Aspiration & Struggle
Brigade Media: Empowering Young Voters
One of the biggest issues with the political process in the United States is low voter turnout, especially among young people. During the 2014 midterm elections, voter turnout among Millennials—who make up 13 percent of the electorate—was at 21.3 percent. If this generation increased its voter turnout rates, Millennials could easily affect the results of an election.
In an attempt to turn the lack of civic engagement around and garner enthusiastic commitment from young voters on the issues that matter most to them, Napster co-founder Sean Parker announced the launching of Brigade Media.
From Apathy to Active Involvement
While it is unclear what Brigade Media’s methods will actually be for boosting voter turnout, technology will clearly be a driving force behind it. The sleek design of Brigade’s website shows this alongside the creative team behind it. Mobile technology has added a level of convenience for everything from fitness to transportation. So why can’t technology cure the apathy that has afflicted this country’s young voters?
“Brigade is for expressing yourself, learning about your friends, and finding common ground—together,” Brigade’s About page states. “It’s for making sure your voice is heard, and your actions are meaningful. Together we’re going to restore you, the voter, to the center of our democracy.”
This bold claim provides no specifics, but if anyone can make it happen, it’s probably a tech leader like Parker, who was also Facebook’s first president. Parker isn’t the only name leading the way with Brigade, supporting this team are inspiring partnerships with groups such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Rainforest Action network (RAN), and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).
Changing the Future of Politics
Having technology that can empower voters seems long overdue, since technology in general has long been a part of the campaign process. It was used in full force during the 2012 presidential campaign to target voters. Many believe that problems with a computerized network of voter data hurt Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s results with certain demographics. President Obama’s tech platform, meanwhile, provided continuously updated data for key states.
Technology may be the key to a strong turnout at the polls for Millennials, and their presence is crucial. Many hotly debated issues directly affect Millennials: student loan debt, climate change, LGBT rights, and unemployment. Getting Millennials excited and engaged about the various issues, and subsequently getting them to the voting polls, could have a huge effect on the next presidential election—and on the future of politics itself.