With the first marking period of the school year coming to an end, I began wondering what I wanted to do with my research. I have mentioned that I want to direct my research this year towards how voters shape public policy efforts, however, I can honestly say that until this week, I had no idea what the research would be for.
In between study sessions this past week, I was completely glued to debate coverage. Despite my disappointment in the presidential debate’s lack of a substantial policy discussion, I was not disappointed in the reactions to what was said. Through the partisan back and forth on the radio and television, I thought it was interesting to see how both sides saw the same ninety minutes in completely distinct ways.
It was not until I walked into my debate class on Wednesday morning, though, that the presidential debate connected to my research. The vast majority of my classmates all saw the debate through the same lense as the person in the desk beside them. Along with that, my classmates further differentiated themselves from the talking heads on the news, as they did not focus on Alicia Machado and microphones as much as reporters have. All around me people were saying whether or not they agreed with what was said about stop and frisk, tax returns, and e-mails.
Listening to people my age sparked an idea in me. While only a few people in my class will be 18 by November 8th, we are all part of the generation that both major party candidates have been struggling to excite. Millennials have mature and distinct political beliefs that are not treated as such. This past week, I realized that as I research how voter outreach and response shapes policy efforts, I want to know specifically how millennials are influencing the current government actions. As I begin with my research, all I know for certain is that if millennials continue the trend of this election, then nothing will be as expected.