International Policy Digest

Politics /28 Apr 2020

Young Voters Apathy Towards Biden and Trump

The 2020 U.S. presidential election does not have the same level of vigor that has characterized the past three federal elections. Despite the unlikelihood of college students and other millennials voting for President Donald Trump in November, presidential candidate Joe Biden does not appear to be energizing or enthralling young voters.

Former Vice President Biden isn’t sparking a fire that his 2008 running mate President Barack Obama spread across the nation. Obama was a different type of candidate. He was young, inspirational, and a minority. We saw a similar candidate in the 2016 election when Secretary Hillary Clinton was motivational for young women around the country. In addition, her Democratic opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, led a socialist, grassroots movement among first-time voters.

In 2016, we also saw Donald Trump lead a movement on his side of the ticket as he promoted free-speaking and uncensored rhetoric. This, as we all know, benefited him at the ballot box.

With this election, we don’t see Biden pushing young voters to register for the first time. Though, those voters planning on using their voting rights do not appear to want to vote for President Trump. The coronavirus pandemic directs attention towards a lack of leadership in this country, emphasizing the importance of the upcoming election.

One may ask, where has Biden been throughout the development and response to coronavirus in America? Aside from a few hits on cable networks, Biden’s name is brought up maybe once or twice a week. On social media, Biden promotes a weekly town hall featuring his advisors and endorsees since he can’t go out and campaign for voters. But, reaching young voters through this method is difficult. A 19-year-old from Long Island will likely opt for video games or chatting with friends as opposed to tuning into Biden’s Thursday night virtual town hall.

Meanwhile, President Trump is using his nightly “free-air space” to promote his 2020 campaign. During the coronavirus task force briefings, President Trump has shown soundbites of Democrat leadership praising his tactics to slow the spread of the virus. However, President Trump rarely allows information suggesting critiques of his approach. When Kaitlin Collins from CNN or Jonathan Karl from ABC get called upon to ask a question, President Trump doesn’t even let them finish their sentence before calling them “fake news” or a “third-rate reporter.”

Because of the lack of engagement on behalf of Biden, and the hostility towards other arguments on behalf of Trump, some first-time voters plan to not check off the box next to Biden nor Trump.

A college freshman remarked that Biden and Trump “both have bad records on racial discrimination, warmongering, and not accomplishing much. They’re also both alleged rapists.” The 19-year-old from San Diego, California added, “I originally planned to write in Andrew Yang because he’s my first choice out of all candidates, but later I learned that writing-in doesn’t work as well in the general election than in the primaries.” The University of California, San Diego student wants to protest the DNC if they nominate Biden to be their candidate by not voting for him because they cheated his preferred candidates — Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders — during the primary season.

At the end of the day, young voters like Vincent do not want someone that won’t push fresh ideas. On November 3, Vincent will be heading to the ballot box to vote for the Green Party’s candidate “because voting is a political right and no vote equals no change.”