"Millenials don't vote!"
David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,147
The title is in quotes, because this is something both of my parents said to me – both of whom voted for Biden in the primary here in Maine. It bugged me, so I looked at how many young people were voting… turns out, a lot didn’t. I think of the people I have known in the past, who, if they knew what a primary was, wouldn’t have cared anyway. They don’t think that politics or politicians have much to do with them – that it doesn’t change their lives one way or another. They are wrong – especially in 2016 and now in 2020. Before the coronavirus panic really set in, younger voters were not going out in the numbers that we should have been. In some places, as low as thirteen percent of potential millennial voters (or so my Father said – and I have no real reason to doubt him on this).
I am considering the why of it. I had a rough childhood – a lot of people do, mine was just especially bad, for a number of reasons. I am not unique in that – but those experiences are among the things that made me who I became as a young adult. I dropped out of high school after one day, because I was bullied, mocked – and had no friends I could count on. There is more to that story, but I’ll leave it there for now. At 17 I got a GED. At 18 my girlfriend gave birth to our son. Between that age and age 20, I spent most of my time taking care of our boy and her daughter who was four when I met her. We had met online – she came from South Dakota, to Maine, to be with me.
I worked a number of really awful jobs, but she had a much better one at the hospital as a dietary aide – and then a transcriptionist. So she brought home the money to pay what bills we could pay (back then, minimum wage was quite a bit lower) – I think she made around 9 dollars an hour. We were always poor verging on broke, I frequently had to ask my parents for help with almost everything. They came through – and for that, a lot of people judged me, my own sisters (two of them, at least – I have three) despised me for years. It wasn’t that I didn’t make the effort, or didn’t work, or didn’t want to. Daycare costed more than I would have made with a full time job at the time.
Anyhow, my life was mostly laundry, cooking, cleaning, watching really awful children’s TV (the Wiggles, OMG…), and sitting with a book in the more quiet moments. It was around that time that I really got deeper into politics, started to learn what legislation does, how those in power make rules that can change life for all of us. I also regularly learned about anything I was interested in on the internet, while also enjoying my regular hobby of reading (at least back then) an average of one or two novels a day. Mostly science fiction/fantasy, but some other stuff, too.
I am an introvert by nature – and my life experience (beginning with severe childhood abuse – age 5-12 – two pedophile neighbors) has, in some ways, helped shape me into more of a pessimist. I often accuse my Father of being a shameless optimist – but it is the people like him who help keep me sane when I hit my lowest lows. I have been broke, on the verge of eviction, I have been so desperate for food for my little family that I shoplifted. My parents, while good people, are also what are commonly referred to as “functioning alcoholics”.
Then comes the psychological disorders, the frequent panic attacks and so on and so forth. Anyway, my point is, I’ve got stories, lots of them, I’ve lived through a lot, experienced a lot – and have read more than most ever will. Perhaps it is all of this that has helped me to become someone who votes, who understands the importance of whether or not there are enough food stamps, of whether there is healthcare, or what happens when programs like TANF come to replace our old welfare system. I’ve worked in enough lousy jobs to understand the need for labor protections, better wages, unions and protection in general. I have been admitted to a psych ward – and several crisis units, so I understand madness in a rather unique way.
All that I have suffered could have made me a monster, or I could let it overwhelm me and offed myself – I considered it several times when I was young, even sort of tried it a few times (a desperate plea for help, or I would have succeeded), so I’ve been there, too. The most influential people in my life have been all over the place politically, but my dad, shameless optimist and democrat, was the one who guided me through the political swamp.
Now… now I wonder. So many I have known are in low income housing, up here in Northern Maine – or receive one or more types of aid from state and federal government. So many live lives that, compared to even working middle class lives… well, lets just say they ain’t happy and there isn’t plenty of anything, wealth, food, health, and so on and so forth. Yet many of them live and even thrive (in some ways) in spite of all of this. What will happen when and if the supplies and money runs out, is that they will be the first to be abandoned. The poor, the (non-wealthy) elderly, in general, the most vulnerable.
It is for them that I got involved – for them and for me, because I’ve been in so many places, experienced so many things. I was also lucky enough to discover self education at a young age. Our schools do not really teach civics, or much of anything that has to do with the way the world is run, few are ever really taught, let alone shown the importance of voting. So fewer and fewer vote.
This certainly has to do with why Biden is “winning” primaries, cheating, suppression – and sleazy tactics aside… shit just keeps getting worse – and the poor, we see it. My generation has our own perspective of such things, too. We know that our life expectancy, standard of living and so on and so forth is going down. We know about climate change (most of us admit it’s real, anyway) and other things that, while not new, are new to the public consciousness.
So why aren’t younger people/millennials voting? Any number of reasons really, but among the foremost, I think, is that we don’t feel like we matter. We don’t feel like we have the power to change anything (speaking in general – of course some feel differently) or that the “American dream” is anything but a farce. Democrats? Republicans? Both failures, demonstrated over and over again over the last twenty years and more. Both corrupt. Both more criminal than public servant.
