Democratic candidates must appeal to young voters

As+the+race+for+the+Democratic+nomination+for+President+heats+up%2C+that+way+of+thinking+is+changing+and+a+new+spotlight+is+shining+on+candidates+to+appeal+to+younger+voters+who+traditionally+have+low+voter+turnout+rates.+

Photo by: Dylan Ebs

As the race for the Democratic nomination for President heats up, that way of thinking is changing and a new spotlight is shining on candidates to appeal to younger voters who traditionally have low voter turnout rates.

Dylan Ebs, Reporter

In conventional politics, younger voters are seen as an afterthought, and more focus is placed on older voters who are more likely to vote. As the race for the Democratic nomination for President heats up, that way of thinking is changing and a new spotlight is shining on candidates to appeal to younger voters who traditionally have low voter turnout rates. However, Democratic candidates have to appeal to younger voters in a way that actually connects with them.

The current polling for the Democratic primary shows Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren as the current frontrunners. Biden is currently polling the best at an average of 27 percent, with Bernie Sanders at 22 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 14 percent, and. When you look at the numbers of who’s leading the youth vote, the numbers tell a different story.

According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Sanders leads at 31 percent among voters 18-39, with Warren at 22 percent, and Biden at 14 percent. Most polls conducted, both nationally and in early primary states show this trend of Sanders leading among younger voters and that’s no coincidence.

If you followed the 2016 election, you might remember when Clinton made her infamous line “Pokemon Go to the polls.” The line is an example of what a candidate should not do when trying to appeal to younger voters. If you want young people to vote for you, you have to go beyond cringeworthy one-liners and actually give them something to vote for.

The current frontrunner, Biden, is struggling with support from young voters. To fix this, he needs to change how he interacts with millennials. Biden has said that he has “no empathy” for when Millenials tell him “how tough things are,” which blatantly ignores the problems millennials have to face that older generations haven’t had to, like the rising cost of living, the increasing price of college, and so on. If Biden wants to actually improve his support among young voters, then he needs to actually listen to their concerns and support policies that would improve their lives.

Other candidates are coming up with new ideas to attract the young vote. Former Obama official and mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro made a TikTok account to appeal to younger voters. This is a step in the right direction, but young voters want policies that will protect their future, not just TikToks. That being said, social media does have an important role in a campaign. Every top-tier candidate has a Snapchat account, posting clips from rallies, behind-the-scenes action and more. I personally enjoy these because it shows viewers a different side of the candidate from what they see on the debate stage.

It is no coincidence that Sanders consistently polls best among younger voters. Millennials have been found to lean the furthest left among all generations, and Sanders is arguably the furthest-left candidate in the race. His signature policies of tuition-free college and canceling student loan debt has attracted young voters and he’s doing it all without sounding like he’s pandering to millennials. Sanders, although he’s 79, is able to listen and understand the struggles that younger voters are going through unlike his challengers like Biden.

Young voters are the turning point of the 2020 election. With millennial turnout going up, their excitement to vote is more important than ever, so candidates must reject the old way of thinking about young voters and make the effort to get their vote.