With the upcoming political election, new voters are deciding not only whom they want to vote for, but also their political affiliation. Frank Lutz of USA Today said that a majority of young voters identifying as Democrats are leaning more toward socialism and communism rather than conservative ideologies. He believes that the disconnect between the GOP and young voters is because of the Democratic presence on social media.
Personally, I’m registered as an Independent because I don’t fully agree with either party and don’t fully disagree with either party. I’m fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. I feel that my personal political views don’t align exactly with either party, so I chose to be an Independent. My mom is a Republican and my dad is a Democrat, so I was able to hear both sides growing up. Hearing opposing views has led me to form my own personal beliefs from either side. I feel like I was able to understand both rather than just one.
Nevertheless, I was surprised to read Lutz’s statement that a majority of young voters are Democrats because in my personal experience I feel that I am surrounded by young Republican voters. I grew up in Westchester, New York, which, for the most part, has Republican mayors or representatives. I feel that Republican beliefs are a part of where I grew up. Many of my friends are Republicans or extremely conservative. We’ve talked about politics and I definitely agree with some of their points, but hearing them talk about some of their beliefs reminds me of why I’m not a Republican. I’ve met very few people my age who identify as a Democrat or have socialist beliefs. This is just my personal experience.
My opinion contrasts Lutz’s with the divide of the Grand Old Party and young voters, but I do agree that many young people’s views come from social media and what they’re hearing their friends say. My friends and I discuss politics and I do feel like I can learn from them. Most of my friends and I get our information from the news app that comes with the iPhone and watch the news and party debates to get our political information. I feel that many people my age are watching the debates. I say this because every time a debate is on, I notice a majority of the people I follow tweeting about it.
Lutz said that there isn’t a strong Republican presence on Snapchat, a commonly used social media app, and that their lack of presence could be responsible for the divide of young voters between parties. Using social media is definitely a great way to reach younger generations because social media is such a big part of our daily lives. It allows candidates to share their platforms with younger people who may not have time to watch the debates, but have time to scroll through Twitter between classes.
I disagree with Lutz about the divide between young voters and the Republican Party. I feel that in addition to the strong Democratic presence on social media, there is also a strong Republican presence that doesn’t necessarily come from the candidates. The Republican Party may not always be directly involved in social media, but they definitely have advocates. Twitter accounts such as Young Repubs and the Cloyd Rivers are some of the most frequently shared accounts on my timeline. The Young Repubs account shares sarcastic tweets about Democratic policies and candidates. The Cloyd Rivers account shares pro-gun, pro-life and other conservative tweets. The frequency at which I see these tweets is part of the reason why I think there isn’t a disconnect between the Republican Party and young voters. For every Democratic or liberal account shared on my timeline, I see about 10 Republican or conservative tweets shared. There is definitely a strong Republican presence on social media and that is definitely reaching out to the younger generation of voters.
Although social media is a great tool for the upcoming election, it shouldn’t be a young voter’s only tool in getting information about candidates. Social media accounts can be biased and give misconstrued facts. Watching the debates is a great way to decide who to vote for because you’re hearing the candidate’s views straight from their mouth without any bias. The news app on the iPhone allows you to choose what news sources, such as The New York Times or The Huffington Post that you want to read and gives you alerts when a new article is uploaded. Looking at those quick alerts can give you a lot of information if you don’t have time to watch the debates. It’s important to stay informed, especially with the election rapidly approaching.