Most millennials aren’t overly excited about the Nov. 8 election this year, and it’s easy to understand why.
Many are disillusioned by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s presidential platforms and feel as if choosing one means choosing to buy into a democratic system that perpetuates the election of the lesser of two evils. Consequently, rather than voting for a third party candidate, none of whom are on the ballot in all fifty states, some millennials may be considering opting out of election day altogether.
But they really shouldn’t be.
Although college-age students often have the lowest turnouts of all voter demographics, as the youngest eligible voters, we’re the ones who will have to put up with the consequences of these elections the longest.
Whoever is elected president will appoint four new Justices to the Supreme Court — Justices who will decide the verdict of major legal cases within our lifetimes.
The makeup of the Supreme Court has historically dictated the political and social climate of our country with landmark cases. Take Roe v. Wade, which made abortions legal and more accessible for women across the country. Look at Brown v. Board of Education, which deemed segregation in schools unconstitutional. Supreme Court cases often provide verdicts that impact our country’s climate and attitude towards change is completely altered during landmark cases.
Clinton and Trump are the two most discussed candidates in this election, but the presidential race isn’t the only one being decided. Down-ballot races for the Senate and the House of Representatives will be crucial this year, the former of which stands a high chance of flipping to a democratic majority. In Pennsylvania, Senate candidates Katie McGinty and Pat Toomey are polling neck and neck. A win for either could help decide party control.
Party control of both the Senate and the House impacts what decisions will be made during the next two years. If the majority party is the same as the president’s, this often aids in getting that president’s initiatives passed. By the same token, if they’re of the opposite party, they often block these initiatives.
So take time to get familiar with the local legislators running for office in your region since one of them will ultimately represent you in debates about issues you care about.
Also on the ballot this year is a question about whether or not supreme court judges should be allowed to serve until age 75. (That this would extend their lifetime term by five years from the age of 70 is mentioned not in the question, so make note.) The outcome of this policy will largely be decided by nationwide public opinion.
What’s more, in Pennsylvania, we’ve got close races for Attorney General, Auditor General and State Treasurer — all of whom will serve pivotal roles in government decisions within the commonwealth.
This election season, we encourage you, the students at Drexel University, not to underestimate the importance and power of your own voice. This is your chance to make an informed decision about the representatives who will vote on policies that will affect us for years to come. The millennial vote matters, so make your voice heard.