New Power, New Voters

by isabelleallain on March 19, 2017 - 1:07pm

Gregory Wallace explained through CNN Politics an issue that raised my concern. His powerful title of his article apprehends the matter greatly: “Voter Turnout at 20-year low in 2016”.  Indeed, the voting participation in 2016 in the United States of America was at its lowest point in the past 20 years. Only 55% of the voting age population selected the candidate they wanted to see rule their country. 55% of the American population represents 126 million votes. Although it seems like a lot, that is the result of the decrease of 18,7 million participants in the past two years.

Some states showed outstanding decrease of participation.

“In Florida, nearly 9.4 million ballots were cast, compared to 8.5 million in 2012.”

 

“Michigan saw 4.8 million compared to 4.7 million four years ago”

 

This article written on November 30th, 2016 leaves us wondering why so many people would stop voting, but more specifically, who stopped giving interest in politics.  

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/politics/popular-vote-turnout-2016/

 

Now I was wondering what group of people participated to the decrease of participation rate. I looked up on Pew Research Center and found relevant statistics that were uploaded on November 9th 2016. They are about who participated to this year’s election of Donald Trump a few months ago. Indeed, as anticipated, the participation rate of the youngest voters (between ages of 18-29) declined.

 

Four years ago, Barack Obama had an advantage against his opponent of 60%-30% of young voters. In the most recent election, however, Hilary Clinton had an advantage of 55%-37% over Donald Trump. The participation rate of younger voters is indeed decreasing since 2008.

Source: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/

 

 

 

Now, the present issue in politics I picked up is the decreasing of voting, especially from the youthful participants. This however, can be improved with everyone’s collaboration, self-motivation and “New Power”. To begin with let’s determine “New Power”: It is a force that encourages participation and collaboration through new technologies to create change and shift outcomes.

 

Here’s another definition of “New Power” and a comparison with “Old power” provided by the article “Understanding ‘New Power’” found in Business Models written by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms in December 2014:

“Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.”

“New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.”

Source : https://hbr.org/2014/12/understanding-new-power

            Now, how can we apply “New Power” with young voting participation, you may ask? In many, many ways you can apply the concept. However, I though about a YouTube channel. Nowadays, YouTube reaches an extremely large amount of viewers, and especially young viewers. I suggest the creation of a YouTube channel about politics, where someone would interview normal people, like you and me, to talk about their knowledge and opinions about political projects and possible political candidates. On this channel, many worldwide viewers would hear the speakers, even possibly and hopefully, politicians themselves. If so, the politicians could take into account the opinions and concerns of the American citizens. From time to time, they could also become special guests and respond directly to those opinions and questions. On another level, the project could also sensitize others to the importance of voting, of having the power to choose your country’s leader. Interviewing normal regular people will make it easier for the viewers to relate and understand the idea brought about.

This is a representation of “New Power” because of everyone’s participation of viewing, answering questions and interviewing to be heard and bring about the changes they wish to see.

Comments

Great research! I really enjoyed your proposed solutions and concern to help educate the younger generation on politics! This is an extremely well written text, but I would also like to bring up the aspect of gender in politics to further understand the lower voter turnout.

From the late 19th to the early 20th century, First Wave Feminists fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage and the right to vote. Suffragettes were radical feminists who employed militant tactics which included breaking windows and destroying property in order to get what they wanted. Since then, women were given the right to vote across First World countries and the number of women voting started increasing rapidly. As a result, from the 1980s to today, the gender vote gap became apparent and consistent where women were more in numbers than men who vote. In fact, approximately 65% of eligible women voted whereas less than 50% of eligible men voted. This is remarkable when we consider that men, in the past, dominated politics and even had to prove their masculinity by showing they had political power and the ability to vote. Women were also in general expected to be less interested in politics, but we have overcome these expectations now. However, there is still a disproportional number of women in higher positions despite their education and qualifications. This is called the glass ceiling and is especially present in politics.

It is also important to mention that men and women have different political views. For instance, statistics show that women will associated themselves more with the left wing so they are more likely to vote for the Democratic party whereas men are more likely to turn to conservatism and vote for the Republican party. Of course, there are many other important factors that come into play when voting like race, sexual orientation, class, region and age as you already mentioned. Finally, younger men and women should not take voting for granted as it’s a privilege.

If you would like to read more about the gender vote gap in politics, check out: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/us/politics/gender-gap-campaign.html?...