In early November, we asked our Youth Advisory Board how the 2020 election cycle was affecting their mental health, who their dream president would be, and the impact that social media played in getting them through this historic election. Here’s what they had to say:
Stress Levels and Election 2020
Election 2020 was incredibly stressful for the members of our Youth Advisory Board. Every single member reported feeling either “Stressed” or “Very Stressed” about the election and its results.
“Given the current turmoil of the world, this election was a nail-biter in my household. This past year, especially, has felt surreal, and there was a lingering fear each night when no result was announced that this chaos would continue and worsen for four more years. I think the aspect that made this cycle so stressful was how close the swing states appeared to be each day and how long it took for the media to announce a winner.” – Rhea
“The 2020 Presidential Election had a lot of issues at stake, including issues ranging from addressing Covid-19, the economy, climate change, and many more. It is not only electing our president; it is about how government policies will be implemented in making a change in our country.” – Angela
“I am a member of the LGBTQIAP+ community and a woman so this election cycle was very stressful for me because my basic human rights were on the line.” – Ella
“I was very stressed out during the 2020 election cycle because I did not believe my preferred candidate would win the electoral college. I am also currently working for a journalism organization that doesn’t allow me to express my political views on social media or canvass/donate/rally for a particular candidate or party. This made me feel extremely powerless, but as I deeply enjoy politics, I still wanted to watch the debates and track the polls and results. These two clashing factors were difficult for me to grapple with throughout the course of the election.” – Clara
Social Media and Election 2020
Social media acted as a significant source of information and support for our Youth Advisory Board. TikTok and Instagram really helped young people, particularly those who couldn’t express their opinions through a vote, have a voice. But, at the same time, social media also heightened already high stress levels and served as an echo chamber of ideas and politics and–at times–contentiousness.
“Social media was actually to my surprise a very informational way to find out information about each candidate and this election. I found it very helpful. Like everything in life there were some cons to social media including bullying because of disagreement, but I found that if you focused on the right things it was very useful. ” – Mila
“After the election went to Biden, I felt like Instagram and TikTok had exploded! There were so many positive things and it made me look forward, even more than I was, to January 20th.” – Addison
“Being on Instagram and TikTok put even more emphasis on how important this election is and actually gave me false hope about how the election would play out as most of the younger generations that are on social media are liberal. So, I originally thought that Trump had no chance of winning.” – Priscilla
“Social media was uplifting but it was also not always the best because it felt like I was constantly scrolling through a left wing algorithm, which could have given me a false sense of either hope or sadness.” – Aanya
“Social media definitely made the whole situation extremely stressful. Both sides bombarded the platforms with their personal views, and they would not allow any neutral opinions on any topics.” – Hayden
“Social media definitely made the election more stressful, as it had so many people using it to worry about the election and post updates. However, social media also made me feel connected to my friends. We are all in this together and that was really reflected on social media.” – Ria
What Political Issues Does YAB Care About Most?
According to our YAB, young people care the most about ensuring that everyone has equal rights and treatment under the law.
“I care mostly about human rights, which should not even be included in politics because it is someone’s life.” – Zoë
“As of right now, I care the most about COVID-19. Besides that, I am very passionate about climate change, the environment, and Black Lives Matter. I see the most about COVID-19 on social media.” – Eden
“BLM, LGBTQIAP+ rights, abortion rights, anti-semitism, basically we want that everyone be given basic human rights.” – Ella
Who Would Your Dream President – Vice President Picks Be?
We ended things on a fun note, asking our YAB who would be on their dream presidential ticket. AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Michelle Obama were just a few favorites to serve in the highest offices of the United States.
“I would pick Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be the President and Ilhan Omar to be Vice President.” – Zoë
“I don’t have a specific person in mind thats either real or fictional, but if anything, my dream pick would be a woman of color, or another person of color whether they’re nonbinary, gender nonconforming, trans, etc. Just because I feel like the standard of presidency has only included men and white people. I want other people who don’t fit that description to feel like the idea of being president or vice president is feasible because I think people of color and people of different genders have valuable ideas and values.” – Amaiya
“Michelle Obama for president!” – Megan
“If I could choose one person to be president, I would choose myself. I know that in my heart I can see where others are coming form when they present me with their ideas and beliefs and I feel like that is a very important trait to have when you are vice president.” – Mila
“I would probably choose Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the president and Ilhan Omar as the VP because they are younger, women of color and they have progressive view that I agree with. It would be really cool if we had women of color as the POTUS and the VP.” – Adyra