Anyone doubting the political power of the young was in for a rude awakening when the results of the United Kingdom elections rolled in.
Theresa May, the current Conservative/Tory (Britain’s Republicans) Prime Minister called for snap elections to attempt to boost her parliamentary majority in the wake of critical Brexit negotiations. She saw an opening with polls showing Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party (Britain’s Democrats) and a buddy of Bernie, deeply unpopular with British constituents.
But then a clairvoyant moment occurred. May laid out the platform of the Conservatives and the party’s popularity dropped a staggering six points in one weekend. Additional taxes on the middle-class and further support of Brexit were not what the electorate was feeling.
Yet, that’s not what propelled a hung parliament. What drove the results was a massive jump in turnout from folks between ages 18-24, who voted overwhelmingly for Labour. 72 percent of British youth in 2017 voted, as opposed to less than 48 percent in 2015.
It’s easy to understand why. Corbyn wants to abolish University tuition and impose strict CEO salary caps and rent controls. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and tuition costs are spiking.
I can only imagine what such a jump in voter turnout would do in the U.S. Right now, our young folks vote at incredibly low levels. If my fellow millennials voted at 70-80 percent turnout, Republicans would never win another election in this country.
But don’t take that as a condescending statement. We need something to vote for. We need candidates who will address climate change, an economy that creates good paying jobs that can turn into careers and lower the cost of living and tuition. We need a platform that will erase student debt and embrace true equality. We need an end to systemic racism and the military-industrial complex.
If we get that, I think it is entirely possible for my generation to turn out at levels previously unseen in American history.