The ways our generation consumes information about these candidates distorts their stance on hot topics, distracts us from the issues at heart and keeps us from digging deeper.
A Pew Research Center article says, “according to the Census Bureau report, the turnout rate among 18-to 24-year olds increased to almost 50 percent in 2008 and that Millenials will have have over a third of the electoral college by 2020.” In 2008, President Obama had 66 percent of young people’s votes, while Republican opponent John McCain had just 31 percent. The growing awareness of young voters has led to the bombardment of YouTube ads, Buzzfeed articles, funny tweets and SNL hosting jobs for the future president.
In a Buzzfeed article titled We Got Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz To Do An Audition For “The Simpsons,” Cruz impersonates a variety of people and characters. Entertaining, sure, but does it speak to his ability to run a country? Not so much. The Clinton campaign has teamed up with several young actresses on the road and also manages an Instagram account highlighted in an article, 18 Times Hillary Clinton Spoke Fluent “Millennial” on Instagram from Salon.
Donald Trump has made his out-of-nowhere success largely off the shock value and outspoken personality he possesses, rather than his plan for a nation. Bernie Sanders, the oldest in the race at 72, has cultivated a surprising advantage with the youngest voters. In an interview with CNN, the campaign says it is “leveraging Snapchat” to reach out to specific geographic areas, and the slogan “Bernie is bae” is a thing. While they are speaking (snapping?) on serious issues, compacting serious issues to a hashtag or funny slogan is not enough.
These campaigns make the 30 seconds while you’re waiting on a video fly by. You may even think of a candidate when you send that funny Buzzfeed article or tweet to a friend later that day while you’re bored in class. But where do they stand on gun control and climate control? How do they approach foreign policy or job creation? What about women’s rights or LGBTQ rights? What is their approach on ISIS or the millions of refugees resulting from the terror? These are some of the questions millennials should be asking, so we can make an educated decision about who we think is the best for our country.
Our generation appreciates transparency, and social media and light-hearted videos often make these out-of-reach people seem relatable and real. These campaign tactics are not a bad thing and are wise for the candidates. But young people must also get to the heart of the issues, decide where they stand and cast their vote. Millenials need to use their infamous connection to technology to google a candidate and their campaign and find out where they stand on a variety of issues.