Millennials care about more than college affordabilityBy Madelyn Schorr | 01/22/2016 3:38pm
With ten days until the Iowa caucus, presidential candidates on both sides are getting down to business and releasing policy plans to help gain the support of voters. On last Sunday night's democratic debate, a question was asked about how the candidates planed on engaging young people--specifically millennials in the election.
Each candidate on stage immediately went into a 60-second speech about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student loan debt many young people face. Hilary’s plan focuses on relieving already existing debt. Bernie’s campaign focuses on making college tuition free and debt free. O’Malley wants to lower the cost of college and help current borrowers refinance their loans. Marco Rubio is one of the only GOP candidates to release a plan about higher education where he focuses on refinancing loans. While we are facing a crisis in America with the rising cost of higher education, it is not the only thing young people care about. We are more than the cost of college, we are more than our student loan debt, and we deserve candidates that think of a trade school before entering the workforce. The question shouldn’t be "how to get young people to the polls" but “how to get young people involved in the process." Instead of treating young people like a one size fits all voting block, candidates should ask young people for ideas they want to see enacted and take steps to add them to their campaign platform.
People often wonder how to get millennials to turn out to vote in elections. What issue will get us to the polls and turnout in high numbers? Instead of signing up for snapchat, candidates should look at ways to bring young people to the table. They should create plans to bring young people into civic life and ensure public officials have to listen to young people and represent what we want.
Young people care about things other than college affordability. We want to see an end to police brutality, a city that values its people enough to make sure they have clean drinking water and finding ways to end dependency on prescription painkillers and other forms of addiction. We want to see a strong economy where we can begin to build wealth, an increase in civic tech and bringing our government up to today’s technology and even and end to mass incarceration and the privatization of the prison system. These problems won’t be solved overnight, and most of these problems need to be solved at the local level, but that doesn’t mean candidates shouldn’t incorporate them into their platform.
Millennials are the largest potential voting block in the coming election. We need candidates who go beyond political pandering to engage us in the election. We are here, we have ideas and our voices are ready to be heard.
Madelyn Schorr is a senior majoring in art and anthropology. Her column runs biweekly.