With the presidential elections just under a year away, candidates are working hard to earn their votes. As the search for the final Democratic nominee continues, many students are spending time to learn more about the candidates through various platforms, though many do not yet have the right to vote.
Though some students may feel discouraged to be involved with politics because of the lack of voting rights, Meryl Mathew (9) stresses the importance of being involved with politics at an earlier age.
“To some people, not being able to vote means not caring because we don’t have a say in government, and it won’t affect us. I think that mindset is a bit flawed, because whatever is decided now will definitely have repercussions well into the future, affecting us whether we like it or not. That’s why I look at the long term goals [that] candidates set and policies that will impact the future, because I am concerned for what this world will look like when I am older.”
While many other students agree that it is important to stay up to date with the elections, some agree that age can play a slightly harmful role in the way that teenagers analyze candidates and their policies.
“We are more idealistic in our values. In addition, we tend to rely more on others’ opinions and social media to gain information,” explained Saachi Baldwa (10).
Mathew too agrees that social media plays an important role in the way that teenagers think about elections.
“We are definitely utilizing technology a lot more as a source of information, so social media is a huge factor in this process. We look at headlines and often skim them to get a general overview of what’s going on with particular events rather than doing in-depth research.”
However, while there are positive aspects of using social media to learn about the elections, the dangers of putting trust in social media for reliable information is now becoming more apparent.
“Celebrities endorse candidates and sway people’s opinions without facts, and misinformation is obviously a huge problem that has been affecting our elections and has drawn the attention of the government as well,” explained Mathew.
With the variety of sources to learn about the candidates, many students find that listening to the debates is crucial.
“Debates are super important! A candidate is giving their answer to America’s problems during a debate. Everything they do is key to how America will view them. If a candidate can only promise better jobs but not support his/her plan with actual data and facts, their presence at the debate is not unique or new,” explained Aaditya Borse (10).
As the elections continue in years to come, there is hope for positive change in the way that they are run.
“I hope that both parties prioritize grassroots fundraising for candidates, like the Democrats have done this time. I think it is a big step towards making sure these candidates represent public interests,” said Baldwa.