We haven’t seen the demographic breakdown yet on voter turnout, but California’s Tuesday primary definitely failed to meet expectations. Both here in San Francisco and statewide, voter turnout did not match up with the record new number of registrations. Many more Democrats stayed home this year than in 2008, the last time Hillary Clinton won the state in a presidential primary.
Voting is pretty simple, but apparently so are humans.
It would be hard to blame it all on the Associated Press calling the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton the night before, so instead we’re going to blame it on millennials.
[jump] They were supposed to vault one of their elders into the realm of electability, showing up in huge numbers to prove they are not the entitled, apathetic generation of the media’s making, but instead a new kind of thinker who doesn’t want to repeat mistakes of the past. Now Bernie Sanders will be watching the November general election from his rocking chair in Vermont.
If history is any indication — and it usually is — young people did not show up to vote. It’s funny because millennials have been the loudest voice in the room during the primaries, and Bernie’s campaign has seized on the hype, even citing his popularity with youngsters in a statement put out after Tuesday’s primaries.
You might be asking how we can be so sure this is the fault of millennials. Yes, we have access to the same crystal ball as the Associated Press. It’s called math.
There was no presidential election in 2014, but there was a primary and a gubernatorial election. This comparison won’t be perfect, but it won’t be far off. This UC Davis study shows that among 18- to 24-year-olds in California, only 3.7 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. That’s scary, but not quite as terrifying as the total vote share among that age group.
They encompass 14.5 percent of the electorate and accounted for just 3 percent of actual voters — by far the largest discrepancy of any age group. Compare that to the 55-64 demographic, which cast 25 percent of all votes among their 17 percent share of eligible voters.
And lest you think this is some West Coast sun-stained apathy, youngsters nationwide just don’t seem to care when it actually counts.
Perhaps it’s a lesson in not believing the hype, or a lesson in how to follow through. Word to the wise: If you don’t want a Donald Trump presidency come 2017, there’s an election in November to stop it from happening.