Since 2016, the majority of voters under 35 have favored Democrats. Youth voter turnout has also been consistently increasing, making young voters significant to Democrat wins. Americans discuss why Gen Z and millennials show up at the polls and favor the left.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
The Age Argument
“Older people have made up their minds about how the world works and built their lives around the status quo. Younger people are still building their lives and seeing how the world/their country can and should change,” one voter said, echoing the age-old argument that liberalism is something young people tend to grow out of as they take on jobs, pay taxes, and start families.
Not So Fast
Several people pushed back on that sentiment, though. “Actually, what happens is you develop your ideology young, and then it mostly cements. Generational views don’t actually change much over time,” another person pointed out, using the Pew Research Center to make their case.
Many younger voters chimed in to say that Republican policy doesn’t resonate with them. “I would never vote Republican, and it’s not because I have some arbitrary hate for them,” said one. “It’s because I don’t agree with any of their policy positions on every issue facing America and the world.”
Toxic Social Ideas
A few people pointed out specific GOP policy issues. “I find their social policies to be toxic as someone who’s both LGBT and has LGBT friends,” said one person, with several others agreeing.
Others said it was because of their stance on firearms. “I remember having to do drills at least twice a year and walk through a metal detector every day. I’m not anti-gun, but watching absolutely nothing change is maddening,” said one young voter.
Others thought the firearm debate couldn’t explain the allure of the Democratic party. “School shootings have been the (Democratic) face of gun violence since Columbine,” one person pointed out. “But 30 years of kids growing to voting age hasn’t really moved the needle on gun violence policies.”
The No Party
Several commenters noted that conservatives are, well, conservative. “They’re the party of no,” said one youth voter. “In an age when the majority of young people don’t see opportunities for themselves in the future due to wealth inequality or climate change, why should they vote for regressive policy that doesn’t address those things?”
Need For Change
“Conservative messaging and policy is focused on not changing things, but voters under 25 have grown up in a dysfunctional political environment where it’s pretty clear to most of us that some social, political, and economic things need to change,” another voter said.
Blame the Candidates
Some thought the issue wasn’t policy-based as much as it was candidate-based. “The two Republican presidents young people best remember are George Bush Jr. and Donald Trump, both of whom are usually considered to be two of the worst presidents in the nation’s entire history,” one person pointed out.
All Talk, No Action
A few conservative-leaning youths said they would be more likely to vote for a Republican if Republicans actually enacted conservative fiscal policy. “I like to think of myself as fiscally conservative,” one voter said. “But Republicans have consistently driven up the deficit. Instead of reducing spending, they just throw it all at the military-industrial complex.”
They Don’t Like Us
Many young commenters said they wouldn’t vote Republican because Republicans have made it clear that they don’t like the youth. “Their position on millennials (and now zoomers) has also been that we are lazy, entitled, and stupid,” one person said.
Not Helping the Cause
“Why on earth would I vote for the party that blames and insults young people while doing absolutely nothing for them?” asked another commenter. Many others chimed in to note that Republican policy is often at odds with climate change issues.
One younger voter brought up January 6th, and several people agreed. “I wouldn’t vote for them [Republicans] because of policy for sure,” they said. “But I absolutely hold a hate for the party that tried to do a coup.”
Several people brought up the many economic issues that millennials and Gen Zers have lived through. As one person said, “Many of my peers have completely given up ever owning homes, having families, and pursuing meaningful careers.” They blamed Republican policy for the lack of economic opportunity.
Vote Against Trump
As to why youth voter turnout has been increasing, many cited Trump as a factor. They noted that they felt it was important to vote against Republicans, especially the MAGA sect.
Others thought the younger generation was more likely to vote because they were more informed than previous generations. “The increase in information access and prevalence of political content creators has grabbed student attention more and more over the years I’ve been teaching,” one educator noted.
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