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  • Writer's pictureJackson Cohrs

Why Young People Should Care About Politics

Politics shapes every aspect of our lives, from the quality of the air we breathe to the opportunities we have in education and employment. For young people, understanding and engaging with politics is not just about participating in a distant, abstract system. It's about recognizing the profound impact that political decisions have on their daily lives and future prospects, and how they can make a difference. Despite this, many young people feel disconnected from politics, believing it doesn't concern them or that their voices don't matter. This couldn't be further from the truth.

The Direct Impact on Daily Life

Despite the prevalent myth that politics doesn't really impact day-to-day life, political decisions can influence key areas such as education, healthcare, employment, and environmental policies, all of which can completely change someone's daily routine.

Rear view of a student wearing a graduation cap

Education: Funding for public schools, the cost of college tuition, and the availability of scholarships and financial aid are all determined by policy makers For instance, the debates over student loan forgiveness and college prices have significant implications for millions of young Americans burdened by debt. Policies that reduce tuition fees or provide loan forgiveness can dramatically affect young people's financial stability and future opportunities. Voting and campaigning for politicians in favor of these policies is just one way young Americans can use the political system to better their own lives.

Healthcare: Access to affordable healthcare is another crucial issue. Political debates over healthcare policies can determine whether young people have access to essential medical services, including mental health support. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), allowed millions of young adults to remain on their parents' insurance until age 26, providing critical health coverage during a transitional period of their lives. Without this, many more college-aged individuals would be struggling to make ends meet as one single health problem could set them back thousands of dollars. Laws, even those passed at the federal level, can have a real, measurable impact on the quality-of-life of millions of individuals.

Employment: Minimum wage laws, job training programs, and labor rights are all shaped by legislation. Policies that promote job creation and protect workers' rights can directly influence the quality and availability of jobs for young people entering the workforce. Getting a job that treats you fairly is a crucial part of living a happy and successful life, and policies implemented at all levels of government can help insure that employers are treating you fairly.

Environment: Climate change is a pressing issue that disproportionately affects younger generations. Regulations regarding environmental protections and clean energy investments are crucial for mitigating the long-term impacts of climate change. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have highlighted the urgent need for political action to address environmental issues, demonstrating the power and importance of youth involvement in shaping environmental policy. Because many older politicians won’t be around to see the environmental consequences of their decisions it’s critical that young voters encourage them to focus on building a planet we can continue to live on.

The Power of the Youth Vote

Haphazard pile of identical buttons that all say vote

Young people represent a significant portion of the electorate, yet they often have lower voter turnout compared to older age groups. This underrepresentation can lead to policies that do not adequately address the needs and concerns of young people.

Historical Examples: When young people mobilize and vote in large numbers, they can drive significant political change. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, for example, a surge in youth voter turnout played a pivotal role in electing Barack Obama. Similarly, the youth-led movements in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the civil rights and anti-war movements, resulted in substantial political and social changes.

Current Trends: Recent elections have shown an increasing trend in youth engagement. In the 2020 U.S. presidential election, youth voter turnout was one of the highest in decades, demonstrating the growing political awareness and activism among young people. This trend underscores the potential power of the youth vote in shaping future elections and policies.

Long-Term Consequences

A melting glacier with a large piece falling off and into the ocean

Political decisions made today will have long-lasting effects on young people's futures. Policies regarding climate change, national debt, and social security, for example, will shape the world that younger generations will inherit.

Climate Change: The decisions made by current political leaders about environmental policies will determine the severity of climate change impacts in the coming decades. Failure to address climate change now could result in more frequent natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, and severe economic consequences. By engaging in politics, young people can advocate for sustainable policies that protect the planet for future generations.

National Debt: The growing national debt is another issue that will have long-term consequences. Political decisions about government spending and taxation will affect the economic stability and opportunities available to young people in the future. Working on finding solutions to this issue is an important task young people must undertake in order to advocate for policies that promote economic stability in their future.

Social Security: The sustainability of social security systems is a critical issue for the youth, who will rely on these systems in their retirement years. Political decisions made today about social security funding and reforms will determine the availability and adequacy of benefits in the future.

Moral and Ethical Responsibility

A group of young individuals engaging in a protest for racial equality

Beyond the practical implications, young people have a moral and ethical responsibility to engage in politics. In a democratic society, every citizen has a duty to participate in the political process and contribute to the common good.

Social Justice: Young people often lead the charge for social justice, advocating for equality and human rights. Political engagement is essential for addressing systemic injustices and creating a more equitable society. The Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, has been driven by young activists demanding racial justice and police reform. All widespread societal changes start by the younger generations demanding a change, and its critical that every individual makes sure their voice is heard.

Civic Duty: Voting and participating in the political process are fundamental aspects of civic duty. By engaging in politics, young people honor the sacrifices of those who fought for democratic rights and freedoms. It is a way to ensure that their voices are heard and that they contribute to shaping the society in which they live. If every American who complained about inflation, racial inequality, or voter suppression took real steps to help address the issue, the country as a whole would be in a lot better place.

The Role of Technology and Social Media

A collection of social media icons on tiles laying on a plain black table

The rise of technology and social media has transformed the way young people engage with politics. These tools provide platforms for information, organization, and activism.

Information Access: The internet allows young people to access a wealth of information about political issues, candidates, and policies. Social media platforms enable them to share information, engage in discussions, and mobilize support for causes they care about. Education is the first step towards becoming politically active, and it’s more accessible than ever.

Organizational Power: Social media has been instrumental in organizing protests and movements. The Women's March, March for Our Lives, and Fridays for Future are examples of movements that have used social media to coordinate actions and amplify their messages.

Amplifying Voices: Young people can use social media to amplify their voices and influence public opinion. By creating and sharing content, they can raise awareness about important issues and advocate for change.


Young people have every reason to care about politics. Political decisions impact their daily lives, future opportunities, and the world they will inherit. By engaging in politics, young people can drive significant change, advocate for their interests, and fulfill their moral and civic responsibilities. The power of the youth vote, the long-term consequences of today's policies, and the ethical imperative to participate in democracy all underscore the importance of political engagement. With the tools of technology and social media at their disposal, young people have more opportunities than ever to make their voices heard and shape the future of their societies.


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