Young Americans Don't Believe in Either the "Grandpa on Batteries" or the Eccentric on Hormones


The Guardian

An unsolvable dilemma faces many young men and women in the United States who are unable to choose between the two main contenders for the White House.

A typical example: 24-year-old Viviana Ramos, who works at a coffee shop at a train station in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee (remember the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” from 1941 by Glenn Miller’s jazz orchestra, and the musical number in the legendary film “Sun Valley Serenade”). She lives paycheck to paycheck, identifies as a liberal, and is concerned about climate change, exorbitant college tuition, and the cost of buying a home.

Four years ago, she voted for Joe Biden without fear or hesitation. Now, she is not ready to do so again, even if it means the rise of Donald Trump, whom she cannot stand. Here are the reasons for her internal struggles:

“All of this fuels my anger. It’s really discouraging. I fight with myself: should I even vote this time? I don’t want to choose between them. One is worse than the other. It’s all terrible.”

Similar gloomy thoughts come to 23-year-old Christian Mansel, a student at the University of Memphis, who, like Viviana Ramos, considers herself a supporter of neoliberal ideology. She is seriously disappointed that during the Obama-Clinton-Biden administration, the issue of protecting reproductive rights and the crushing burden of student loans have not been resolved. Christian is even ready to accept Trump’s return if it… serves as a lesson for the Democrats.

An analytical review of youth sentiment, conducted by a columnist for USA TODAY, a newspaper which claims nationwide readership coverage “from sea to sea,” is revealing. The author’s conclusion is in the headline: “Young voters aren’t warming up to Biden. They know it means Trump could win again.”

According to a poll by Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, while the overall share of those who view both Trump and Biden negatively is 26%, share of young voters who prefer a Shakespearean stance — “A plague on both your houses!” — reaches 41%.

Newspaper gurus claim that legislative rules are to blame for everything. For example, Tennessee authorities do not recognize a college degree as a valid ID at polling stations but accept a registration card confirming the right to carry and own… firearms.

Moreover, there are not enough polling places on university campuses. Equally burdensome, according to journalist Trevor Hughes, is this requirement:

“Voter registration must be done with a ‘wet’ signature — a handwritten signature made with a pen and sent by mail or delivered in person to registration officials. To people who grew up in the digital age, all this seems like something from the last century.”

In reality, the apathy of young American citizens is connected not only and not so much with technical and procedural rules in federal elections. The fundamental reasons for the political abstinence of this category of voters were more convincingly formulated by 30-year-old Jeremy Gold from Nashville, Tennessee’s capital:

“We feel that the idea of the ‘American Dream’ has been taken from us. We have repeatedly witnessed the financial upheavals that befell the generation of our parents, grandparents. We have seen much more violence and wars than we were initially told. And we feel deprived”.

Reluctance to vote, according to Jeremy Gold’s harsh verdict, “Is like giving the middle finger to those who set this up for us.”

The non-participation of young people in political life, according to Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, is due to their conscious choice. Hargett, a Republican supporter, believes their indifference would vanish if it involved giving away free tickets to a concert by the popular singer Taylor Swift, who, according to experts, “can easily unite several generations with her music.”

It is important to consider that the views of young people are influenced by the changing realities of everyday life. Chattanooga high school student Emerson Ware, who openly stated that she will likely vote for Trump this fall, explained her choice by the everyday problems her family faces. This includes inflation: the rising cost of groceries and gasoline. At the same time, Emerson spoke out against excessive federal spending, including aid to Ukraine.

Finally, 18-year-old Emerson Ware believes that both Trump and Biden are too old and therefore unable to understand the concerns of the young.

A recent poll of 1,400 doctors conducted by POLITICO was designed to determine the reasons for the declining mental health of young people, which has become a “national crisis.” One of the top answers was: “Limited access to resources (including loans for higher education), poverty, abuse, and a lack of desire (in society) to care for them.”

The Democratic campaign headquarters is acutely aware of the threat of losing young American votes in the elections. This new “lost generation” is not defined by Gertrude Stein’s criteria. In recent months, the Obama-Clinton-Biden administration has taken several populist measures to attract millennials (Generation Y: 1982–2004) and zoomers (Generation Z: from 2005 to approximately 2025) to the polls. The package of targeted benefits includes tax breaks for home purchases, limits on credit card fees, forgiveness of some student loan debt, and more.

Democrats in power have essentially used administrative resources at the taxpayers’ expense to bribe the youth. However, their financial resources are far from unlimited. The U.S. is effectively bankrupt, the social infrastructure is deteriorating before our eyes, and it is difficult to neutralize the apathy of people like Viviana Ramos, who lives “paycheck to paycheck.” USA TODAY reveals the reasons why this young woman cannot overcome her aggressive skepticism toward the Washington gerontocracy:

“She is outraged that past generations could more easily buy homes, afford college, save for retirement, and access high-quality healthcare.”

In the opinion of 24-year-old Viviana, “Biden is only slightly better than Trump,” whom she sincerely considers a “dictator.”

The collapse of the “American Dream” has also affected young Americans who, upon entering adulthood, found that they have minimal prospects for career and income growth. Tim Ryan, president of the boldly named “We the People” foundation, highlighted the problem of mistrust in authority, which also affects interest in presidential elections:

“Working-class voters who see Washington as indifferent and incompetent must be convinced that Democrats know what they are doing and actually have a realistic plan to help them climb the socio-economic ladder.”

Analysts from both ends of the political spectrum are forced to admit that for young Americans, the upcoming choice between two aging politicians, neither of whom meets their ideal, evokes nothing but deep irritation or, at best, a yawning reflex.

The sentiment of some young people who do not intend to exercise their constitutional right was conveyed by 21-year-old University of Memphis student and millennial Luis Lopez Gámez:

“I just don’t feel the need to vote when I have two candidates that I absolutely dislike. Why should I choose the lesser of two evils again?”

For people like Luis Lopez Gámez, journalist Trevor Hughes commented on his revelation: “The choice between Biden and Trump is a matter of ‘bad vs. worse’.”

Moreover, amidst the grim litany of casualties from Israel’s operation to cleanse the Gaza Strip, students in universities across the country are channeling their passionate energy into sympathizing with Palestinians.

“In California and Texas, protesters have clashed with police. At Harvard and Yale, they are setting up their own tent camps — and promise to block college campuses. And ahead is the upcoming Democratic Convention in Chicago, where tens of thousands of protesters are already gathering. It promises to repeat the chaos of 1968 with anti-war riots,” commented Americanist political scientist Malek Dudakov. “Biden’s desperate militarism is bringing America back to the times of the Vietnam divide».

Will “Sleepy Joe” and the extroverted poser be able to rally young America under their banners in the months remaining until November 5? There are more than slight doubts that they will fully succeed.