By Isabelle Thompson
Every four years, a number of seniors at Novato High have the opportunity to participate in the the presidential election process. With the 2016 debates coming up this November, students of all classes are bursting with opinions, but only the 18-year old seniors will have a qualifying vote.
Often referred to as the “hooked-up generation,” young voters are easily accessing information of upcoming elections online, which has increasingly formed a greater turnout overall.
“They understand how to use the Internet as a powerful tool to achieve their goals and this extends into social and political activism,” wrote Jack Mayers on the Huffington post website.
Political interest can also be sparked through social media according to a number of students at Novato High.
“I’ll see stuff on social media saying Donald Trump said this, or Hillary did this. A lot of it is discussed at school too,” said Elena Golubovich, a student at Novato High.
Discussion through online or social sources among students has opened a political gateway creating a sense of excitement that allows political news to be relatively accessible and furthers a sense of responsibility among young Americans.
With an increasing number of young voters each year, there seems to be a trend in the political direction. Nationally, this year’s election has shown a record breaking low for the Republican party in terms of young voters.
“Younger Americans have tilted more Democratic generally,” wrote Jennifer Agiesta, a reporter for CNN. “According to the IOP’s surveys, 61% of likely voters age 18-29 say they would vote for Clinton, while just 25% would vote for Trump.”
This seemed to be reflected in Novato High’s student body as there were strong feelings of derision towards Trump from the majority of students interviewed.
“If he wasn’t so misogynistic or racist or sexist, he could probably be a good republican candidate...he just has a really big ego under all that hair,” said Golubovich.
Many of them tended to lean left, some even resorting to the Libertarian party.
“I really couldn’t find a comfortable choice within the two party system,” said Bella M. Lopez, a Novato High student.
Living in the dominantly liberal Bay Area may have an impact on many of these young voters, yet Novato High student Maxim Kalinkin seems to contradict the norm as he expressed his support for the republican party.
“Because of the influence on my family, and my personal beliefs, I identify with the republican party,” said Kalinkin. “I think the way the media portrays Trump, there’s a lot of misleading information. I do like his policies about business and international relations. The other thing I like is that he is super assertive.”
When asked to share his opinions on Hillary Clinton, Kalinkin added, “she will say anything in politics to get her elected basically. If you watch her previous interviews or statements on the news, she is constantly contradicting herself just to say what’s appealing to the public at that moment… she’s just trying to do what’s good for the Clinton foundation.”
Many students of the Novato High senior class will not be voting however as their birthday does not make them eligible to share their opinion. A common subject up for discussion is whether or not the voting age should be lowered. Many of the country’s current decisions will have an affect on the future generations, and there have been many students who claim that being eligible to vote spurred them to become politically active.
“My family or friends know that I’m 18 and they’ll talk to me about the political campaigns and stuff like that, a lot more than they usually did,” Said Golubovich.
However, at Novato High, many of the students seemed to reject the idea.
“High school students are, their political views tend to be delineated so they are not really defined in what they believe,” said Emma Woerner. “They also haven’t experienced what most adults have so not all laws apply to them, so they really just don’t have the same experience as older voters.”
Another student, Conner Raiger tended to agree.
“A lot of the people who are underage are not responsible or not thinking about voting. I think most of the kids under 18 wouldn’t vote anyway,” said Raiger.
These students are seniors that will not be voting in this upcoming election, yet they are in agreement that it is better for those their age and under not to be involved in the voting process.
Bella M. Lopez, an 18 year-old senior a Novato who will be voting in this election tended to agree.
“I think someone should be legally considered an adult before they can weigh into matters that often deal with things beyond their age,” Lopez said.
Students at Novato high tend to agree that 18 is the appropriate age to start voting; an age that can also serve as a monumental entrance into the adult world.
With the election less than two months away, students are beginning to discover how they identify politically and learn more about their rights upon entering the adult world. This is just the beginning for many young Americans to act upon their rights and have an opportunity to share their opinions, thus celebrating the principles of democracy upon which our country was founded.