Dear Young People: This Election is on Us (So Don’t Screw it Up) by Vice President Drew Weber

Note: The following views expressed have not been officially endorsed by the College Democrats at New York University. They represent only the thoughts and concerns of the author. All voices remain a vital part of our democracy.


With early voting well underway and over 22 million ballots already cast, we’re starting to get a view of what to expect come election day and what problems the two candidates could potentially run into.

One thing should be made clear: this election is close. Polls have tightened and it increasingly looks like whoever wins might do so by a margin of 1 or 2 states. The betting markets give Trump a 27% chance of winning the election. For reference, if you flip a coin twice there is a 25% chance you’ll get heads both times. In other words, the idea of Trump winning is well within the realm of possibility.

While certain groups, like the elderly, have been out in droves exceeding their turnout from 2012, young people are curiously staying home. In all swing states but one (good on you Colorado) turnout among voters ages 18–29 has decreased from 2012 levels.

This is absurd.

There is a fashionably pessimistic view that states both candidates are essentially the same. Not only is this view incorrect; it’s lazy. It draws a false equivalency in order to avoid having to make any serious intellectual judgment. But, for the sake of it, if you still haven’t decided if it is worth showing up to vote, let’s run through some differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

  • Clinton wants to expand access to reproductive rights. Trump wants to punish women who get abortions and plans to appoint judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • Clinton believes climate change is a serious issue and has a plan to address it. Trump thinks climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to steal American jobs.
  • Clinton wants to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour. Trump wants to abolish the federal minimum wage.
  • Clinton handled her emails as Secretary of State in a questionable manner. Trump is the first candidate in modern history to not release his tax returns and has had over half his statements rated false by Politifact (for reference, Clinton is at 12% false statements).
  • Clinton wants to expand access to voting and limit suppressive voter ID laws. Trump has sought out volunteers to intimidate black and Hispanic people at the polls and openly questioned the legitimacy of the election (a first for a major party nominee).
  • Clinton has met with leaders of Black Lives Matter and has a plan to tackle the issue of police brutality. Trump has called for national stop and frisk (i.e. institutionalized racial profiling) and has on multiple occasions retweeted white supremacists.
  • Clinton has a plan to strengthen labor unions and increase protections for workers. Trump will appoint judges that will put severe limitations on the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain.
  • Clinton wants to decrease the global supply of nuclear weapons. Trump believes the world would be better off if more countries had nuclear weapons. In a conversation with a foreign policy adviser, Trump repeatedly questioned why as president he shouldn’t use nuclear weapons. It is important to note here that the decision to launch a nuclear attack is one where Trump would have complete and total discretion independent of any other branch of government.
  • Clinton has a plan to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Trump vows to deport tens of millions of people and has gone back and forth on whether the US should ban people based on their religion.
  • Hillary Clinton has served as a senator and in two presidential administrations. She also happens to be the first female major party nominee for president. Donald Trump is the most bigoted individual to seek the presidency as a major party nominee in a generation, has bragged about committing sexual assault, and is the least qualified candidate in US history.

Fellow young people, if Trump wins this election because we don’t turn out then we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We have the power to shape our future, to build towards a better tomorrow, and to place the dangerous and destructive views of Donald Trump into the dustbin of history. Change does not come easy and it rarely comes quickly. Creating the world we want to see means taking concrete steps that keep us on the path towards progress.

If you would like to volunteer for Hillary Clinton in the last week of this election please click here:

You can access Drew's original article here.

NYU College Democrats