The Chronicle’s View: Dude, where’s my vote?

It’s official now-no amount of spin can change the fact that President Bush is once again the leader of America. For the next four years, the United States will look to Bush and his cabinet for everything from domestic economic policy to international alliances.

In a race that was at once as divisive as it was passionate, Bush took a clear majority of electorate votes in his fight for the White House. With Ohio going in his favor, Bush claimed victory without much real dissent-save that of Democrats who clung to their last inklings of hope in the form of Ohio’s ultimately insufficient provision votes.

Utah, as is historically the case, gave its electoral votes to Bush and the Republican Party. Few, if any, analysts were surprised by our state’s move.

What was slightly more surprising than Utah’s traditional vote is the number of voters who turned out to deliver it, in particular, younger voters between the ages of 18 and 25 who turned out in record numbers in Utah.

As a result of a combination of the youth vote and the rest of the Utah electorate, our votes ushered Bush into Washington D.C. with the greatest margin of acceptance in the nation-71 percent.

In other words, Utah, as opposed to the rest of the nation, actually came through on the promise of the youth vote-younger Utahans came out in record numbers.

The rest of the nation’s youth vote, however, didn’t.

Despite the highly publicized “Vote or Die,” “Rock the Vote” and “Rock Against Bush,” voter registration campaigns, the 18 to 25-year-old vote didn’t turn out in any greater number than it had in its dismal past.

Across the nation, 20-somethings, despite their vocal and seemingly impassioned statements of purpose, once again displayed the apathy that has rendered the demographic more or less arbitrary in terms of political sway. While the potential for a great difference was there, the youth vote didn’t take advantage of it by getting out and voting.

This leaves Utah in a unique position among other American states. Whether or not you personally agree with the decision to elect Bush to another four years in office, Utah, unlike other close-call states like Ohio and even Florida, cannot be said to be undecided in terms of which candidate we endorsed. And, unlike other potentially well-intentioned states, the youth vote in Utah is to be applauded as opposed to criticized for its turnout.

So what is to be said of the rest of the apathetic youth vote in America? Ultimately, nothing more than that if younger voters continue to exhibit little more than loud voices and an unwillingness to capitalize on intentions.

The youth in America have no position to criticize or complain about the state of modern American politics.

Until youth voters, who stood to be more affected by policy implementations than perhaps any other demographic in 2004, don’t allow any empirical evidence of their desire to illicit change, they cannot be dissatisfied with the status quo. It takes an actual effort to make things better and regardless of the way the Presidential election went, the youth vote did not prove itself a valuable one.

Good job Utah, better luck next time 18 to 25-year-olds nationwide.