Off to the Races ’16

Why it Really Matters


Nik Wojcik

Kiera Long, 19-year-old student at DVC on September 8 has registered to vote in the coming election.

Nik Wojcik, Staff Member

You have an enormous say in who runs this country and how it works. The youth vote can swing an election, and change policies. It’s really just that simple.

Yet Pew Research reported that only 41.2% of 18 to 24-year-olds showed up at the ballot box in 2012.  It’s a case of what Scott MacDougall, DVC Political Science Department Chair calls “tyranny of small decisions.” MacDougall explains that the younger demographic could have influence, but “they’ve decided they don’t have any significance.”

Although younger citizens often fail to vote, they never fail to have an opinion about issues relevant to their lives and what qualities a president should possess. In fact, Kiera Long, 19-year-old DVC student strongly believes that the next president should be “honest, committed to the people and determined.”

With controversial stirrings such as student debt, Planned Parenthood funding, immigration reform, U.S. military engagement, job market growth and civil rights on the table, you should absolutely have something to say about it. So let’s get you up to speed…

As of August 25, 851 presidential hopefuls have officially filed candidacy statements with the Federal Election Commission. 122 democrats, 165 republicans and 564 “others” have thrown their hats into the contest, and the circus has really just begun.

Every presidential race attracts a few that flew over the cuckoo’s nest and other fools just fishing for a laugh – that’s really nothing new. But this particular election cycle is adding some very real drama to an already sensational and nauseatingly lengthy endurance race we’ve coined the “Campaign Season.”

With options such as Elsa Ice Queen, Mrs. Luci Fer, Bippy the Clown, Murdermy PP and Bofa Deez Nuts (not to be confused with the singular Deez Nuts, I-Ind), voters may have a difficult time selecting the next Commander in Chief from such a large treasure chest of gems.

The current landscape of candidates is shattering historic records. In an article published on Aug. 14, The New York Times attempted to distinguish the serious players from those just playing around (although the two categories seem interchangeable at times). At this point in the game, it’s still too hard to tell if any of them really have what it takes to lead the foot race, let alone the nation.

In the Democratic corner, we have five official candidates and rumors of one VP eyeballing the sweeter office across the hall. The GOP corner is more than a little crowded as seventeen contenders throw elbows in a battle for media attention.

The campaign, even in its infancy, is a confusing parade to follow – with shady policies and extreme ideologies being chucked at constituents in rapid fire. But young voters have a lot of skin in this game, and an amazing amount of power at the ballot box, if they choose to wield it.

In following articles we will attempt to enlighten our readers with in-depth reviews of the issues that matter to you and a summary of where the different candidates land on those issues. The goal being so that you can make a confident and informed decision come November 2016, or at least be prepared to pick the lesser of evils.

“If just 10 percent of the electorate chooses to show up or stay home, that’s the difference in the election,” said MacDougall. Now, the question is – what difference do you want to make? Ready, set, go!

Next: Student debt