Tags: Education | Financial Markets | Money | Voting Rights | debt | messaging | texting

Half of Millennials Would Trade Voting For Student Loan Forgiveness

Image: Half of Millennials Would Trade Voting For Student Loan Forgiveness
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, center, speaks in support of a plan to reduce student loan debt in California, on March 13, 2017, in Sacramento, California. The plan would expand financial aid for students at public colleges and universities in the state. (Sophia Bollag/AP)

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Thursday, 21 September 2017 10:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If they could have their student loan debt forgiven, 50 percent of millennials say they would give up their right to vote in the next two presidential elections.[1]

Credible, the financial services firm conducting the survey, called this result "staggering." Young adults claim they are more willing to give up their right to vote than to give up ridesharing services or travel outside the U.S. They are twice as likely to give up voting rather than move back in with their parents. While half would give up voting, just 13 percent would give up texting or messaging.

Given the low levels of voter turnout for young adults, this result is not all that surprising. Rather than being "staggering," these results show that young adults clearly recognize that voting is important, but "it is not as powerful a tool as the rhetoric claims." [2]

In an influential book — "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty" — economist Albert Hirschman noted that people can exercise influence in more ways than voting. Specifically, they can use the power of exit (voting with their feet).

But political scientists and politicians only want to talk about the power of the vote. In fact, the power to walk away "has often been branded as criminal, for it has been labeled desertion, defection, and treason." [3] Hirschman rejects that description.

Politicians may want to ignore or demonize this form of empowerment, but it’s a core part of our national heritage. Hirschman reminds us that "the United States owes its very existence and growth to millions of decisions favoring exit over voice." [3] It began with fleeing religious persecution in England. The power of the vote wasn’t enough for them. It has continued for centuries with people exiting oppression and seeking freedom.

Empowerment comes from freedom, not democracy.

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now

Footnotes:

  1. Credible, "Survey Reveals What Millennials Would Rather Deal With Than Paying Student Loans," September 13, 2017
  2. Rasmussen, S. (2017). Politics Has Failed: America Will Not. Salt Lake City, UT: Sutherland Institute.
  3. Hirschman, A. (1970). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Harvard University Press.

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Young adults claim they are more willing to give up voting than to give up ridesharing services or travel outside the U.S. They are twice as likely to give up voting rather than move back in with their parents. While half would give up voting, just 13 percent would give up texting or messaging.
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Thursday, 21 September 2017 10:51 AM
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