Millennial votes for president may not impact outcome

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Young people can make up a large percentage of votes in the presidential election, but they aren’t. Campaigns that rely on millennial votes usually fail, according to an MSU political science professor.

Take Bernie Sanders for example. He appealed to the millennial generation with his college debt reduction plan, but fell out of the race.

The Washington Post says it is because young people do not show up to the polls. According to the U-S Census Bureau, in 2012, about 40 percent of millennials showed up to vote. The same year, between 60 and 70 percent of people their parents and grandparents age did vote.

Bernie Sanders talking to East Lansing community in Fall 2016.

Erin Gray

Bernie Sanders talking to East Lansing community in Fall 2016.

Why are millennials not voting? Media and information senior Justus Riley said he does not vote and here is why.

“I don’t really think my vote really matters that much. I’m more of one person, I don’t think I’ll influence it and I’m also kind of lazy –so that’s kind of the deal too, but I don’t think my vote will change anything and I know collectively, people can change votes and win elections like that but I’m just focused on me and I don’t think I can and that’s my opinion on it,” Riley said.

Riley views this election as funny entertainment rather than something he passionately follows. He said hearing the debate on T-V sounds more like an episode of South Park.

Neuroscience senior Marley Bright is not voting in this election either. Bright said he used to watch the debates with his grandma, but has not closely followed the election since he became old enough to vote.

“Back in the day, I remember watching the Bush – Gore election and I remember watching the Obama election -I always watched it, I always knew what was going on a lot more back then than I do now and part of that is being in college -your mind is scattered all the time,” he said.

MSU political science professor Corwin Smidt said at this point in the election-it does not matter if millennials turn out at the polls or stay home.

“Voter apathy for millennials is a problem, especially for local issues but not necessarily the state of Michigan for this presidential election,” Smidt said.

Since 1984, Michigan has been a Democratic state.

“For most millennials right now, your chance of impacting things locally are much stronger than impacting things nationally-that’s not to say that nationally you shouldn’t turn out but again, for millennials right here in Michigan, right now, the likelihood that it would make a difference is very small,” Smidt said. The likelihood that it would make a difference in other elections is greater.”

So, for Michigan millennials who don’t feel like voting – Smidt says you can feel free to stay home on your couch this election Tuesday.

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