As a freshman in high school, just getting into politics, I found myself sympathizing with so-called liberal ideas frequently, While trying to gush to my father about my newfound liberal views, my father, himself a moderate liberal, shook his head at my extreme views and said, “Well, when you’re young, you’re liberal. It means you have a heart. When you’re not conservative if you’re old though, you’re dumb.”
My father’s statement turns out to be a version of a quote, sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill. In the United States, it’s commonly accepted that young people are almost always going to vote with the Democratic Party—they tend to believe in the ability of government to do good things for people, and they tend to be socially liberal.
As I spent my high school years in Austin, Texas, however, I found myself inching closer and closer to libertarianism, that ideology that seems to never be taken seriously. “So you don’t want any government at all???”
Not quite. Texas is a bastion of conservatism—small government all the way, in economic matters at least. But the state is quite a bit more socially conservative than California, where I’ve also lived (San Jose, to specific, where almost three-quarters of voters voted for Obama in 2012).
So I’ve found that my views have become more economically conservative than the stereotypical Democrat, but my social views are quite liberal. And I am not the only one—apparently an entire generation of young voters does not fit comfortably within the Democratic Party or Republican Party.
In 2008, Obama received 66 percent of young voters’ votes, with some promises that appealed to their libertarian nature—he promised to reduce Americans’ interventions overseas, by downscaling the war efforts in Afghanistan and withdrawing out of Iraq, he promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay, he promised to protect women’s rights to choose. By 2012, he only received forty-six percent of the youth vote.
The young vote was taken for granted as a safe demographic for the Democrats. However, Obama’s defining legislation, Obamacare, is now under siege not only for the failure of Healthcare.gov, but for the lack of young people signing up for healthcare— a critical component for the legislation to work. Young people’s premiums would contribute to lowering costs for other people since most of the time, young people do not suffer from health problems.
However, a growing skepticism of government has crippled registration for Obamacare among young people. Fifty-six percent of young voters do not like the law, even when it’s called by its more appealing name, the Affordable Care Act.  Over half of these voters expected Obamacare to raise costs.
This skepticism of the federal government with regards to health care is a serious warning to both sides of the aisle. Democrats have to see that government is not the solution now for the youth vote (who will inevitably age into older voters) and Republicans have to see that an entire generation is slipping away from them in terms of social issues.
The parties may begin a monumental shift in ideology, based on voters on today’s college campuses.