While the delegate dust might still be settling around the nation, it’s pretty clear that Colorado belongs to the candidate most popular with the youth of the nation: Barack Obama. While figures detailing how many among those who turned out were actually college-aged, it’s difficult to deny that Obama’s appeal to young voters didn’t help him here in Colorado and in other states around the country.
There’s much to be gained from reaching out to young voters, and it’s not difficult for candidates to do when there are so many issues to address. We can look to our future leaders to find ways to improve our economy or provide more funding for higher education. We’re the generation that’ll be battling global warming and doing the research to develop clean and renewable sources of energy. We’re also the generation that has been charged with fighting terrorism, an enemy that’s difficult to identify. It is our brothers and sisters and lifelong friends, thousands of soldiers under 30, who are fighting in Iraq, and who’ll likely be fighting the battles against terrorism in the unseen future.
Despite the naysayers who don’t think the youth vote matters, just remember that times are changing with this year’s election.
According to studies from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, 15 percent of Iowans ages 18 to 24 attended a 2008 caucus, compared to a five percent turnout seen in 2004.
The same report details a 43 percent turnout rate for voters ages 18 to 29 for the New Hampshire 2008 primary, compared to an 18 percent rate in its 2004 primary. Surely, we will see similar results here in Colorado; hopefully, the momentum will ride on into the general election, and the candidates will be forced to acknowledge the youth vote for the fiery potential it is.