What Do The Youngest Voters — High Schoolers — Think About Impeachment Inquiry And 2020?

Nov 8, 2019

Many of the youngest eligible voters in the U.S. have yet to graduate high school.

Three high school seniors from Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City —17-year-old Nathaniel Black, 17-year-old Jamie King and 18-year-old Jessica Jones — all say they plan to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

This trio isn’t the only group of high schoolers in the country taking their civic duty to vote seriously.

Voter turnout for people age 18 to 29 was at 36% in the 2018 midterms, up from 20% in 2014.

Jones says she’s considering voting for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

King is the only one of the group considering voting for President Trump, but she’s also considering Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Black likes Gabbard, too, though he’s also considering voting for Julian Castro, former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson chatted with the group to pick their brains about 2020, impeachment, the media and much more.

Interview Highlights

On why Nathaniel Black supports Gabbard

“One of my biggest key points is caring for the environment. And I think that she does a very good job at promoting this idea that we all need to pitch in and help and really just be mindful of our carbon footprint.”


On why Jamie King supports Gabbard

“I watched a few clips from the Democratic debate and she just really stood out to me as very civil and intelligent. While some may be yelling and screaming at her, she will come back with an intelligent fact and also some things about foreign policy, how she handled all of that.”


On what King likes about Trump

“I like that he is really helping our economy. He is a businessman and he has reconfigured many deals like the Canadian pipeline deal. He made sure we were getting a better deal out of that.”


On why Jessica Jones supports Buttigieg

“I’m really interested in his ideas about required military service. I listened to him talk about how he thinks that would impact the greater social issue rather than merely the symptoms of what’s going on right now as for the divisiveness of our society, and I think that’s a really interesting progressive idea.”


On whether Jones thinks Trump should be impeached or removed

“Just for my knowledge as a citizen currently, I think it is absolutely the morally correct thing to do to proceed with impeachment. But I know that it might not be the most strategic option for the Democratic Party. Ultimately, I don’t know that he would be removed in the Senate and that would kind of come off as an exoneration when in fact, I think it really just shows kind of the partisanship and almost overlooking of certain maybe moral obligations.”


On whether Black thinks Trump should be impeached or removed

“When it comes to if he should be impeached. I think it is our responsibility to look into these kinds of things that are happening … If you look at the whistleblower report, there was obviously something that was going down that we as citizens have the right to know, especially considering the fact that after that phone call went down, multiple White House officials and the White House lawyers were doing many different things to cover it up, which raises some eyebrows and questions about it. But when it comes down to the impeachment, itself we as citizens have the right to know what our president is doing and how it’s affecting us on a day to day basis.

“As for his removal, it might be a little too early to determine whether or not he should be removed completely, but hopefully through the political process, we can find out if it is justifiable and complete grounds for removal.”


On whether King thinks Trump should be impeached or removed

“It’s hard to tell right now … because there are so many things coming up right now at this moment. But I do believe that there should be a questioning of him like every other president there should be if something does come up, especially since it is has been hidden, like Nathaniel said, by lawyers. But I don’t know about removal [from] office.”


On whether Black talks a lot about politics

“Honestly, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it’s not discussed nearly as much as it should be, because all of us, not just as students, but people today, we all just take politics at its surface level, whether it’s in the media or what we discuss. And unless we take action and responsibility and actually look into who we’re interested in, what topics matter the most to us, then really nothing’s going to get done as effectively as it could be.”


On where Jones gets her news

“I like to watch a lot of MSNBC, but I also like to consider sources from both sides, because I think it’s a very interesting note to examine the bias. As for the impeachment, I’ve received news from MSNBC, CNN. I really like Business Insider … I’ve even examined Fox News and The Washington Times.”


On where Black gets his news

“When it comes to what I read or where I read it, usually my phone will just send me relevant topics and depending on the topic, it’ll send me to different sources like ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, even BBC. And it really varies. But when it comes to what I want to know, what other people are saying, as surprising as it sounds, I like to look on social media because that is the probably the biggest platform when it comes to communication and how politics affects that today, especially for kids my age.”


On where King gets her news

“I get a lot of my information from CNN and also Fox News and just the plain internet, just surfing through it. If I am really looking into something like the impeachment process right now, I will consider many, many news sources.”

Francesca Paris produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKennaAllison Hagan adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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