Gen Z votes blue in midterm elections


Brennan Mumper

Gen Z votes blue in the recent midterm elections.

Brennan Mumper, Staff Writer

No matter what they are, the election results always seem to surprise someone.
After the last midterms, politicians and citizens alike were shocked by the startlingly high turnout of the youngest voters on the roster: Generation Z.
Not only was the Gen Z turnout higher than expected, but they had a clear favorite, too. 63% of voters under the age of thirty supported the Democratic party.
Since 1 in 8 voters fell into this “under thirty” category, their votes were enough to match the votes of those over sixty-five, a demographic that has historically had a high turnout and a strong Republican base.
While the Democrats had some unexpected wins, the Republicans still won the House of Representatives.
The first member of Gen Z to be voted into Congress was elected during the recent midterms as well: twenty-five-year-old Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Florida, who, like many young people, identifies strongly with the culture of his generation.
“I feel empowered to just really lean into being a young person,” Frost said in an interview with Vogue.
Frost discussed his history with gun violence, police brutality, and political activism.
“All of these things combined, I think, has made this situation where we have this righteous anger,” Frost said. “We’re kind of like, ‘Why hasn’t this stuff been dealt with?’”
Explanations for Gen Z’s strong Democratic turnout have ranged from mild to mind-control. It seems more likely, however, that the unique circumstances Gen Z has lived with have influenced their political views.
“I don’t think we’re satisfied with the previous generations and a lot of the people in power,” junior Eric Gitson said. “I don’t think we’re satisfied with what their priorities are and what they’re really getting done.”
Growing up in a time fraught with natural disasters, social issues and political upheaval has resulted in a generation that is more likely to support government oversight, with 70% of Gen Z saying they believe that the government should do more to solve issues. Gen Z also values diversity and science more than other generations.
Gen Z is shaping up to be the most well-educated generation so far. This, along with a developing education system, gives the younger generation the tools they need to understand complex issues like climate change and racial justice.
“We want to take care of climate change, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, preventing gun violence,” Gitson said. “Those things are really important to our generation.”
The Internet has had an effect as well. Increased connectivity allows members of Gen Z to interact with different types of people, learning about their issues first-hand.
“I think a lot of it has to do with social media, and technology has played a large part in people being more aware,” senior Kasey Wells said.
Increased accessibility to the democratic processes may have also contributed to the high turnout.
“I know there’s been a lot of celebrities pushing to register to vote,” Wells said. “Like, I went to a concert a few months ago and they had people from the band registering people to vote right there.”
Gitson added that, even before they are old enough to vote, members of Gen Z can still become politically involved by volunteering for candidates and attending protests.
The Gen Z turnout seems to have some politicians sweating. In fact, after the midterm results were out, a few even tried to argue that the voting age should be raised to 21. However, no bills have actually been introduced yet.
It is important to understand the reason the voting age was lowered to 18 in the first place. During the Vietnam War, young people could be drafted to fight, but were still not allowed to vote. The voting age was lowered in order to allow these people to have a say in the conflict they were risking their lives in.
Gitson said that he thinks that Gen Z’s political views might eventually mellow out.
“As time goes on, there’s going to be more millennials and more Gen Z. And I think that at first, we’re going to see more of democratic priorities and the priorities that our generation has,” Gitson said. “I think some of those are going to start coming to fruition. But at the same time, as people get older, start a family, buy a house, they do start to see a lot of economic reasons why they should be more moderate or should be more conservative.”
Wells said she thinks that the Republicans could have done a better job at appealing to young voters.
“I think this year, the Republican party played some of their cards wrong,” Wells said. “They didn’t have as strong of candidates as they could have had. And they should have focused a little bit more on some social issues, even though the economy is still important, but I think touching in on those would have been helpful.”
An even greater percentage of Gen Z will be eligible to vote in the next Presidential elections.
“I just hope that this trend continues because it gives me a lot of hope that instead of just, you know, sitting at home and watching TV, our generation is motivated to go vote and is trying to make a change in the world,” Gitson said.