As a member of the Sandwiched Generation, are you feeling left out by the pollsters covering the Presidential primaries? We’re hearing more and more about the importance of the youth vote to the candidates but not much about the value of the Baby Boomer electorate. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are each presenting themselves as the most relevant choice for the first-time voter; John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are appearing on college campuses in an attempt to win over the youth of the country.
But the reality is that in the 2004 Presidential election, Americans over the age of 55 comprised more than 35% of the voters whereas those under the age of 25 made up less than 10%. And in the off-year 2006 elections, a whopping 52% of all voters were over 50. Older voters in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arizona and Nevada make up a greater percentage of the population than the national average – their choices this year will have significant effects.
So what can you do to focus the attention of the pundits and proclaim your relevance in this election? Use your voice to raise the awareness of the media to your power. Educate yourself about the issues that are important to you and the candidates’ positions on them. Recognize that the problems you face as a Sandwiched Boomer, caring for your aging parents and growing children, are not unique to you but rather are typical of your group. Advocate for solutions. Check out www.dividedwefail.org, an AARP-based nonpartisan website encouraging the midlife electorate to become involved and knowledgeable. Then get out there and demand action.