Friday, November 4, 2016
It is Up to the Young to Secure their Futures this Election Cycle
It is valid to ask how Trump has any support at all. His base of support is composed of those who are ruled by fear. That is because fear is a limbic system response that interferes with rational thought. It is no secret that Trump's base is composed of scared older Caucasians, they are terrified by the erosion of their white privilege and they are grasping at straws as they pine for their glory days when they enjoyed unchallenged supremacy. However, like the lost manufacturing jobs, there is no going back. The days of institutionalized racism are over, and like the lost coal mining jobs, they are never coming back.
In July a Grist article by Rebecca Leber pointed to polls which showed that young people do not see a difference between Clinton and Trump on climate change.
Trump has infamously called climate change a hoax invented by China, he wants to double down on fossil fuels and eradicate the Environmental Protection Agency. Conversely Hilary calls climate change “an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” And yet about four out of 10 millennials in battleground states think there is no difference between those candidates’ views on the issue.
Leber cites a New America Battleground Millennial Survey. The Global Strategy Group poll was conducted in June and early July and it was commissioned by Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate group. The poll focused on millennials in 11 battleground states. The results suggest that more than one in five (21 percent) of millennials are Bernie Sanders supporters who are so disillusioned with Clinton that they will not vote for her in a general election if there are third-party candidates. Sanders has been clear, he has repeatedly said that anyone who supported him should support Hilary if for no other reason than to make sure Trump does not become president.
An even bigger concern is that seven out of ten Sanders supporters do not see a difference between Hilary and Trump on climate issues. This is hard to understand given that young voters see clean air and water and renewable energy as high priorities. A total of 75 percent say they want the US to transition away from fossil fuels and they like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While Hilary supports the need for climate action, the EPA and transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, Trump's position opposes all of the above.
It is hard to understand how 44 percent of millennials polled say there’s no distinction between the two candidates on transitioning away from fossil fuels, and 43 percent say there’s no distinction on protecting air and water.
"It’s not just ignorance," added Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group. "They assume she’s more conservative than she is."
America's youth need to come to a better understanding of what is at stake this election cycle. For the longest time millennials did not easily distinguish between Trump and Hilary. However, as reported by Leber in a followup Grist article in September, new polls suggest that millennials are beginning to realize that Trump's agenda is very different.
Jamison Foser, a strategic advisor to NextGen Climate, said in a statement, "Clinton's lead has grown and favorability has increased as young voters learn more about the candidates policy positions."
Still, 28 percent of likely voters see no difference between Clinton and Trump on protecting air and water and 30 percent don’t think there’s a difference on moving away from fossil fuels.
Young voters may be a deciding factor in this election. The dangers of failing to understand the differences between the candidates is a real problem, as is the possibility that they may not turn out to vote. In Canada the failure of young people to vote resulted in a win for Stephen Harper's fossil fuel loving conservatives. If young people decide to stay away on election day (November 8), the same thing could happen in the US and the consequences would be calamitous.
Young people have the most to lose by not voting and the most to gain by casting their vote to ensure that Trump does not ruin their futures.
As Louis C.K. said on Conan O'Brian, "If you vote for Hilary you are a grownup, if you vote for Trump you are a sucker, if you don't vote you are an asshole."
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Posted by Richard Matthews