Why Politics Should Matter to You

The midterm elections were historic for countless reasons. A record amount of women were elected into Congress, the first openly gay man was elected Governor of Colorado, and more ethnicities, religions and races are being represented in Congress than ever before.

Many of these victories were due to another historic feature of the midterms: roughly 31 percent of young voters (ages 18-29) turned out to vote in the midterm elections. CIRCLE estimates that this midterm youth turnout is the highest its been in at least 25 years.

Yet, despite this historic turnout by voters in a typical college age range, many West Virginia students I talked to before the election made it clear that they had no interest in voting. The majority of students attributed this to the fact that they didn’t have an interest in politics, or didn’t believe that their vote would make a difference.

Politics has become increasingly more polarized over the past few years, and this has undoubtedly driven away some people. However, our current state of affairs doesn’t change the foundation of democracy: that it applies to everyone and includes everyone.

I promise you, almost everything you encounter on a daily basis is influenced by politics in one way or another. It affects things as small as the price of your coffee in the morning, or as big as the price of your tuition each year. Even road conditions are influenced by our government, and all of us in Morgantown know how important road conditions are.

So the next time you complain about how many potholes you hit on the way to campus, remember that our government can change that. One politician may be campaigning to fix our roads, or promoting another issue you have an interest in. Your vote towards that candidate is one more vote than they would have had before, one vote that may affect many aspects of your life.

Politics is not just about confusing policies and large-scale projects, it’s about the small things as well. Pay attention to policies certain politicians are pushing and use your vote to help improve your life, as well as thousands of other’s lives. Every single vote counts.