Gen Z Shifts the Political Field, Abortion Rights Driving the Youth to Vote Blue
By: Kiera Haggerty
The 2022 midterm elections showed an overwhelming amount of demonstrated interest by young voters, especially in the Democratic Party. Popular topics such as abortion rights, voting rights, climate action, gun violence, and college affordability seemed increasingly important to America’s younger voters. With an estimated 27% of young voters voting in the midterm election, this year has the second highest turnout in the past 30 years. President Biden acknowledged the role of young voters by saying, “I especially want to thank the young people of this nation, who I’m told — I haven’t seen the number — voted in historic numbers again. And just as they did two years ago…they voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms and [for] student debt relief”.
Tom Bonier, a long-term Democratic strategist, explains that “the youth vote was just overwhelmingly Democratic”. The power of the youth segment is displayed here as they were a key factor in Democratic victories and will continue to shift the political field left. College’s such as the University of Michigan and Penn State had 90% of their voters vote Democratic and students waited in lines for hours to vote. These young democrats are passionate and enthusiastic about voting and are encouraging their peers to vote as well. With enthusiasm on the rise due to current issues surrounding abortion rights, young women and especially women of color demonstrated high interests in voting. “Eighty-nine percent of Black women ages 18–29 voted for a Democratic House candidate, compared to 79% of Latina women in that age range and 64% of White women.” Women of color are disproportionately affected by the overturn of Roe V. Wade and used this election to fight for the rights of their body. Abortion rights played a crucial role in the turnout of Democratic voters.
With the high level of demonstrated interest by young people voting for the Democratic Party, it is clear that Gen Z is shifting the political field. Youth organizations argue that they are extremely underfunded. With the possibility of further youth organization investment by the Democratic Party, there could be immense growth. Gen Z is making an everlasting impact on the United States’ political landscape and this is just the start. With the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, we can anticipate a high youth voter turnout supporting the Democratic candidates.