Have Young Urbanites Lost the Election?

For young people in the largest cities, Tuesday’s election results have been at a devastating conflict with their political beliefs and their personal vote.

The night after the election was called and Donald Trump was announced the president elect of the United States, sizeable protests took place in Seattle, Portland, New York, Los Angeles and various other city centres. In New York City, several thousand people marched the ca. 2.3 miles from Union Square to Trump Tower, locking down traffic and causing gasping tourists in the sightseeing buses stuck amidst the mass of people flooding 5th Avenue to broadcast their experience via overloaded phone signals.

In New York City, several thousand people marched from Union Square to Trump Tower, locking down traffic

According to a map which has been circulated on social media, young voters would have turned the entire nation blue, which is not entirely true. However, the map – which is based on a survey of 30,000 participants conducted pre-election, in October – still reflects a general trend, which shows that young voters overwhelmingly decided against Donald Trump, according to a CNN report. The age group of 18-29 gave their largest amount of votes to Hillary Clinton as well as to third party candidates and write-ins.

"not my president" post election rally 11/9/2016 by mitchell haindfield (Flickr Creative Commons)

“not my president” post election rally 11/9/2016 by mitchell haindfield (Flickr Creative Commons)

Yet, it is not only the outcome of the presidential election, which matters to young people. In the area surrounding Columbia University in NYC, many students chose to vote through absentee ballots, to assure that their voice will be heard when it comes regional propositions and congressional votes. Jacquelin King (21) voted in her home state of California despite going to school at Columbia University in New York City. “For me, it’s just that I grew up in California and in some ways I feel more connected to the energy of that place. And there’s also some propositions that I was interested in voting on,” King says.

Both for herself and her parents, who immigrated from Mexico, voting Democrat in a majority Republican state is a point of pride

Especially for young people who move from one blue state to another, propositions are a way to make an impact, even if their vote will not make a difference in the presidential election. Other choose to vote, despite knowing that their vote most likely won’t change their states’ overall outcome towards the party of their favor. Christine Castano (37), graduate student at Columbia University voted in Texas, which is a traditionally red state. Both for herself and her parents, who immigrated from Mexico, voting Democrat in a majority Republican state is a point of pride. “I want to show that not all of Texas is conservative. There’s some good people here to,” says Castano.

I spoke to Castano before the election and met her again at the protest march towards Trump Tower. Like many, she does not consider Donald Trump her president. However, she and many others who took to the streets of at least 25 cities across the U.S. are determined to make their voice heard.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Reilly (Flickr Creative Commons)

Alena Maschke is a student at Columbia School of Journalism. She left Berlin for New York City, but is tempted to move back to Europe for her love of good, cheap wine. For now, she enjoys Modelo Cheladas from the bodega and her boyfriend's homemade spaghetti bolognese.
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