Millennials Worried About America’s Future, Harvard Says

International students watch the third presidential debate
Kathleen Struck
International students watch the third presidential debate

Young American adults have a bleak view of the election and the future of politics in the United States.

And international students feel much the same way.

Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) released a poll of 2,150 citizens of the United States who are 18- to 29-years-old. The biggest finding was that young Americans are 51 percent more fearful about the future of the country.

What is the source of this fear?

“Lack of faith in Washington to solve challenges of financial, personal, and national security,” the poll stated.

International students in the United States say they feel the anxiety.

“I think this election is really good for highlighting how, in a lot of ways, how pessimistic, disenfranchised, or disenchanted a lot of the American people are with the political system,” said Alaura Hulewicz, from the University of Alberta in Canada, after the final debate between candidates for U.S. president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

That sentiment about America has grown beyond U.S. borders.

Jana Goyvaerts, from KA Keerbergen in Belgium, told Student Union after the second presidential debate that “especially for me a foreigner, it was weird for me to watch it [the debate] and think of it that this was the actual presidential debate leading up to the election of the President of the United States, which is one of the most important people of the world . . .  and it’s crazy that Trump is a real candidate.”

Clara Nogueira, a student of Faculdade de Direito da UFBA in Brazil who is currently studying in the U.S., said she felt “horrified,” when Trump said he would not accept the outcome of the election.

“He doesn’t trust democratic institutions,” Nogueira said.

Newly naturalized English and Ugandan-American citizen Amanda Lugg is a first-time voter, and she told Voice of America  her feelings about the election, comparing it to the Brexit earlier this year.

“The disparity in this country between the haves and the have-nots has just grown wider and wider, and with that breeds, breeds so much animosity and fear and results in something like we’re seeing in, in the U.K. right now.”

There appears to be a silver lining, however, to the negativity and worry about what this election means for the nation.

“What we’ve seen among the most fearful of Americans, we see that by a margin of 2-1, they are more likely to vote in a general election, more likely to vote in a primary, and more likely to follow the news,” said John Della Volpe, polling director of the Harvard Institute of Politics.

Volpe said that Millennials “want to be united” and are willing to do their part if they are inspired and engaged.

International students saw some silver linings, too. Watch the video below to find out where they think America is going. And let us know what you think, too!

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Brittney Welch

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