New voters and their perspectives on the 2020 election

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Grace Pender

A young Iowan registers to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Grace Pender, Copy Editor

America has geared up for the rapidly approaching presidential election of 2020. Citizens have evaluated their options, and new voters have registered. 

Registered Democrat Taze Wilson (18), Republican John Warndahl (18), and Joe Youngbauer, the American Government and AP Government and Politics teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, shared important insight on young voters’ perspectives on the upcoming presidential election.

Many Americans have expressed immense dissatisfaction with their options for the presidential election of 2020. The popular phrase “settle for Biden” has circulated the internet, proving the reluctance of Americans to vote for Biden-but preference for him over President Trump

On the contrary, Wilson remains a strong supporter of his. He stated:“I will be proudly voting Biden because I believe his Democratic coalition of centrist and progressive policies will move the nation out of this dark time in our history and address many of the crises happening today.” 

Wilson does not share his parents’ respective party affiliations. “My mother was a registered Republican until Trump, and my father is still a Republican.” Wilson’s political ideologies atypically appeared to diverge from his parents’, as he has previously referred to himself as “as liberal as they come”.

On the other hand, Warndahl is disappointed in his candidate options for the upcoming election, but, like many Americans have expressed, is exasperated with the United States’ current president.

He stated: “I will be voting, and I am not certain who I am voting for. Likely I will vote for Biden, he is not much better, but I want the controversy of Trump’s presidency to come to an end.” Some right-leaning individuals, like Warndahl, are so tired of President Trump’s controversial presidency that they are willing to vote across party lines.

Warndahl’s political opinions appeared to stay true to his parents’: “Both of my parents are Republican.” Like most teens and young adults, Warndahl’s conservative mindset was seemingly influenced by his parents.

Youngbauer shared his thoughts on the key influencers of teens’ political ideologies. “Family in my opinion is the most influential factor in a student’s political attitudes. I also think that peers/friends, media, school and religion play important roles in political attitudes.” 

As expressed by Youngbauer, the media is among the most influential factors when an individual is forming their political attitudes. All sources possess bias: whether it be slight or severe, it has the power to influence readers to think a certain way. 

Wilson stated: “The New York Times and NPR are my main two sources of information, along with Reddit.” NPR is known to be unbiased. On the other hand, New York Times is known to possess a liberal slant, possibly indicating that Wilson’s democratic political ideology could have been influenced by the liberal nature of this source.  

Warndahl said: “I try to get both sides of a story and piece together the unbiased information from Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Politico, and The Washington Post, and The New York Times.”Warndahl acquires information from a variety of sources possessing differing political perspectives, which could further indicate that Warndahl was mostly influenced by his parents’ conservative political viewpoints.

Peers are another key influencer on young adult voters. Youngbauer stated that “PV is split pretty evenly between the two (Democrats and Republicans). Interestingly, I think in the last few years I have seen the number of Libertarians rapidly growing at PV.” Every year, Youngbauer has his students take in depth political questionnaires that reveal their political ideologies and attitudes.  

Wilson stated: “Most of my friends are liberal, but a good bit are libertarian and classical conservative.” His peer group’s general political ideologies appeared to align with his liberal standings. 

The opposite was true for Warndahl, who said: “Most of my friends are liberal, and have definitely influenced my personal opinions.” Both individuals’ peers seemed to profoundly influence their political attitudes. 

Although a multitude of America’s young adults appear apathetic to the results of the election, there are some that care deeply about the fate of their government. Their political ideologies tend to be strongly influenced by their peers, parents, and the media. Young Americans possess the power to aid a candidate’s way to victory or defeat and hold the future of America in the palms of their hands-especially in the upcoming election.