THE 2016 ELECTION AS A TEEN
We could not vote this election, but our opinions were heard.
February 15, 2017
Most people should know that the minimum voting age is 18. Whether you were passionate about Trump or Clinton, the final word was said by the people over eighteen who went out and voted. Halloween costumes, parodies, and passionate arguments arose from the adolescents of this school and many others. It was evident that the outcome of Trump becoming the president-elect upset many teenagers as well as adults. I knew of friends and peers under eighteen years old who attended protests against Trump. Likewise, many Trump supporters my age showed their pride for our country’s new president elect on and the day after election night. How could it be that so many students who are too young to vote, some of who cannot even drive, are so impacted and aware of politics? The answer is because these students are educated, and are choosing to further their knowledge about the potential leaders of this powerful country.
Whether it is the internet or their parent’s political views that are shaping this country’s young political activists, students all around this school under eighteen were voicing their opinion for this election. I was very independent throughout this wild election and didn’t really side with any candidate. I didn’t even slightly lean towards a candidate at all, because what I heard all around me about these two candidates from people and the media were not policies and plans for change, but scandals and scrutinization.
For the teenagers who did voice their opinion of the candidate of their preference, judgment followed. What people do not realize when they begin to tear down a teenager for supporting a candidate is that these teens are making a difference by supporting what they think is right. I and other teenagers under eighteen were not able to vote on November eighth, but those eighteen and over are not the only people who are in this country. Although politics is not the biggest thing every teenager thinks about, this election has broadened our horizons on government and the presidency by a mile.
It is interesting to think about how teenagers would have reacted if Hillary Clinton had been the president-elect on election day. Would people have been as outraged as when Trump was elected? Would similar protests like the “Not my President” protests arise from this decision.
From a biased media to a different outlook of how the election would turn out, I was convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to become the president-elect of the United States of America. Even a confident Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were convinced that this would be the case as well. Once the results came in, people like the Obamas, and even the people who created the SNL skits who were obviously anticipating a Clinton victory, were incredibly shocked and disappointed when the turnout came through on the infamous day of November.
In a mock election done by Channel One News, elementary, middle, and high schools were polled across the nation. Nearly 300,000 students in more than 7,000 schools from all 50 states voted between October 17 and 21. Once the many votes were counted, 47% of the students elected Hillary Clinton against the 41% who casted their vote for Donald Trump. Channel One News has done five previous mock elections through elementary, middle, and high schools and in all five mock elections, the candidate whom the students elected was also the candidate that won the actual election.
This election was less stressful for teenagers because they all did not have to make a choice for a candidate on election week, but the journey was equally as annoying for everyone in this country. The voyage to November eighth was a long one, but the perspective from people of all ages across this country was different and unique, and the opinions of those who could not vote should be just as valid as those who were eligible to vote.