Attention college students, women, those unemployed, those uninsured, minimum wage earners, environmentalists, teachers, families of the middle class, families of the lower class, and any others who are fed up with the North Carolina GOP: midterm voting is happening this November, and you are needed.
College students: you are needed the very most.
The New York Times published an article in April entitled “Why the Democrats’ Turnout Problem Is Worst in North Carolina”. According to the article, there is a critical generation gap in our swing state. In the 2012 election, North Carolinians over 65 voted for Mitt Romney by a 29-point margin. Meanwhile, North Carolinians under 30 voted to reelect President Obama by a notable 35 points—that is eleven points higher than the national margin among young people.
This new divide is a result of “Northern-born professionals who flocked to jobs in technology, higher education, banking and health care over the last two decades”, as stated by the NY Times. The rapidly changing demographic would be great news for Democrats if the year was 2016 and a new president was on the line.
But the year is 2014, and it’s time for midterm elections. Midterm elections lack the flash of presidential elections, though big things can happen—just ask Eric Cantor.
Despite their importance for all ages, midterm elections in our state simply do not attract a young crowd. Again according to the NY Times, voter turnout among young people dropped from 10.4 percent in 2008 to 3.9 percent in 2010. On the other hand, turnout increased among older voters.
And older voters are likely to elect House Speaker Thom Tillis. A staunch Republican, Tillis has been working to pass legislation that may set North Carolina back to before its younger voters were even born. A group of Moral Monday protestors carried out a sit-in in Tillis’s office just last month.
Democratic Party spokesman Ben Ray told the Huffington Post in May, "Speaker Tillis may be looking for political band-aids after the damage he did to North Carolina last legislative session, but there's no escaping his record of public education cuts, raising taxes on the middle class, and rejecting health care for 500,000 North Carolinians.”
Well, there may be one means of escaping. If North Carolina’s young voters don’t remember to vote in November, then we may see much more of Thom Tillis. So let’s make waves. Let’s make Moral Mondays a novelty instead of a necessity. Remember, remember to vote in November!
Written by Halle Mangrum