorado, she understands that party frustration is the root cause of young people’s indifference to voting.
“There have been many times when (Democratic National Convention) was neglected or positively bad for marginalized people,” Hutchins said. “It has legitimacy.”
Orr, a senior and unrelated moderate voter at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said most of the elected positions were elderly and could alienate her demographics.
“For many young people, it’s difficult to connect with it,” she said.
As a way to remedy voters’ disfranchisement, Cardin, who is also a member of several voter outreach groups, said young people need to do something within the community.
“Politics is simply being pushed into the territory of elections, and people don’t feel like they have personal political power, what’s happening in Congress or the White House,” she said.
Protesting, rallying, and engaging in local issues, according to Cardin, is a way for young people to feel more political control outside of federal elections.
Misner, a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a member of the Republican National Committee, said young people need to be more prepared for politics than they are today and support mandatory civic education in high school.
“High schools need to provide more information, but there is no bias,” Misner said. “It needs to be as fair as possible.”
But even if problems with the political system remain, these young voters say that participating in this election is not an option.
“You have the right to vote, but if you care about democracy, you have the obligation to vote,” Cardin said. “People should see it as a responsibility not only to their country, but to their community and the people they care about.”
If you’re considering registering for a vote in Colorado, you can register on the Secretary of State’s website.