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America’s future lies within the Gen Z vote

America’s future lies within the Gen Z vote

America’s future lies within the Gen Z vote
September 21
11:00 2020

Empowered by growing up completely immersed in the digital age of social media-induced wokeness, Generation Z, people born between 1996 and 2011, have proven they are not afraid to be the face of political movements. They formed the forefront of many protests against racial and environmental injustice, rallies to increase visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and marches for gender equality. 

Armed with knowledge and youthful optimism, Gen Z has been slowly steering America in the direction of true social and political progression. As the presidential election draws closer, it is becoming increasingly evident that Gen Z has the power to undo the divisive damage of the Trump administration. This generation’s unabashed bravery gives them the momentum to vote for a better America and shift the paradigm in favor of an America that is a safe, inclusive place for people of all walks of life.

Pew Research Center broke down data concerning Gen Z’s thoughts on political hot topics, including their opinion of President Trump during his first term and their thoughts on social and racial diversity. 70 percent of Gen Z are dissatisfied with President Trump. Although they do not necessarily approve of Joe Biden (considering his past littered with segregationist ideals), Gen Z has a strong belief Trump’s administration is responsible for the increasing division and tension in America.  

62 percent agree that social and racial diversity will benefit the future of the United States, according to that same data. Gen Z’s concern with diversity and inclusion means they are voters who are determined to vote for candidates who are campaigning with policies which support that narrative.

Despite the general theme of disillusion surrounding the upcoming presidential election, Gen Z are expected to make up a large turnout at the polls this fall. Additional data based on numbers from the 2018 midterm elections from Pew Research Center shows younger generations, including Gen Z, outvoted older generations. When they carry the same momentum into voting in the 2020 presidential election, it will be a stimulus for change that will undo the discord and damage caused by Trump’s administration.

Gen Z is incredibly impressionable and constantly being influenced by reception of media messages. Older generations have been critical of Gen Z’s dependency on social media, but their reliance on the media has proven to benefit them. Growing up in an era defined by celebrities and influencers using their platforms to promote the importance of forming one’s own political ideology has created an empowered demographic who remain unwavering in their political affiliations.

In a country that has thrived on prejudice and disenfranchisement for centuries, a generation that rejects labels and tradition is destined to usher in a new era of inclusiveness. Gen Zers who are of voting age have been attentive as they observed their parents grapple with the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and witnessed them struggle through 2007’s great recession. They have perceived what America looks like at its lowest but they have also seen high points, like when the first Black president was elected, so Gen Z knows that as a country we are capable of more.

Now as that same spectrum of Gen Z maneuvers through the coronavirus pandemic in the face of a reckoning with race, the shortcomings of American leaders have become unbearably apparent. But Gen Z hasn’t let their firsthand experience of being let down discourage them thus far. The pandemic and racial conflict have proven to be a sign to persist and fight for a better America.

Unlike millennials, who have been defined as a generation more consumed with the self, Gen Z is empathetic and concerned with the well being of the lesser person. Millennials are viewed as more narcissistic because Gen Z is more likely to bear the mental and emotional burden of marginalized people.

Evidence supports Gen Z is more likely to develop mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression as a result of current events. Despite being a generation that is fairly transparent about mental health, news of mass shootings, environmental crises, sexual assault and police brutality weigh heavily on the minds of Gen Zers. 

With fairness and inclusiveness as core values crucial to Gen Z voters, their leadership will usher in a new culture of tolerance and progression. Characterized by open-mindedness, compassion and empathy, this generation is eager for change and will be the determinant of a truly united America.

Featured Illustration by Durga Bhavana

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Rhema Joy Bell

Rhema Joy Bell

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