By Victoria Bermudez
Lower Merion High
As the 2020 presidential election nears, young voters are among those concerned about who will prevail. The Democratic candidate field challenging President Donald Trump was larger this year than in 2016. Each candidate has young supporters and the significance of these young voters, including those who recently turned 18, and their perceptions toward the candidates could sway the election.
At Lower Merion High School, about 72 percent of the 76 juniors and seniors who responded to a presidential election survey in February said they affiliate with the Democratic Party.
The new voters surveyed, who are all around the age of 18, weren’t able to vote in the 2016 presidential election, so their views on the larger issues that the election touches on will be able to be included this November.
In the February survey, 35 percent, or 27 students, said they would vote for Bernie Sanders, 15 percent for Michael Bloomberg, 13 percent for Elizabeth Warren, 8 percent for Pete Buttigieg, and 5 percent for Joe Biden.
Possibilities for the Democratic nomination have narrowed since February, following the exits of Buttigieg, Bloomberg, and Warren. Buttigieg’s and Bloomberg’s endorsements of Biden could lead their supporters to back the former vice president.
Many Lower Merion students said their reason for selecting Sanders dealt with opposition to Trump. Sanders stands as a democratic socialist who believes in creating a Medicare for All health plan. He also plans to raise the minimum wage, which also attracts the youth vote.
Lower Merion senior Ethan Schatz said that he would be voting for Bernie Sanders.
“I agree with his policies, stances on universal health care, his understanding of economics in America, and his fight against billionaires, which we have not seen in politics in a while,” he said. He said that he “would never vote for Trump.”
Schatz prefers Sanders’ Medicare For All healthcare plan, “because the private health care directly hurts people with low income, which is disproportionately people of color, and will just perpetuate America’s long history of capitalistic laws hurting minorities.”
Schatz’s classmate, senior Genevieve Blumencwejg, also prefers Sanders.
“He wants to get rid of the death penalty, which is [a] strong belief of mine,” she said.
Joining older high school students in voting for the first time are many college students.
Samuel Landino, a junior at Yale University, said that he supported Buttigieg.
“I know that he’s incredibly competent, and that he has a long history in both public and private sector service,” Landino said. “Frankly, his policy about Medicare For All Who Want It is very appealing to me.”
Buttigeig has since dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden, so Landino said he will vote for the former vice president.