By: Audrey Mosdell
The Democratic primary elections are being held this week on Thursday, September 13th. But why is a primary so important?
This election will seemingly decide our governor for the next four years, as the state overwhelming pulls Democratic. Since Bernie Sanders and the 2016 election, politicians have been shaking up the establishment and changing what it really means to be a Democrat. To many young voters, “socialist” does not have the same negative connotations as it does to the older generation. Because of this connotation, there has been a steady influx of highly progressive candidates. Promises of free education, a reformed health care system, greener environmental practices, and stronger support for social programs resonate with many students.
Yet, while some are outspoken either through support for candidates or distain for others, a stigma still lies around Millennials having a very low voter turnout. According to the Pew Research Center based in Washington D.C., there is now a larger group of Millennials eligible to vote than Generation X (age 36-51). Millennials are quickly approaching the same volume of eligibility as Baby Boomers (age 52-70). They have the opportunity to truly change the landscape of the political future and yet allow voting turn out to remain only around 50%, according to Tuft University’s Tisch College. To produce real change, 50% just isn’t going to cut it.
New York Public Interest Research Group is Rallying students on campus to vote. Member Jehan Miah describes the primary as “the battle among the Democratic Party.” He believes that his generation has the power to change what Democrat means in New York. This change of heart was already seen as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset the incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley in the 14th Congressional district this past June. Cortez, who is part of the Democratic Socialist Party could be the sign that change to the Democratic Party is already here.
This Thursday, Democratic candidate Cynthia Nixon is looking to upset centrist and establishment candidate Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor. Nixon has been described as a much more progressive and left leaning candidate compared to her opponent. Most of her platform is centered around New York City as she plans to fix the MTA and promises free education in all CUNY and SUNY schools regardless of financial need. Cuomo has long been haunted by the MTA as Mayor de Blasio demands assistance from the state. Governor Cuomo claims the subway to be a city problem, but the Mayor and Nixon are not so sure. Nixon’s plan of free college education is the same message Bernie Sanders promised to the United States in 2016 that got a lot of students on board with his campaign.
Most critics of both the subway repairs and free tuition promises claim that these plans are very expensive, which is true. A lot of money is required to carry out these promises, and both Nixon and de Blasio believe a “millionaires’ tax” is the answer. This solution challenges Cuomo as he is not for the millionaires’ tax and consistently pulls funding away from both the MTA and public education.
“Right now is the time for change to happen,” says Jaclyn Williams, a fellow NYPIRG member. “City college embodies diversity, low income, black, and DACA.” This diversity provides reason for CCNY students to have their voices heard this Thursday. Now more than ever Millennials need to prove to older generations wrong and show them that they are a force to be reckoned with.