How This US Election Could Actually Improve Democracy

Admittedly, the United States is teetering on the edge of having a potentially authoritarian President, however the fear of Donald Trump may actually be the kick in the ass that millennials need. Of course they are easy to dismiss, given their voting history, but the fear of Trump is powerful.

In the 2012, election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, only 49% of people under the age of 30 voted. Low participation has aways been common amongst millennials in the United States, but reaching out to them has never been more important. Having just surpassed baby-boomers as the largest living generation, they could potentially be a powerful secret weapon.

This fact has not gone unrecognised in the lead-up to the election, with news streams calling Gen Y out, urging them to vote. Buzzfeed came forward with a 15 minute video, explaining the differences between both major parties; Vox has been running in depth analyses on the debates; Casey Neistat along with a string of YouTubers have announced who they will be voting for; and the never ending social media cycles are churning out more political hashtags than ever before.

The ramifications of low participation are immense and can be seen by the the shock result of the EU Referendum in the UK. 73% of young people were in favour of staying, but only 36% of millennials turned up on voting day. Many claimed they couldn’t decide what to vote for, or simply that they forgot when it was. There is no place for these excuses. If you’re unsure of anything – a parties policies, or the date of an election – just Google it.

Low participation rates however are understandable. Politics can be disheartening, particularly for Generation Y. When do politicians do anything for them? Whilst this is a valid point,the reason politicians don’t do anything for millennials is that it doesn’t earn them votes. Politicians provide policies for those who elect them, and older people vote!

But this election goes beyond the merits of a party, which is often the driving factor for voting. It has become a gamble of choosing the lesser of two evils; Hillary or Trump. This election could definitely be a turning point for US politics, but it could arguably strengthen democracy. Perhaps this atypical election was what was needed to bring the youth into the fold?

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