The exceptionally negative tone of this year’s race for the White House is souring young Americans, turning some away from the democratic process just as the millennial generation has become as large a potential bloc of voters as the baby boomers.
Reuters/Ipsos polling shows that Americans aged 18 to 34 are slightly less likely to vote for president this year than their comparably aged peers were in 2012. Some political scientists worry that this election could scar a generation of voters, making them less likely to cast ballots in the future.
Young Americans on the left and right have found reasons to be dissatisfied with their choices this year. Senator Bernie Sanders had an enthusiastic following of younger people before he lost the Democratic primary race to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, some are unwilling to vote for Donald Trump, citing the New York businessman’s sometimes insulting rhetoric on women, minorities and immigrants.
Brandon Epstein, who turned 18 on Monday, had looked forward earlier in the year to casting his first vote for Sanders. Now, the resident of suburban Suffolk County, New York, plans to sit out the vote on Election Day, Nov. 8.