Posted on: October 30, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Joe Buglewicz

By The Editorial Board

The 2020 U.S. election was a watershed moment for young voters.

Voters between the ages of 18 to 29 came out in droves to vote for mainly progressive platforms. These are platforms with the power to protect and continue progress on human rights. An astonishing 55 percent of eligible young voters came out to vote in 2020.

But all that progress could vanish without a trace if we don’t see a similar or better turnout in this midterm election Nov. 8. We cannot become complacent. We must vote in this election.

Youth voter turnout has been notoriously low in midterm elections, with the exception of 2018. In 2018 and 2020, the “Trump effect” drove young people to vote against the Republican platform. Now, with Trump out of the White House, and with Biden in the Oval Office, there isn’t much to push young voters out into the polls. It doesn’t help that Biden is unpopular with young voters. In 2020, they favored Bernie Sanders over Biden in a 4 to 1 margin.  

These two factors may have a profound effect on this year’s midterm. In an interview with CNN, Republican consultant John Brabender acknowledged that young voters “are not going to show up in a midterm election to support a president that they are not… enthusiastic about.”

So what does this mean for all the progress that’s been made?

For starters, voting rights may further deteriorate. Gerrymandering and voter ID laws have been popular with the right, which have been proving time and again to work against people of color. A look at neighboring Wisconsin gives a worrying example of how Republicans can turn the nation into a lopsided one-party rule.

Graphic by Nonprofit VOTE
Besides 1972 and 2018, midterm elections have been known to have notoriously low voter turnout.

The LGBTQ+ community may also face backlash. Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill has been detrimental to all in the gay community in his state by denying their representation in educational curriculum. This kind of law would easily pass in a Republican-controlled Congress.

The same goes for the teaching of critical race theory. On a federal level, these kinds of laws hurt our access to education more than they protect us and our children. What we’re looking at is essentially a whitewashed, modern-day book burning, without the pyrotechnics.

How about workers’ rights? As previously mentioned here, there have been attacks against unions by red states. With conservative control of Congress plus the Supreme Court, there is a risk of passing so-called “right to work” laws on a federal level–something that would undermine every worker’s right to collectively bargain and to unionize.

Immigration is another issue that will be affected by who’s in power. If Republicans take control of Congress, there would most likely be an attempt to follow Trump’s playbook. That is the further dehumanization of Latin American and Middle Eastern immigrants.

That’s not to mention the deterioration of abortion access across the nation if the GOP were to take back control. We have already seen what the Supreme Court can do with majority right-wing empowerment. Do we really want to risk a nationwide ban?

It is more important than ever for young voters to channel their energy into 2022 and beyond.

Do we really want to go back to the days when immigrants were ridiculed, women were not respected, and gays were ostracized by mainstream America?

On Nov. 8, we all must go out and vote.

The Glacier Editorial Board consists of Rosie Finnegan, opinion editor, Nick Stulga, editor-in-chief, and the section editors of the publication. Editorials represent the official position of The Glacier.