Outcomes of the 2016 Election
By Maggie Bringhurst - Staff Writer
On Tuesday, November 8th, and late into the early morning of November 9th, engaged citizens around the nation sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation as votes for the 2016 Presidential Election tallied in state by state. Though the number of people participating in this historic moment was large, the demographic of these participating citizens was unfortunately and overwhelmingly short of teenagers.
Teenagers tend to be fairly unengaged in politics and Lone Peak High School is no exception. When questioned in a survey before Election Day about their opinions on the presidential candidates’ stance, most Lone Peak students responded with indifference. “A lot of the time people who aren’t voting just don’t care. They can’t vote so they don’t really need to have an opinion,” commented sophomore Eliza Estes, “I think people can be frustrated with their options and they’re frustrated with the people who are paving their future. And when they’re frustrated they just don’t want to deal with it.” This election has brought a new kind of interest to politics, given it’s nearly impossible to glance at any social media without being hit by a tidal wave of political gossip regarding all the new scandals. Because of this media representation of political figures, most students seemed to have some sort of opinion on both the central presidential candidates but when questioned about the figure’s actual position on issues, they were clueless. “A lot of us are uneducated in the world of politics, it seems like something we’re not really a part of, like it’s something for adults.” said Hannah Pratt, 11th grade. Finally when asked the question who they would have cast their ballot towards if they had the ability to, only 5 out of 25 students responded with either Trump or Clinton. The rest responded with either a third party candidate, a write in, or the decision not to vote at all.
The reason for this disinterest in politics could very well be attributed to the fact that the majority of students in high school aren’t old enough to vote. But that doesn’t mean the election won’t affect minors in high school.
President-Elect Trump will be in office for at least 4 more years, and possibly the next 8 years. Within this time period, those who are just in high school now will be becoming involved in the housing market, the economy, paying taxes, etc. Even though most students didn’t have the ability to cast their vote this November, they still need to keep in mind that the president in office greatly influences their lives even as teens and they can at least actively educate themselves. Many students argue that since they don’t have input on the election there’s no reason to be educated, and they’ll hold off till they’re 18 to develop political opinions. According to CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), only 19.9 percent of 18 to 29-years old cast ballots in the 2014 elections. This information suggests that young adults don’t actually end up becoming engaged in politics once they’re old enough to vote, and it would be more beneficial for teenagers to start educating themselves now, and in turn understand the full impact of how this election impacts students.
Sure, the election is over and maybe it’s too late to voice your opinion in efforts to sway other people’s votes but it’s not too late to voice your opinion simply to become engaged. This election makes a huge impact on how teens today will live the rest of their lives. Staying up to date with what happens in our country now ensures a more educated vote in the future and ultimately helps our society become a better place.