1st – EDITORIALHow to win that 18-year-old vote
Vanna Cable, Liberty High School
April 30, 2004
Filed under J-Day
Let’s be honest; 18-year-olds don’t give a rip about politics.
It is obvious, based on the previous presidential elections where a measly 32 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds cast their votes, that they are unmotivated, uninterested or simply do not care. Although alarming, this does not come as a surprise.
Perhaps the reason why 18-year-olds are rather bored by the big election hubbub is because the suit-and-tie-wearing gray-haired men put too much effort into appealing to other suit-and-tie-wearing gray-haired men. So, the average 18-year-old skips CNN and turns to MTV.
If presidential candidates wish to win over these stubborn and uninterested individuals, they’ve got to get with the program.
The following is a short list of how they can accomplish this challenging mission.
First, they need to lose the comb-overs. It’s rather simple. So much of an 18-year-old’s world revolves around appearance, including whom they choose to follow. In the minds of some young adults, it’s not about what you say, it’s how you look. For goodness’ sake, go with a spike-do or something.
Secondly, spice it up a little. They need to loosen up that necktie and let it all hang out! Eighteen-year-olds would love to see an election campaign speech contain some hip music, maybe some background dancers, and the occasional use of slang terms, such as “dawg” and “fo-shizzle.” That’s a sure-fire way to win them over.
And lastly, when all else fails, try bribery. The average 18-year-old is not interested in the candidate’s foreign policy, budgeting for health care, or plans to improve the economy. All they’re thinking is “What’s in it for me?” So, some “incentive” tactics would probably come in handy. This is what an 18-year-old wants to hear in campaign speeches: “Yo! If you vote for me, I will make high school optional, I will make curfews illegal, and I will impose no speed limit in the United States. If I am your president, America will be off the hook!”
This will guarantee that a substantial number of 18-year-olds will get off the couch and go to the polls.
Granted, these strategies are not recommended for those attempting to appeal to older audiences. But if presidential candidates wish to win over the younger population, they’ve got to make some sacrifices, even if that means abandoning their political views, forsaking their values, and getting a little makeover.
It’s so crazy, it just might work.