It is now 2016. The pre-game is over. The primary election is here. And young (and maybe even older) voters are thinking, what the hell is going in?
The Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses were huge turning points in the election that brought out a real fight. Now primaries are popping up left and right.
The Democratic side is now between Senator Beanie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. Clinton has been the predictable winner and won first at the Iowa caucus by only a slight percentage. While Sanders may have started as a "laughable" candidate, he has gained a vast following, especially among young voters. He won the second primary in New Hampshire by a significant percentage. Since then Sanders has won 856 delegates. Still far behind, but hopeful.
Out of everybody running for office, these two are the most experienced. They both have been senators, writing and voting on bills and laws. Both have had a long history in government, which gives them both advantages and disadvantages.
The most annoying thing about the Democratic race is how the past keeps coming up. Clinton has been involved with more political scandals than any of the other candidates. While she has been commended for bouncing back every time, her past has also created distrust among the American people, especially millennials.
One of Sanders' hot topics though the campaign has been his anti-Wall Street battle cry, speaking about candidates supporting Wall Street, recently marking Clinton as a part of Wall Street, that she has been paid to support them. This may be one of the reasons why Clinton is losing millennials, a generation that has grown to distrust the "establishment" and Wall Street's influence on the federal government.
Another hot topic is equality.
It does not seem like Sanders has "the black vote" yet, he has the support of many young black voters. While Clinton gained her black following mostly because of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Sanders fought against racism even before it was "politically popular." Sanders protested segregation in 1962 by putting up flyers speaking against police brutality in Chicago and still stands up against police brutality. He also took part in the march on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963. Millennials see Sanders as a doer, not just a professional politician.
Of course, Clinton has fought for civil rights. But to millennials, it seems that it only matters when she needs it for her own political gains. Years before Clinton began to fight for LGBT rights, before DOMA, Sanders was fighting to abolish laws against the LGBT community, while he was running in Vermont.
Clinton has admitted that she was against gay marriage until a few years ago and said that it was not about popular politics. Enlightenment is great, but young LGBT voters are not buying it. Older LGBT voters, especially older women, don't seem to mind her flipflop past, and completely support and trust her record.
And there is another generational divide. Where this election is not about the black vote, or the gay vote, or even the female vote. It's about a generation, that partly because of the advancement of technology and the internet now feel they can't trust their government.
That is why Beanie Sanders sticks out, he calls for equality, fair trade, and free college. And millennials believe him. Now who knows if what Sanders says is really possible. It's definitely not going to happen overnight. To the older generations that think Sanders is extreme and idealist, young voters may seem naive.
But maybe it is not so bad to be wide-eyed and to believe that change can happen.