Jasmine Knox, Staff Writer


The debate on separation between church and state has long been a heated one in our country, and in the wake of Kentucky clerk of court Kim Davis’s scandal regarding same sex marriage, it has again been brought to the forefront of American minds.

The age group of those most likely to vote in the next presidential election is 35 to 65, according to a U.S. News. However, due to the rise in social media use, the number of millennials heading out to the polls is also increasing, slowly but surely.

However, recent studies show that age is among the least influential factors when it comes to voting records. Religion, among other demographics, proved to be the most influential.

While atheistic and agnostic views are becoming increasingly prevalent (according to a study conducted by Pew, approximately 20 percent of Americans under age 30 in 2012), especially among today’s “millennials,” evidence proves that religious beliefs still hold lots of influence over American voters.

For example, according to that same Pew study, approximately 72 percent of all registered White Protestant voters voted for Republican candidates in the 2014 race to Congress. This is likely attributed to the fact that Republican views on specific issues, such as immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage align with the core ideals of this specific religious group.

But what does this all mean? It means that some voters are voting (or not voting) for candidates just because of their own religious beliefs.

During the 2012 elections, Mitt Romney came under intense scrutiny simply because of his Mormon religious beliefs. Whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney were your personal choice for president, it is safe to say that Mitt Romney’s campaign and ideals should not have been completely disregarded by some simply because he was a Mormon and not a Christian.

Gender is proving to be another influential deciding factor for many. In a survey conducted by Campus Reform on an unnamed college campus, a majority of students indicated that they were indeed in support of candidate Hillary Clinton for president. However, when they were further questioned as to what specifically pushed them to support her, a vast majority of the responses ranged from “because she’s a woman, so diversity,” to “to be honest, because she’s a female,” and “because it’s time we have a female president.”

It’s common knowledge among our millennial generation that the Internet can be an all-too-honest place. With regards to issues like sexism, it appears to become completely hostile and divided. YouTube videos of Hillary Clinton’s speeches over the years are plagued with sexist and misogynistic comments, berating her outfits, appearance, marriage and mocking her “shrewdness.”

Whether or not you choose to vote for Hillary Clinton, the decision should not be made for the sole reason that she is a woman.

In conclusion, one thing almost every American voter can agree on is the need for change in our government and country, above all else. And the only way to get there is to take advantage of your right, privilege, and duty as an American to vote.

Our generation is revolutionary in our desire to think critically, our sense of collaboration, our ambition, tolerance, love, sense and desire for justice, and above all else, our ABILITY to create that change we so desperately want and need. We need to take advantage of it and take it seriously. So get out there and vote for Hillary if you believe in her foreign policy, not just because she’s a woman. Vote for Bernie Sanders if you believe in his plan to eliminate student debt, not just because he’s Jewish. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.