A note from Emma: This is my first election voting in, and I was so surprised how long it took me to learn about the candidates, voting process, political system, and make my decision. I posted something about Bernie Sanders on my instagram, and somebody commented tagging Tiffany. Curious, I checked her out and found her youtube channel. She had a main channel filled with funny skits, interesting films, & vlogs showcases her kickass personality. Even better, she had a second channel, socially unacceptable where she talks politics and controversial issues. After watching a few of her videos I was charged with energy and purpose regarding the election. It is our duty as the youth to get out and VOTE! Tiffany explains the what, when, how, why, & where of this upcoming election.
Written by Tiffany Ferguson
Why should young people care about politics?
Millennials (ages 18-30) are the largest generation in the history of America. We have officially outnumbered baby boomers, which makes us the largest voting block. Traditionally, young people tend to vote less than older people, but we can change that! By the numbers, we can (and should be) the most powerful age group, with the biggest influence on politics. If we show up to vote, we can be at the forefront, leading change.
It’s common for people to feel apathetic or uninterested in politics, especially because of how corrupt and slow our political system can seem. But you must know, “ignorance is bliss” does not apply to political issues. Everything is a political issue! Any issue you are passionate about, from climate change to LGBTQUIA rights or raising the minimum wage, is relevant to politics, so get interested!
Whether you’re paying attention and voting or not, major decisions are being made everyday. Politicians who get elected now will make decisions that will affect you for years. We all care about so many things, so let’s elect politicians who share the same values and bring those values to reality!
Why sit back and let other people make the big decisions? Our opinions matter just as much as anyone else’s.
Most importantly – it’s our future. Let’s make it a good one.
“Young people are on the right side of politics.” Young people can be activists, protestors…
My First Experience With Politics
I was 12 when Barack Obama, our first black president, was elected. It was historic and inspired me greatly, even at a young age when I was not involved in politics at all.
Now I am 20 and I will be participating in my first presidential election. Shouts out to my AP Gov teacher! She taught me the basic foundation of how the US political system works – and doesn’t work. As an American, my right to vote is sacred and I feel lucky to participate in the process and exercise democracy. A vote is a very powerful tool, so it is of the utmost importance to make informed decisions.
A year ago, I was #ReadyforHillary. Who would be better to follow our first black president than our first female president? Hillary Clinton seemed to be the ideal Democrat to nominate, so I assumed she would be my choice – until I found Bernie Sanders.
OOH and then what?
It’s a modern love story. As serendipitous as meeting your significant other on tinder, I met my favorite politician online. I took the quiz on isidewith.com and my top result was a 96% match: Bernie Sanders, an old white man I had never heard of. After doing some research, I realized that Bernie shared even more of my values than Hillary. Despite his standing at 3% nationally compared to Hillary’s 64% – I knew he was the one for me.
I learned that Bernie Sanders walked in the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. He fought against segregated housing when he was in college at UChicago and got arrested for protesting. Since then, he has continued to dedicate his life fighting for the average American.
This video shows 30 years of Bernie’s speeches and as you can see if you watch all 9 minutes – which you should! – he’s been fighting for the same issues for his entire career.
Bernie Sanders is one of the few politicians leading the fight against our corrupt campaign finance system. The bulk of his campaign is funded by small dollar donations, with an average contribution of just $27. When it comes to politicians, you’ve gotta know: they fight for the people who fund their campaigns. For most politicians, their campaigns are funded heavily by lobbyists and the 1%. Too often, they fight against the best interests of the people in favor of corporate interests. However, Bernie’s campaign is by the people for the people!
Some critics call Bernie a one issue candidate because of how often he discusses income inequality… In case you didn’t know – the richest 1% of people in the world have more combined wealth than the other 99%. I’m all for people being successful and wealthy, but that level of income inequality is the result of exploitation. It is obscene. Money is at the root of every issue: war, the environment, education, healthcare, and more. Therefore, income inequality is an issue that connects to nearly everything else.
Bernie believes that every American should have the right to quality education through college and healthcare. He has proposed making public colleges tuition free and changing our healthcare system into a Medicare-for-All system. We are the richest country in the world, but have some of the worst rates of poverty and sickness compared to other developed nations. We have the money…. it’s just being spent in the wrong places. Millions of Americans are drowning in student debt and/or live in constant fear of medical emergencies that could leave them bankrupt. Bernie’s proposals would cover all the costs of free college through a fraction-of-a-percent tax on Wall Street speculation. His healthcare plan would leave no one uninsured and would save the average family $5,000 a year. These two programs would drastically improve American society as a whole, allowing millions of people to be better educated, less stressed, and healthier.
All in all, Bernie Sanders is genuine and kind. Despite the pressures of politics to follow the money, he has always stuck to his values. That, unfortunately, is rare. Bernie knows that “the system” is rigged against most Americans in favor of the super-wealthy and corporations. It’s time to make this country work for everyone, not just the 1%.
What is the political revolution?
It started with Bernie, but it continues with us. It’s a movement of millions of people who want to get involved and make positive changes that will benefit us all. It’s about getting the corrupt politicians out of Congress and electing people who don’t accept money from lobbyists. We must vote for people who will genuinely vote for the interests of the American people, not just for corporations.
HOW, WHEN, AND WHY: Register and VOTE!
Where do I register to vote? Online, at the DMV, and some states allow you to vote on election day at the polling location!
Check online for your state: https://vote.usa.gov
When should I register to vote? http://voteforbernie.org – this website has super useful info for every state, including the registration deadlines!
When do I vote in my state’s primary? http://www.mytimetovote.com/2016-Primary-Election-Dates.html
What is a primary? Go to your polling location and cast your ballot for the party nominee you most believe in!
When is the general election? November 8, 2016!
What is a caucus? A local, in person, neighborhood meeting. You stand on the side of the room with all other supporters for your candidate. People usually volunteer to speak and try to convince the undecided voters to sway them to their side.
Do I have to register for a party? it depends! if your state has open primaries: no. if your state has closed primaries: yes, if you want to vote for a democrat you must be registered as a democrat. If you want to vote for a republican, you must register as a republican. Independents can’t vote in a closed primary, so change your party affiliation if you want to participate! If your state is semi-open / semi-closed, you can be the party of your candidate OR independent. Once again, http://voteforbernie.org is super helpful!
Do I need to bring anything to the day of voting? depends on your state! some require ID’s, some require your voter registration card… for primaries, you usually are not allowed to wear t-shirts or any merch for your candidate, but you are encouraged to do so at caucuses. CONFUSING BUT STICK WITH ME!
What If i am going to be gone or in another state? absentee ballots! mail in ballots!
Does my vote really matter? YES ABSOLUTELY. Too many people died fighting for our right to vote. Let’s make good use of it!