Millennials and Gen-Z will be the largest share of eligible voters in 2020. This means that this generation will have the biggest impact of any demographic on the 2020 Presidential Election. Voter turnout amongst this group is surging, yet because of low overall rates, millennials and Gen-Z voters have not been the largest share of the electorate previously.
College students are not as likely to vote as other demographics. This is because the group is less targeted in marketing for elections. Elected officials assume young voters are apathetic towards issues and, in turn, young voters are less likely to turn out to vote because no one is appealing to their interests.
This election has some hot-button topics on the table that will heavily affect college-age students. If this demographic become educated on these issues and votes accordingly, the impact will be huge. Here are six topics that should make college students want to vote.
1. Climate Change
It's no secret that college-age people are afraid of the impending threat of climate change. We are the generation that is going to be impacted by the projection that climate change will reach global strife in 30 years. With only 12 years left to take action to limit climate change, America needs to start taking climate change policy seriously. In this upcoming election, we need to analyze candidates' environmental plans and take this into account when picking a candidate.
Here is a link that tracks each candidate's environmental plan.
Here is a link that grades each democratic candidate's environmental plan
2. Gun Control
Gun control is an issue that impacts everyone, especially people in education. The Virginia Tech shooting remains the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, at 32 people killed. College voters should be consciously thinking about gun control policy and how it impacts their overall safety. The time to act on gun control is not just afterthoughts and prayers, but all the time.
Here is a link that reports each candidate's gun control policy.
3. Reproductive Care access
Reproductive care access does not seem like a pressing issue to college voters until you begin to analyze it. College-aged people typically need access to birth control, STD screenings, adequate reproductive information, and abortions care. Abortion rights are being rolled back state-by-state and the need for a President to protect these rights is imperative. While the Democratic candidates are generally in agreement on where they stand on reproductive care access, the main difference may be between democrats and republicans.
Here is a link that outlines each candidate's policy on reproductive care.
4. Minimum wage
Many college students work during their time in college. Among full-time students in 2015-2016, 41% worked part-time and 16% worked 35 hours a week or more. College students are likely to get jobs that are minimum-wage jobs or jobs that pay below the new proposed minimum wage. College students are notoriously broke and if you are someone interested in a higher paying job, most Democratic candidates are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.
Here is a link that outlines each candidate's policy on minimum-wage.
5. College debt and tuition costs
The cost of higher education is dramatically increasing. Tuition prices are increasing eight times faster than wages. The U.S.'s student loan debt has reached 1.5 trillion dollars. Certain democratic candidates are running on the platform of eliminating the cumulative student loan debt. If you are someone who is interested in affordable higher education, think about looking into the 2020 candidates.
Here is a link that outlines each candidate's policies on college debt and tuition costs.
6. Marijuana Legalization
It is no surprise that college students might be interested in marijuana legalization. Nearly two-thirds of all voters support marijuana legalization. Many candidates are looking to legalize or decriminalize marijuana usage. Even if you are not typically interested in politics, you might be interested in this issue.
Here is a link that shows where the candidates are on marijuana legalization.
Overall, young college-age people need to turn out to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. There are issues affecting this demographic far more than they may realize. College students are an untapped demographic and the ones most impacted by policies for years to come. It is time for students to flood the polls on Election Day.