At the Bernie Sanders' rally in the Bronx, N.Y., on Thursday, 15,000 Americans of all backgrounds came out to show support for the Vermont senator.
Throughout the rally, Sanders, Rosario Dawson, Spike Lee, and Residente all spoke about voter turnout and re-engaging Americans who feel disenfranchised. But this election season, American's political interests go across party lines.
Photo: Isaac Saul
"I've always been a political person but it's definitely more mainstream now than it has been since Obama ran," 26-year-old Jake Friedman, a Cornell graduate, told A Plus.
A Pew research poll backs up Friedman's feeling. It found that in December, 69 percent of Americans said they had watched the presidential debates this fall. That number is way up from the last contested nomination in December of 2007, when only 43 percent said they were watching the debates. Two-thirds (67 percent) describe this presidential campaign as interesting, compared to the 2012 and 2008 campaigns, which were 36 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
Photo: Isaac Saul
"This is kind of like [George] McGovern, the youth, the invigorating feelings, the electric feeling we have," 64-year-old James Giannone said. "I'm proud that my generation at the time helped to bring an end to the Vietnam War, and this is reminiscent of that time and feeling, people coming together."
Although voter turnout means little about which party will win the election, it's not just Sanders drawing huge crowds or engaging voters. About 1.2 million Republican voters came out for the GOP contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, an increase of 24 percent since 2012. Overall, Republican turnout is up more than 50 percent from 2008 and 2012, something Donald Trump has taken credit for.
Regardless of your political standing, one thing is clear: this election seems to mean more to people than elections of recent memory, and that's a good thing for democracy.
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