So, people like my parents vote for Biden because “Bernie can’t win! He’s too far left! Biden is more electable! Why? Well, uhm, because… well, the rich people like him better!” That is the real reason, see. The media and the DNC – it is not policy, integrity, compassion, common sense, intellect, strength, charisma, or any of those types of things. It is that Biden has the people with more money and influence… for now. I can only hope that in the years to come, my generation and those after us – and those yet to come, will come to understand how important elections are. The difference between kicking the people in the teeth and giving them healthcare. The difference between a person for whom compassion matters most – and for whom electability matters most.
Not this year, not this election cycle. I am not ashamed to be a millennial, I am proud to be among them, proud that we, those of us who are still standing, have lived in a world that frequently demonstrates contempt for us, that tells us we are to blame for everything under the sun, that we are lazy, care about nothing. All of that bull shit is just bull shit. The way to reach a millennial is to reach their heart – and most have given up trying. Too god damn bad they didn’t listen to Sanders speak more.
March 19, 2020 at 11:37 AM #289353elias39Participant
- Total Posts: 5,325
I’m feeling pessimistic this morning, so let me say – to this quote from your post
“I can only hope that in the years to come, my generation and those after us – and those yet to come, will come to understand how important elections are..”
IDK how many more ‘generations’ we have left on this ball of rock. So IMO you ought to treat this one as though it’s our last hurrah. Worry less. Try to enjoy every day despite your truly rough start. I’m sure that’s easier said than done. I just wish you well and FWIW I read every one of your OP’s. You’re a good writer. Take pride in that.
Stay sane David. And stay strong.
March 19, 2020 at 11:49 AM #289356David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,147
No, not really, this isn’t Texas. LOL. Yeah, the cold, the economic depression, the lack of resources and activities and of so much else that more urban America takes for granted. While it is not as hard as some imagine (yes, we do have running water, internet, etc. – even indoor plumbing) it is a tougher life than in many other places.
I think that there will be generations to come for quite some time. I agree that climate change is real – and will kill off a lot of us. I don’t think it will end humanity. Perhaps more than half of it, perhaps the world as we know it – but humanity will survive, perhaps in ruin and misery for a time, but survive nonetheless. I could be wrong – but given history, all of the mad events and even potentially world ending ones that humans have lived through, I do not think even climate change will end us all. The world will change, oceans will swallow Cities and Countries, but in places, human life will go on.
Those that remain after the worst has come, will, I hope, learn from our present and their past. Politics, readership, ruling… governing… it should always, always be about the common good. Not wealth. Not power. Those will never be enough when crisis hits… as is being proven, again, with this pandemic.
March 19, 2020 at 1:36 PM #289390Blue MeanyParticipant
- Total Posts: 214
Indeed, it’s something like a 3rd world country. But that said, I think it’s one of the best places to be during hard times. The traditions of hardscrabble living create a resilience that doesn’t exist in many places and doesn’t become obvious except in retrospect. Maine did much better during the Depression than other regions, though people at the time would not have thought so. I expect the same now. People will come together to meet each other’s needs as much as is possible. Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
March 19, 2020 at 1:39 PM #289391jwirrParticipant
- Total Posts: 1,893
They are more interested in issues than identity and when they see a candidate who is just going to be for the status quo they are less interested in voting. I can’t blame them. Look at the losers the DNC has been pushing since the DLC and the Clinton group took over. When your vote does not seem to change anything anyhow then it seems a real waste of time. Since Bill Clinton was elected we have been going the wrong way and it is the young, the poor, the disabled, the elderly and poc who are getting hurt while the rich have more money than they will ever need to live on. And only one man has run who offers real answers. But TPTB gave cheated him all the way. Is it any wonder that faith in democracy is not working anymore. My family insist that I vote D regardless even though they know how I feel about the chances of the future with the candidates we have. I remind myself that in the voting booth I am alone and can do whatever I want. And at this point I don’t know what I want. My candidate is being cheated. And I am 78 years old. I empathize with the millennials. I never thought that I would see a time when I believed that democracy was gone. But if you look at it as the right to vote and the presence of options then we are there.
Regardless I suggest that everyone take the time to vote even if it is a protest vote. I refuse to give up.
March 19, 2020 at 3:52 PM #289482Homer RamoneParticipant
- Total Posts: 380
Bernie Sanders and the Myth of Low Youth Turnout in the Democratic Primary
First and foremost, the 13% figure is for proportion of young (18-29 years old) voters among total voters that turned out to vote on election day. In other words, 13% of total voters that turned out were between 18-29 years in age. It does NOT mean that only 13% of registered young voters turned out to vote – which is what the pundits and channels are trying to spin.
It simply means that other age groups turned out in greater proportions to their share in the population, which lines up with all historical data. 18-27 year olds are 16% of the registered voting population, and being 13% of election day voters is not bad at all. [Say, 30% of young people turned out to vote but formed only 13% of total votes]
Again, the 13% figure does not include the young people from ages 29-39 (most of whom backed Sanders and Warren), who have turned out historically in larger numbers than the younger age bracket, nor their share in total registered voter population. Thirty-seven percent were ages 18 to 44.
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