College Students at Home: No One is Talking About This Could Be Game Changer

I listen to talking heads. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I want to throw the remote at the TV. I have not heard anyone weigh in on this topic from this angle.

Many colleges will be on-line this Fall, either completely on-line or optional on-line. This means that more students, whatever the number, will be home in November on Election Day. Since I was in college and wrote about the engagement of college students in presidential elections, college students have disappointed at the ballot box.

When Bobby Kennedy was running they were dubbed the “peanut butter generation”. Organizers would promise and deliver peanut butter sandwiches and college students would show up in droves to campaign. But they didn’t vote.

Fast forward decades and go to “The Bern”. Students loved Bernie and showed up at rallies but they did not show up to vote. And then comes the pandemic.

This is what NO ONE is talking about: if more students will be home rather than in dorm rooms 200 to 2000 miles from home, will they vote in higher numbers?

As engaged as students may be, they are not always the most forward thinkers when it comes to planning. Whether it is planning ahead to vote by absentee or planning on getting home to vote in person, it takes planning.

So what if the students are already at home? How will this affect voting? Millions of students may be in college on-line from their laptop, and no one is talking about the difference this could make.

Our current “peanut butter generation” breaks largely Democratic. If large numbers are ensconced in their childhood bedroom, will they be more enticed to vote than their predecessors have for decades?


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