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Grayson Massey: Not all young voters are attracted to socialism

Grayson Massey

Personally, I’m astonished. Astonished at how quickly people label a generation they don’t fully understand and are so quick to stereotype.

As a young professional, recently graduated and starting my career, I find it disheartening when individuals claim they know what’s best for me and my peers, when they don’t have our interests at heart. They have the audacity to tell us who and what we are, when in reality, their perception is skewed by a small but vocal part of my generation.

It’s true that some in my generation are so frustrated with the skyrocketing costs of higher education and the lack of transparency in government that they’re starting to buy into the socialist ideals they’re being sold, but the majority of us are not falling for that rhetoric. Neither should you.

More than anything, my peers and I are just trying to earn what many Americans have earned before us, a quality education, a successful family/career and our own piece of the American dream. We’ve been labeled as things the majority of us are not. That stops now.

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In a new study from Tufts University, it was found that, in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, college students turned out to vote at double the rate from the last midterm. Across the campuses studied, the average voting participation rate in 2018 was 39.1%. The study also saw that while older Americans historically vote at higher rates than younger citizens, the data showed a trend towards age parity.

The turnout gap between students over 30 and those under 22 dropped from 22.3 percentage points to 16.9 points. This shows a turnout rate of students at some of the highest levels of participation in over 100 years. Perhaps we’ll see even higher turnout in the next election.

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Utah has the youngest demographic in the nation. We are ready to show that our involvement in the 2020 election will not be taken for granted. My generation in Utah wants a conservative and principled alternative to the socialist and unreasonably progressive policies we’re being sold at the national level. I see it seeping more and more into our state and local politics and in extension our laws and policies. I’m worried that if we don’t act now, it won’t be long until our amazing state is influenced and ultimately overwhelmed with these ideas.

A few months ago, through a chance meeting, I met an entrepreneur named Jeff Burningham. It was a brief handshake and hello, we both chatted for a moment about what we did professionally and we were then ushered away to our respective seats. Several weeks later, I was again invited to meet Jeff, this time more formally at an event hosted by a close friend.

It wasn’t his youthful energy, motivation, professional success and charm that won me over (admirable qualities all) but the fact that he, a candidate for governor and a well-established entrepreneur, remembered me by my name personally. Further, the principled and conservative policies he has set forth not only align with my values, but are what many of my generation are looking for in our elected leaders.

He seemed to genuinely understand issues my peers and I are concerned about. That night as we chatted, he trusted us from the start instead of assuming he knew what was best for our future, he listened. He learned. As I heard more about his life, I wanted to understand more about him.

Like the majority of my peers, I’m unsure of what the future holds. We’re worried about the rising housing prices and increases in the cost of living. The rising costs and subsidization of higher education, along with the environment and the quality of career and job prospects are also a growing concern.

We need someone with a knack for finding solutions to complex problems and who can provide answers outside of just getting government more involved. Previous years of growth and prosperity will not continue without smart, confident and measured approaches from a leader like Jeff.

I hope that more students in our state will stand up and make sure that their voices are heard. It’s time for us to do the right things right now. It’s time for us to make sure that the future we want is no longer controlled by those who seem to think they know what’s best for us. They don’t.

I want to make sure that while we progress towards the future, we are maintaining our prosperous way of life. I want the rest of the world to know that Utah is capable of leading the way and is the modern model of conservatism.

It is never “unpopular” to be a conservative, as long as you have the right policies and the right leader bold enough to execute them. It’s time to do the right things, right now.

Grayson Massey is a recent graduate of Westminster College and a current master’s student at the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business. He works professionally for a real estate private equity firm in Salt Lake City and is the former state chairman for the Utah College Republicans.

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