While we await the inevitable results coming from South Carolina today (an inevitable victory for Joe Biden), the real critical races that will ultimately determine the start of the end of this Democratic Primary will happen on Tuesday.
Super Tuesday this year will be the day when Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Democrats Abroad will all cast their votes for this contentious Democratic Primary. Most notably, California has been moved up, and as a result, a substantial plurality of delegates are up for grabs. This time around, Super Tuesday will all but certainly decide the victor of this primary.
But, again and again, I constantly am in just absolute shock as to the inherent lack of discussion about voter turnout when it comes to young people in particular. The discussion of turning out voters of color, or turning out moderates and conservative Democrats almost always is brought up when it comes to covering this election, yet the demographic of people that much of modern politics will affect is almost never brought up.
Perhaps the most obvious factor or reason in discussing this demographic is because it’s effectively gone to one candidate: Bernie Sanders. Amongst all the candidates up for election in a recent Axios poll, Bernie leads college students with a near majority, even with Trump in the poll. In Morning Consult’s polling data, Bernie leads with nearly 60% of Generation Z voters and is almost at 50% with Millenials. In every single respect, Bernie has effectively locked down the youth vote. From their campaign’s overwhelming digital presence via live streams and garnering the endorsements of three of the Squad in the House, the Bernie camp has sought to take many measures to ensure that they would win the youth vote.
But for young people, Super Tuesday poses the biggest question of all: will we actually turn out and vote? One of the strategies that many other candidates appear to be relying upon is the lack of turnout for those in the 18–29 age range. This really is contingent on how much we can anticipate there being a real level of turnout by young people in a way that affects the way these results turn out on Tuesday. If young people turn out the way that people over 45 turn out, there will be a surefire victory for Bernie. Whether you like that or not, youth voter turnout will be one of the most important factors in these races, if not arguably the most important.
I continue to write and talk about youth voters and youth voter turnout because as a person who just cast his first-ever vote for president yesterday (via absentee ballot), I am living amongst this demographic. I’m living amongst people who all will be responsible in some respect for shaping the way with which this world politically will be formed. I don’t see a political conversation truly relevant without taking into account race, but age. I want to see the national political conversation continue to grow and mimic or at the very least share aspects of the types of discussions, I have with my peers on campus about this election. Maybe then, we will finally see all candidates make substantive efforts to appeal to us for our votes and our support throughout their presidency.
Being Noah Tesfaye #121: What Super Tuesday Means for Young People
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