Can young voters decide the 2020 US elections? There is plenty of indication that young Americans can play a major role in determining the outcome of the presidential race between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. But it all hinges on how invested “Millennials” and “GenZers” are in the nation’s future and whether that investment will actually yield dividends through participation come November.
The Twilight Zone
Young Americans have experienced more than most generations do in a lifetime. It almost beggars belief what Millennials and GenZers have had to contend with already, trials, and tribulations over the last two decades that are befitting of an Outlander-type-historical-fiction-saga.
Terrorist attacks in 2001 on US soil; financial crisis between 2007-08; and an unprecedented global pandemic this year, which has triggered a series of subset crises – a public health crisis, economic crash, record unemployment, and mental health crisis – that which as yet the full extent of its implications and consequences is unknown.
And if that’s not overwhelming enough, an existential crisis is facing the nation. Unfolding across major cities with demonstrations by the woke sparked into action following incidents of extreme police brutality that grabbed national headlines and sent seismic shockwaves through the national conscious.
To say these are unprecedented times is an understatement. The understatement that ends all understatements. Uncertainty rules supreme as the only certainty in this extraordinary period, and the young are particularly cognisant that their 20s are nothing like that of their parents or grandparents. Those sepia-toned days in which the youth of the time incurred little debt, found stable jobs, bought a car, bought an affordable home, got married, had families, and, even, were able to save money.
The glaring contrast between life then and now couldn’t be more pronounced. The young occupying the streets of America, therefore, isn’t surprising nor is it phenomenal. Protesting is a democratic right, the tip of the spears for change historically – be it political, social or economic. But a rise in youth activism was prevalent already well before this weird 2020 year, youthful voices
rising above the din over a handful of issues used as a rallying cry: soaring student debts, climate change, health care, etc.
Student strikes have been occurring with increasing frequency in the United States. As recently as last September, students occupied the streets of New York, young crowds demanding action on climate change and chanting “Sea levels are rising and so are we.” A worldwide movement spurred by Swedish teenage-activist Greta Thunberg who came to the Big Apple to address the UN’s Action Climate Summit.
At the time, New York governor Andrew Cuomo recognized the protests for what they were, a fight for the future. Forewarning Cuomo then couldn’t have possibly anticipated would underpin the state of affairs in America less than a year later.
In no uncertain terms, the future is at stake. The future that Millennials and GenZers will ultimately have to live with when the time comes. The fight for the kind of world the youth envisage though can’t only be fought in the streets of America. It must also be fought at the ballot box because the way in which the 2020 US elections fall will determine the course for the foreseeable future.
The State of Affairs and the Race to the White House
After two weeks of conventions, the 2020 presidential race is poised ever so delicately. It can’t be cut any finer than it is being sliced in political betting markets right now.
To be fair, it is still a tight contest and a right tossup in the betting. Where Trump is favoured, the advantage over Biden is just nominal. Similarly, where Biden noses ahead of Trump, it’s only by a fraction.
And yet: there’s a distinct shift in the political landscape occurring. What once was an election cornered firmly with the former two-term vice president, Joe Biden, only last month, is now turned on its head. President Donald Trump emerges as the favourite at BetOnline to retain his seat in the Oval Office.
As it is, it’s a complete tossup and both hopefuls can fancy their chances. The odds are in constant flux, reacting to the latest news, event, disaster, speech or, even – as the case so often is with Trump – Tweet.
Nevertheless, while it’s anybody’s guess which way the 2020 US elections will go, casting your vote is singularly the only way to truly have your voice heard.