Opinions Today Predict Turnout Tomorrow: Defining the Next Generation of Democracy


Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Briana Strader, Staff Writer

  Tuesday, September 24, 2019 brought to life a possibility only few thought was realistic: the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week that the House has officially opened an impeachment inquiry into the president, just one year away from the 2020 election. 

   For the first 33 months of Trump’s term, talk of impeachment has come and gone. As the Muller report blew over, it was generally accepted that there existed no evidence-based argument bolstering an impeachment inquiry. But the status quo quickly changed as the press jumped on the rising whistleblower complaint, which contains several accusations about the Trump administration. The House made quick work of the accusations, Pelosi announcing the opening of an inquiry only a day later. The official inquiry involves allegations that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

   Despite general dissatisfaction with the presidency, impeachment has not been popular in the eyes of the public thus far. As of October 2, however, nearly half of Americans (46.7%) support carrying out the impeachment inquiry, according to FiveThirtyEight. But, as CBS reports, only 32% of 18-29 year olds approve of the inquiry, as opposed to 72% of middle aged adults (30-64). 

This is absolutely defining of our next generation of voters. Faced with a constant overload of news and information, Americans in general have expressed a desire for a clear, concise, and factual representation of the events transpiring left and right across our nation. And, in theory, this is what an impeachment trial would provide. A winner, and a loser. An honest administration, or a man clearly in the wrong. But, young voters are more clearly able to identify the issues that would obscure these black and white answers from coming to light through a trial. This could account for the low rates of impeachment support among 18-29 year olds. 

   Kaitlyn Esperon (12), who will be eligible to vote in the 2020 election, voiced her concerns about the issue. “I absolutely think that there is something wrong with Trump asking another foreign leader to ‘investigate’ his democratic rivals. The House has been investigating allegations against the president since 2018, so I feel pretty confident that the House Committees will be able to represent their arguments factually and with conviction.” Esperon was also able to identify a glaring concern regarding the efficiency and validity of an impeachment trial, worrying about, “whether the Senate leader will refuse to hold a trial.”

   Americans who have voiced similar concerns do not believe that politicians will vote according to what the law demands, some reaching as far as worrying that politicians could actively work to obscure facts throughout the trial. This fear and insecurity is paired with a general lack of confidence in the matter as a whole, some young voters also raising questions regarding the status and timing of the trial. 

   Chaturika Bandara (11) expressed her concern, stating that she, “[thinks] that people are just trying to find a way to force Trump into his impeachment. We’re not only focusing on what he did in Ukraine… but basically everything he’s been doing, and building up to that one moment. I think everyone is trying to find a reason for him to get impeached. We’ve been ignoring all of this other stuff he’s been doing, and there’s so much stuff we could have been doing before.”

   Similarly, other members of this rising generation of voters have failed to find logic behind pursuing impeachment at this point in Trump’s presidency.

   Lauren “Mac” McCarthy (12) thinks that the House’s efforts are “pointless,” claiming that senators are just a “little too late” in their pursuit of impeachment. 

   As a nation eager for news awaits trial findings in anticipation, a new generation of voters is becoming conditioned to the lack of a fact-based spread of news. Podcasts, articles, newspapers, and talk shows packed with information have given way to a generally more informed society — but how much of that information based in fact? Young voters have thankfully began to see this discrepancy, and its effect on politics, our nation, and our people. Hopefully, by the time students of West High line up with other young voters to participate in the freedoms of democracy, we will have smoothed out these mountainous creases in the linings of our government.