Accessibility links

Breaking News
VOA Direct Packages


[[Americans are about to hold a national election to determine control of the US Congress for the next two years. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are at stake, along with one-third of the 100 member U.S. Senate. Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of Congress. If Democrats can win a majority in either chamber, it would become more difficult for President Donald Trump and his Republican party to pass their conservative legislative agenda.

Democrats are counting on new voters to help them tip the balance in Congress. And Pew Research projects millennials are about to overtake baby-boomers as America's largest "generation." But will they vote? Only about half the eligible millennials voted in the 2016 presidential election.

VOA's Esha Sarai ((pronounced: suh-RYE)) went to Houston, Texas where a couple of mid-40-year-old Senate candidates are battling for the votes of the young.]]

Across Texas, Beto O’Rourke is mobilizing voters - particularly young voters - in his bid for Senate.

“I would never ask any young person to vote for anyone if no one has shown up to ask what’s on their mind, what’s important to them, to hear about the most important issues in this country from their perspective”

Millennials comprise a large number of his volunteers, from handlers to local organizers, who say they feel he is listening to their concerns.

“The concerns that the youth have that he’s actually listening to. For me, being part of the LGBT community, that’s something huge as well.”

“I think not taking PAC, not taking corporate, money is really appealing to people because I think a lot of people my age feel like we don’t have much of a voice, and that’s partly because politicians are listening to corporate interests more than us.”

((Natpop, Beto O’Rourke speaking to a rally “We don’t take any money from any Political Action Committee or special interest or corporation...))

Young Republicans are also mobilized, rallying support behind incumbent Senator Ted Cruz.

“I remember back in 2014, the first time I met him, he came to my high school and he gave a talk to my high school, and I don’t know, he just felt like a really real guy, you know?”

“The main thing is the commitment to the Constitution. I’ve admired Ted Cruz for that reason.”

Cruz says that his commitment to liberty, in particular, draws young people to his campaign.

“I’ll tell you when I speak with young people – and I speak with a lot of high school kids and college kids and young professionals, I encourage them two things – I say number one, defend liberty. Liberty is powerful, it’s contagious. Young people want to be free... young people want to be inspired, young people care about freedom, young people want to be part of a fight that matters. And in Texas, we’re fighting to keep the vibrant economy, the jobs, the opportunity.”

Whether they are Republicans or Democrats, one thing everyone can agree on is the importance of getting a younger generation politically active and voting.

((Esha Sarai, VOA News, Houston))


[[While only about half of eligible millennial voters actually voted in 2016, that number is expected to drop significantly this year. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake predicts more than half of the 2016 millennial voters will stay home on November 6.]]