– Black lives matter, shouts Joy Harrold, who skates away in the middle of the rolling demonstration train through San Jose, California.
The response to the call is not long in coming and soon the more than 200 protesters will shout “Black lives matter” in chorus.
Many of them have slogans such as “Defund the police” and “Repairs for slavery now!” inked on t-shirts and cardboard posters. In other words, there is no shortage of political enthusiasm, but when it comes to the impending presidential election, the rolling horde is not as united.
– I supported Bernie during the primary elections. He had a progressive agenda that both I and my friends enjoyed. It was repulsive to see how the center-right candidates rallied against him for Biden to win, says roller skating demonstrator Amanda Trippler during a breather at a traffic light.
She herself will vote for Biden in November, but she emphasizes that there is a choice between two evils.
– Many in my generation will not vote for Biden. Many will not vote at all. They are waiting for a democratic candidate who wants to abolish the police and create a more just society. And I fully understand that, she says.
This year’s presidential election is in many ways a watershed in American election history.
For decades, the so-called baby boomers have dominated American politics. The generation – born between 1946 and 1964 – has fostered Presidents Bill Clinton, George W.Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump and has been the largest electorate in every presidential election since 1980.
But this year, they are likely to be passed down by the so-called millennial generation, who were born between 1981 and 1996.
The millennial generation differs from the baby boomers and previous generations in a number of areas. Among other things, they are more ethnically diverse and higher educated than previous generations. Opinion polls also show that they have different political views.
While 45 percent of all baby boomers believe that climate change is man-made, 56 percent of all millennial children agree with the same statement, according to the research center Pew.
The same research center also states that the millennial generation is more likely to believe that African Americans are discriminated against in the United States, and the age group also has more liberal political views on abortion and LGBT rights.
Free education and health care
In addition to this, the millennial generation wants more government intervention than those who are older than themselves, and many want to do higher education free of charge.
– I think it is absurd that you have to take out expensive loans to get an education, says 25-year-old Surenmaa Sukhbataar, who TV 2 meets in San Francisco.
She also hopes that in the future, the United States will provide citizens with free health care.
– Health care should not be a privilege. It should be a human right, she says.
Sukhbataar was recently granted US citizenship and is a first-time voter.
– I would like to be more enthusiastic about the election in November. Trump has divided people in recent years, and I honestly think he has bad morals. And Biden … The man is demented, says Sukhbataar.
Next to her on the stairs outside the Victorian house in San Francisco, sits Kyle Ludwig.
– Baby, do not say that, he says and smiles.
But neither is he a devoted Biden supporter.
– I’m not exactly enthusiastic about voting this year. I am most confused, he says.
Despite the fact that Biden is low in price among many of the young people, the millennial generation as a whole is closer to the democratic than the republican party. Opinion polls also show they are more likely to vote for Biden than Trump.
But the question is whether they will vote at all.
In 2016, turnout was relatively low among the millennial generation. Only 51 percent of those eligible to vote cast their ballots, while turnout among baby boomers was 69 percent.
“Young people do not vote as often as old people, as has always been the case,” says political scientist Timothy Nokken at Texas Tech University, and continues:
– But at the last election, they were also in a situation where none of the candidates aroused special commitment among the young. I think that was the main reason why so many stayed home. This year I think it will be different. But that is mostly speculation on my part. I think many people find this a very important choice.
– But the election in 2016 was also characterized as a very important election. And it does not look exactly like Biden arouses commitment?
– No, but Biden is not disliked either. In addition, I believe that four years with Trump have fired up many democratic sofa voters, and many probably feel that this is an even more important presidential election than last time. Several of them probably also learned from the surprising election result in 2016. The Democrats also seem to have become better at mobilizing voters in recent years and during the by-elections two years ago, turnout was relatively high among young voters, including here in Texas , he says.
Recruitment on the ground
Back in San Jose, Brad Simmons has a bunch of registration forms. As the roller skating demonstration attracts many young people, he uses the opportunity to inform them about how they can register before the deadline expires.
Progress is currently weak, and Simmons himself is far from certain that turnout will pick up significantly from the previous time.
– It depends on many factors. We do not know how many polling stations will be open on election day, and many are also not used to voting by post.
Simmons has not decided who he will vote for this year.
– I will probably vote for the Green Party, he says.
– The Democrats do not take the climate challenges seriously, and I would like to say that.
Joy Harrold supported Bernie Sanders in the primary election and shares many of Simmons’ views, but believes the time has now come to fight Donald Trump.
– I have lost a lot of confidence in the authorities and the political system, but my attitude is that we must now concentrate on the election in November. Bernie Sanders will not be back, at least not right away. We must vote for Biden now.