Political Influence

Photo by Jess Canaley

According to the United States Census Bureau, the voting turnout for millennials has increased the most since 1996 when compared to the voting turnout growth of older generations. According to conservative and senior Luke Hamachek, politics are more discussed among peers, which he said makes teens more interested and educated about political topics.

“In my opinion, there are sort of two reasons why kids are becoming more involved. Teenagers, they like to be a part of a movement; that’s the first reason. The second reason would be that I think a lot of people are searching more for the truth, what do they agree with, identify themselves with, and if you’re going to advocate for something, a lot of people are looking for the actual statistics of that instead of just the emotions and feelings regarding that political topic,” Hamachek said.

Hamachek also said by the time the 2020 presidential election comes around, millenials will be the biggest category of people who can vote in that election, which he said will contribute to a rise in voting turnouts among young adults in the future. Unlike Hamachek, Jace Loncharich, president of the Republican Club and senior, said general trends of voting turnouts are not likely to change.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a rise in voting in the years to come. General trends as a whole say we don’t like to vote. We like to exercise our political influence other ways, like we donate more money than most countries to politics, but voting wise we’re not huge on it…We don’t really like to vote. We voice the need for change by other methods,” he said.

Although Loncharich said he does not think there will be a rise in voting turnouts, he said teens are more heavily involved in politics compared to previous years.

“The older I’ve gotten, the more politics get around, because I’ve gotten older. No longer do people talk about Silly Bandz; they talk about more ‘real issues’. I’d say (involvement) has increased, but I couldn’t tell what part of that is me just growing up,” he said.

According to U.S. History teacher Gordon Copee, he has had more students ask him about political events around the world, especially at CHS. He said Carmel students have beeen more politically inclined compared to the other schools he has taught at.

“I think our students here in Carmel are extremely well-informed. I think they’re very well-informed and I think they stay on top of current events very well. I think that one of the ways that they are able to do that is through social media which can be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, but I think for the most part they do a great job at staying on top of current events,” Copee said.

He said a rise of interest in political topics can be due to the decisiveness regarding President Donald Trump. He said Trump makes decisions that some people really agree or disagree with, which brings more political discourse. Hamachek said more people are getting involved with politics and controversial topics because that is where the “boundaries are being pushed.”

“If you disagree or agree with someone, whatever your position on an issue is, you should not stop the flow of ideas. The exchange of ideas between students, including politics is important because it exposes us to new ideas (and) new thoughts and gives us experience for new conversations farther down the road,” he said.

Loncharich said politics has influenced the way he views the grand scheme of things, especially in school.

“I’m not biased, but I believe that the Republican party is all about ‘hard work, hard work, hard work’, just keep going at it, and that’s kind of the mentality I have for everything in my life. With school and sports you just don’t quit. It’s never ending.  it’s constantly working,” he said. “I think that’s a large part of it. I’d say that politics are a result of my views, not views of results from politics. So like a lot of the reason I’m Republican, is cause I hold my Christian beliefs very close to me, which is kind of what the Republican party kind of ganders to. I think me being Republican is a result of that, not the views of the party.”

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Sameen Siddiqui