Germanna political scientist wins national award for convincing students to vote…says 2024 may be a harder sell

by | Nov 18, 2023 | Germanna

Germanna political scientist Dr. Jamie Lennahan won a national award t from ALL IN as part of its Campus Democracy Challenge urging faculty to motivate students to vote in 2022 midterms, which featured a surprisingly large youth vote.
But she says it may be hard to persuade young people to vote in 2024.
Dr. Lennahan was one of only two national winners of the Standout Faculty Member award, along with Sanne Rijkhoff, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
ALL IN, a nonpartisan group, engages 977 colleges and universities and over 9 million students, encouraging institutions to promote active and informed citizenship and make voting a core value on their campuses.
The 2022 midterms saw the highest turnout of young voters in 30 years. Dr. Lennahan says it will take a lot of work by candidates and political parties to match that in 2024, in part because of the age of the likely major-party presidential candidates. She said when they look at government officials, Zoomers don’t feel represented.

Dr. Lennahan said she believes “students feel largely disconnected from politics at this point.  Multiple students have expressed that they feel politics are run by ‘old people.’ They don’t see themselves reflected in the make-up of government.  This is certainly concerning as we look ahead to 2024, particularly if we see a Biden-Trump rematch.

President Joe Biden, who turns 81 Monday, is a member of the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945).
Former president and likely GOP candidate Donald Trump barely squeaked under the wire into the Baby Boom (1946-1964). He turns 78 in June.
“Regarding the culture wars,” Dr. Lennahan said, “I’ve gotten the sense that students are confused. For example, I’ve had several students ask me why abortion is such a political issue. They’re much more aware of the culture war issues than they are of the fact that those topics will then be legislated in state houses around the country based on the results of elections.”

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