"My vote doesn't count."
"Politicians are liars."
"My government doesn't care about me."
We've all heard someone say these things before. As someone who lives in New Jersey, I know exactly what it feels like. Presidential primaries are already decided before they get here. New Jersey will always vote blue in general elections.
It seems like my vote doesn't count. Fortunately for us, we have the power to change that. It's not going to happen over night and it requires every single one of us to participate. Millennials have the power to change our government--and, in turn, our country.
Before we change the country, let's examine the facts.
First and foremost, the presidential election is not as important as it seems. Look at the powers of the President outlined in the Constitution; Article Two of the Constitution outlines the power of the Executive Branch. The President can appoint officers, is the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, and has the veto power, among other things. These powers have been expanded and defined throughout our history. The one thing the President cannot do, however, is make laws.
Congress makes our laws. Senators and Representatives do the dirty work in government. They control the government, not the President. Article One outlines the powers of Congress, and they are much broader than the President's. For example, only Congress can declare war. The problem? Not many people know this information. How many people even know who their representatives are? Not many, yet they control the government.
Let's look at the numbers now. There're around 31 million people aged 18-to-24 in the U.S. right now. In the 2014 midterm election, only 36% of eligible voters cast a ballot, around 78 million people. 2014 marked the lowest turnout of voters in 72 years. Congress makes our laws, yet almost no one votes for their representatives.
Do you see how we have the power to create change? If we all turned out and cast our votes, we could dramatically influence our elections. We can do this--not with sheer numbers, but through our connections. Get on Facebook and tell your friends to vote. Drag your parents to the booth. Blow up your school's YikYak. Do whatever it takes, just get them to vote.
We have the education. How many news articles pop up your timeline every day, especially around elections? We know what's going on. Through increased participation, we'll learn even more. It doesn't matter who you vote for, just vote. Only then will our government truly represent our best interests. Only then will the best of the best represent us. Only we, millennials, have the power to make that happen.