Student voters must pay attention to campaigns to ensure they can trust, relate to candidates

More than half the country’s registered voters pay only some attention to the campaigning efforts of either Gov. Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama, according to a CBS poll. Even fewer to senatorial or local elections.

In two months, the country will have spoken, choosing either the incumbent or a new face.

During this crucial time, candidates need every vote they can get, even from college students. However, the nominees’ efforts seem almost invisible to several campuses, except for the few in swing states. Of course, inevitably, most college students will remain apathetic to the entire election no matter a candidate’s efforts, but some of us do care. And we want information presented in our language.

We do want honesty. We want to know what you are going to do, not what the other candidate is doing poorly. We need to figure out who we will entrust this country to for another four years.

In terms of our language, Obama’s appearance on Reddit last Friday was a step in the right direction. We were able to relate to a man who has an incredible amount of power. As one commenter wrote, “ONE OF US. ONE OF US.” It may seem like a step below the presidency, but appearing live on social media is how you get our attention.

Part of what makes a candidate attractive to a population that may tend to think more with its emotions than its thoughts is relatability. At both national conventions, the wives of Obama and Romney talked about their husbands in their youth. If we can’t relate to or trust our candidates, how can we trust that we will have a health care system that’s best for us, an economy that will get us a job after graduation, or costs of education that will be low enough to keep us off food stamps?

While these campaign strategies do seem effective, they may only be so in the short run. We need to see these type of conversations repeated with appearances on late night TV, presence on social media or images of the candidates doing what Americans do — attending basketball games, walking their dog or vacationing on a Florida beach. We want to see what they are like outside of their job.

However, they are filling two important roles, and we need to know how they will succeed in both. The president needs to be both the face of the country and the ultimate decision maker. As college students, we must know how he will fix college tuition and unemployment — the issues that matter to us. Otherwise, the 18- to 29-year-old demographic won’t vote.

We need to know the facts. The negative ads tell us nothing. It is a back-and-forth fight that does not benefit anyone. It is a petty, dishonest disservice to our level of intelligence. Bashing each other is not the solution we need. We need to know decisively what you’re going to do to put this country right, not news clippings taken out of context in a dramatic political commercial.

This information goes to all candidates for all elections that will happen Nov. 6. If you want the younger generation to vote, then you need to give us a reason to choose you. Stop the negative attitude and provide us with the information we deserve to know. With every bit of truth attached to it.