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Teens' reactions to election could hold clue to how 2020 vote will go

Voters throughout the country swarmed polling stations Nov. 8, in order to cast their vote for the next president of the United States.

On Nov. 9, however, voters woke to a surprise that neither Republicans, Democrats, nor Independents expected: Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th president of the United States.

Protests immediately began outside of Trump Tower in New York City and across the nation, according to the New York Times. Many voters, Republican, Democrat or Independent, took to social media to express their opinions.

Voters everywhere were talking about the election with their family, friends, and co-workers, as well.

But there is a whole part of the population whose reactions are often ignored, a part of the population that could change the country in four years.

Teens in high schools everywhere reacted to the election in many ways that may indicate how the next generation will vote in 2020.

Although teens under 18 cannot vote, many help support a candidate through other means. Teens post support for a candidate on social media, volunteer for that candidate, and even go to rallies held at colleges nearby.

Earlier this year, for example, many high school students throughout the area flocked to UB Alumni Arena to see Sen. Bernie Sanders, at that point a candidate for the Democratic nomination, speak.

Teens also expressed enthusiasm to friends and classmates through debates and discussions, both in and out of the classroom.

After the election finished, many students continued to express their strong beliefs and opinions on this election.

Taylor Stover, a sophomore at Williamsville North High School, supported Sanders in the election. After he was not chosen as the Democratic nominee, Taylor supported Jill Stein and the Green Party.

Taylor has major concerns about the Democratic Party, and she did not support Hillary Clinton for these reasons.

She would like to see the party, "end student debt, end Islamophobia, create new paths for citizenship for immigrants, and support the rights of the LGBTQ community."

Taylor is under 18 and cannot vote. Instead, she demonstrates her political beliefs by wearing a safety pin to school to show support for minority groups and by going to political rallies.

Sarah Faber is also a sophomore at Williamsville North and she supported Trump for president. Sarah supports Trump mainly because his campaign advertised change for America. Sarah would like to see major changes in politics, including less focus on the wealthy.

Sarah does not like the comments that Trump has made about women and other minorities, but she overlooks these comments because she believes Trump is the best option for our country.

Sarah, like Taylor, is not old enough to vote, but still demonstrated support for Trump by attending the Trump rally in Buffalo earlier this year and by wearing Trump clothing to school.

A majority of the young voters from ages 18-24 voted Democratic in this election according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Although it is easy to assume that this trend will continue and the next generation of young voters will vote for the Democratic nominee, many young people disagree with what both parties have to say.

Many students, such as Sarah and Taylor, disagree with the major party platforms and may vote for a third party candidate or not vote at all next election.

One thing is clear about what all candidates must do before 2020 in order to secure the youth vote. They must listen to the teen voices and make significant changes to their platforms to reflect what teens around the country want.

Teens have the power to sway the election one way or another, and they have shown that they will not support a candidate unless that candidate will respect that voice.

Ariya Roberts is a sophomore at Williamsville North High School.

 

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