Grabbing the Millennial Vote


Jacob Uggen

Mrs. Mitchell stands in front of the LRHS Government posters

With the 2016 Presidential election over, it is time for political strategists to consider what political sides the millennials are joining as they head off to college and the work-force. Their political beliefs can, and most likely will, be a key demographic in the run for future elections.

Culturally, the trend seems to suggest that Lake Ridge seniors, are deeply democratic. One who has observed such a trend is Mrs. Amanda Mitchell, AP Government teacher.

“When we did a political ideology quiz, most of my students leaned a little bit to the left. What we would call left of center. Which would lean more towards the democratic side. Now of course you will have some conservatives but a majority are left of center.”

This could spell disaster for the Republicans if they cannot woo the younger generation. Without which they will start with a serious statistical disadvantage once these millennials are all eligible to vote.

However, do not count the Democrats in just yet. These students tend to be timid when it comes to politics, according to Mrs. Mitchell.

“This year has been a bit different than norm, students have been more hesitant to voice their political opinions as much as in the past. I think they are afraid of being labeled. They don’t like being labeled because for instance if you say you are a Republican then there is this automatic ‘Oh you must be a racist’ and they don’t want that label.”

What should and probably does scare both republicans and democrats is the rise of independent candidates like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Junior, Mycah Turner saw the appeal of Sanders for voters around her age.

“He talked a lot about making college more affordable, and that is important to me because I will be leaving for college in about a year,” said Turner.

Social issues are also a huge determining factor for millennials in developing their political beliefs. Junior Noemi Rodriguez feels strongly about one issue in particular.

“For a party to receive my vote they are going to need to meet my views on immigration. It is important to me that they establish a means for immigrants to become citizens. Whatever party can accomplish that, I’ll be glad to represent,” said Rodriguez.

Mitchell agrees that millennials are learning to side based on the social issues that affect them the most.

“When you start dealing with what has been going on with black lives matter, they can relate to it. When it comes to equal rights they are more in tune with that too,” said Mitchell.

Whatever their beliefs, Mitchell is pleased to see millennials getting involved.

“We had a debate watch one night and a lot of students came and watched. Some of the stuff coming out of their mouths were like wow!”