July 18, 2024

Youth and Regeneration of Voters

Young voters in the 2024 election are estimated to be 60 percent of the total voters. If these voters participate by donating their votes on election day, it will have a good impact on the future of democracy because the voter regeneration process in Indonesia will run smoothly.

So far, discussions about young voters have been represented by the space and opportunities that young people get from fighting for political positions, both in the legislative and executive realms. Talking about voters who determine whether “youth” has a big chance of being elected or not, they are rarely educated and convinced that their role is important in elections.

Political Opportunities
It must be acknowledged that the main problem seen in young voters is that they do not believe that their votes have no influence in politics because of the slow circulation of elites in political parties. This is because political parties in Indonesia still use the old approach; this is not only a “disease” in old parties but also in new parties.

Political parties are trying to build collaboration with young voters or are trying to be seen as building equal perceptions. However, in reality, political parties have failed to show collaboration within the party. Young voters rarely see parties that have not provided strategic opportunities for young people, except in the media.

The space given to young people is certainly not a form of bravado, so the party is seen to care about millennials and Gen Z. However, to attract voters who make up 60 percent of the total electorate, it is impossible for 75 percent of the narrative and stage to be controlled by baby boomers.

Mistakes in giving the stage still often occur. In activities held by the KPU and Bawaslu regarding young voters, the majority of speakers presented to talk about young voters came from the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations. The Baby Boomers and Gen Y have opportunities in politics. The differences between the times are that sometimes the narrative that is conveyed is not far from his experience in 1966 or 1998. In the end, the narrative that is discussed is more about bragging about the glories of past youth in the political realm. These ideas tend to be mental in Gen-Millennial and Gen-Z conversations because the stories conveyed have no correlation with the current era.

Adapt Party
From the problems above, the party must not misread the strategy for giving confidence to the elite to answer this phenomenon. Moreover, the party is experiencing problems in voter regeneration, one of which is homework that the party also needs to improve as a prerequisite if it wants to continue to be relevant with the times.

So far, the party still relies on senior voters. However, gradually, these voters started to grow old and die. Party ID, which has become the pride of a number of parties, is slowly fading away. Young voters have their own judgment in making their choices without having to confirm them with their parents.

The independence of young voters in making political choices actually gives young people the opportunity to influence their parents’ political choices. Youth are known to be more adaptive to technology, have better media for obtaining information, and influence senior voters.

Therefore, providing opportunities for young cadres to fill strategic positions is an effort to respond to the fact that young voters see parties as adapting to changing times. The party is controlled by the family, making party funding dependent on the budget of a few people.

Ultimately, this is what causes elite circulation to be problematic because budgetary power is not in the realm of the organization. If you want the party to be more independent and open, party funding is assisted by the state, which does not give room for a handful of elites to have a majority stake in the party.

Control of parties by a few people is difficult to avoid because the opportunities they get are also through democracy. The people who choose to give certain families space remain strong. This would certainly be interesting if the party dared to carry out a major overhaul internally by rejuvenating the party structure by making room for younger figures from various groups. This attitude certainly risks the attitude of the ruling elite that power must be shared so that its circulation is good.

Generational Circulation
The party’s stance above is part of responding to challenges and strategies to see the year 2045, where Indonesia’s projected population growth ends. Indonesia will enter an “aging population,” where there are more people of unproductive age than productive ones. The social, economic, political, and cultural structures of the future will be dominated by the generation currently growing. Changes in the social system will occur with generational changes in existing structures in society.

This change is a concern for social, economic, and political actors looking at the future of the Indonesian population. Several strategies are carried out to introduce values to the generation that is currently growing. Existence in the future is answered by approaching this generation to join in the habits, institutions, and social conditions that have been formed. The changes made to approach this generation are made by recognizing its habits.

In short, when youth’s voting rights reach 60 percent, they have many hopes and work patterns for the future. Social, economic, and cultural changes have also changed the next generation’s perception of their position in politics. Therefore, political parties or institutions have the challenge of determining the potential for generational growth and what role they can play in the development of democracy. []

Executive Director of Aljabar Strategic Indonesia