Mary Plummer | The California Report
The race is on to capture the attention of one age group that’s steadily lost interest in voting over the past two decades: young people.
Although young voters helped drive Barack Obama’s presidential election in 2008, their engagement has slipped since 2011, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll from last fall. At the time, less than half of the 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed said they were following the 2016 campaign.
“It’s a sad reality that we don’t care,” said Juan Carlos Salas, a 29-year-old Los Angeles resident who works in Pasadena as a copy writer.
Salas feels frustrated and cynical about politics. He said he hasn’t voted since Obama first ran for president and he no longer connects with the message of hope on which Obama had campaigned.
“There’s a lot of sense of maybe betrayal, and there’s a lot of sense of maybe things are never going to change. It’s just a cycle of just nonsense and garbage,” he said.
As for whom he might support for president, Salas said he likes what he hears from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but doesn’t know if he’ll cast a vote in 2016.
Salas is not alone in his thinking. Last year, just 8 percent of eligible 18- to 24-year-olds cast ballots in California’s general election, the California Civic Engagement Project reported in a brief.
What could get millennials drawn back into the process?