College students aren’t known for their reliability at voting time, but a new political party in South Carolina is banking on that being a symptom of a lack of choices rather than apathy.
The American Party received its certification in the state in late January, and founders — two former gubernatorial candidates, a Republican and a Democrat — have announced the party will have a convention in the coming months for selecting candidates.
At Winthrop University, Young Americans President Josh Demarest said his organization already outnumbers both organizations for young Republicans and young Democrats. He said the count is at 85, but that doesn’t represent every person who attends meetings or volunteers with the group. He said other Young American organizations are looking to start up at Clemson University, University of South Carolina, and Coastal Carolina.
Demarest said while many on campus give organizations affiliated with either party a wide berth, that isn’t so with the American Party, which is rooted in middle-ground politics and firm term limits.
“People will come up to me … because people are fed up with the two major parties,” Demarest told South Carolina Radio Network. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who didn’t bother voting because they didn’t like either candidate and they just didn’t want to vote for either of them because they didn’t think that either of them would do a good job.”
He called the preconceived notion that college students are apathetic about politics a “faulty assumption.”
“My generation is still young enough to want to do something different than being entrenched in party politics and I think it’s ripe for other party options,” Demarest said.