Election posters are littered throughout the city. Your phone is being bombarded with ads about the next candidate’s campaign. On social media, an abundance of posts and tweets hum with excitement for what is to come. It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: campaign season!
For the next several months, voters across the nation will vote in their respective primary election. On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 1,357 delegates across sixteen states and territories were up for grabs, each with the power to allocate for their respective candidate.
The race commenced with the party’s frontrunner, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, remaining neck and neck until Biden ultimately widened the lead.
While there are many points to be made about the significance of this presidential run, there is definitely a lot to be said about what we can expect from the public come November.
To begin, this primary election arguably marks one of the most publicly and socially active in the United States’ history. With modern technology and the most mobile new generation of able individuals, voters are given more than enough opportunity to get involved and fulfill their civic duties.
Although the youth has been primarily trademarked as the most underrepresented age group of voters, the addition of virtual campaigning and networking has increased political involvement and activism.
Namely, this activism is especially crucial for the primaries as the Democratic party remains split over its several frontrunners and the Republican party surges forward.
Across the nation, thousands of politically active and knowledgeable young adults are readily advocating for political views and candidates. While voter turnout remains low, a new generation of political activism is paving the way for a more educated and involved youth.
Not to mention, well-known social advocates such as Greta Thunberg, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Mazrui, Bana Alabed and Emma Gonzales are amongst thousands of other teenagers who have gone above and beyond to make their voices heard. In the face of adversity, ridicule and public consequence it is these individuals who continue to remind us of what makes our country so revolutionary and progressive.
Strikes, protests, riots, you name it. The younger generation has utilized social media to promote change in their region, state or community. Across various platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, activists took the primaries by storm, filling public pages with infographics and tweets ripping into each candidate’s platform by analyzing the latest poll statistics or merely talking about the election.
The reaction to this is phenomenal.
Nationwide, of-age citizens have made it a point to express their opinions and participate in arguably one of the most controversial civic decisions of the year. On and off social media, hundreds of thousands of people joyously thumbed the “I voted!” sticker as they exercised their voices on the ballot. Throughout the week of Super Tuesday, local polling stations overflowed with eager voters ready to cast their ballot and participate in one of the most controversial primaries in American history.
While the popular vote has received a great deal of success in expanding its numbers as a partial result of increased online campaigning and publicity, individual candidates have also taken note of this not-so-secret advantage.
Across social media, thousands of posts flood timelines with Sanders’ tweets, promotional videos and campaign slogans. Likewise, Facebook and Snapchat are overrun with Biden’s supporters as well as the latest in state polls and activists.
In short, these actions continue to significantly shift voting behavior, elevate the voting process and the timeline of the primaries and the election. People are able to express their thoughts on candidates and their platforms to make more people aware about who will be leading our country next. Youth activist organizations and others have also taken advantage of social media and networking platforms, and you can even find a sneaky “Register to Vote” button via Instagram stories.
And despite all of these incredible movements, youth votes still remain the smallest dynamic in every election, without fail.
According to BBC News, while millennials and Gen. Z make up about one third of the eligible voters, a study found that only a mere 5-19 percent actually turn out. This statistic is indicative that the new generation of youth will continue to take on the challenges facing our nation today with the media being the first step.
All in all, only time will tell what this November will bring.