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What do young people think about elections?

March 1, 2016

In an attempt to make her U.S. Government class more engaging, one high school teacher tasked her class to follow the 2016 election season, specifically the primary elections, focusing not on the candidates but on the process. Their particular state doesn’t vote until May.

Every few weeks the class meets and has an open discussion of their impressions up to that point.

At the last meeting, held on Monday Feb 29, she asked the 27 students for general impressions and changes the students might work for after they graduate, and why they felt that way.

# 1 on the list  (24 out of 27) was to do away with the delegate/electoral college model in favor of a national primary.

As for why, here are their comments.

“It’s totally rigged by the national parties now.”

” What’s the point of voting if your guy is already out of the race?”

“The way we do it now, it’s about making people hate each other.”

“What good are delegates if they can change their vote? That means my vote is a waste of time.”

“It’s all about who is rich enough to compete, so most of us are always ruled by a few rich people.”

“Too easy for the loudest candidate to win.”

“The top two or three candidates should get to move on, not just one.”

“All the campaigns lie and cheat to win, like when they take one sentence or one word and try to convince everybody that the candidate is something they’re not.”

‘The rules need to be the same for every state and political party. Like, why should anybody get 700 delegates for free?”

#2 on the list was some kind of national cap on spending (19 out of 27)

” We shouldn’t elect a president based on how many ads they can afford to run.”

“Give everybody a certain amount of free TV time and don’t allow advertising or count it in their (the networks) ratings”

“Use podcasts or live streaming on the internet instead of the phony debates, and cut the media out of the whole game. Then you wouldn’t have to be so rich to run”

# 3 was campaigns should be shorter (18 out of 27)

The longer these things go on, the stupider they get.”

“Make it start on January 15 and end with a national primary on June 15”

“Do away with all political parties and make everybody run on their own platform”

Asked if the assignment was more or less interesting than they expected, all 27 students said they thought it should be required in every school.

“I never even thought about elections ’til now. That was something my parents do.”

” I understand a lot more now about how elections control my future.”

“I will definitely (Ed. Note: underlined three times) think about politics as a career, so I can actually try to make changes.”

I will be 18 next month. I wasn’t going to vote, but now I might.”

Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

From → op-ed

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