The US midterm elections in November 2022 saw the second highest youth voter turnout in voting history at 27%. Youth ages 18-29 are becoming more involved in politics and are showing up to cast their ballots. Youth today are focused on issues such as body autonomy (i.e. having control of their bodies through the access to abortion and access to gender-affirming health care).
A report by Collette Ngo of CNBC in 2020 reiterated that youth are becoming more involved in politics today to make a difference in the areas of healthcare, the racial wealth gap and student debt. Any policies that are being implemented by the current administration to help in any of the aforementioned areas have been blocked by the GOP administration. Youth today are electing officials that align with and will fight for the issues that they believe in.
The older generations for years have discarded these issues and have brought policies that have resulted in people losing their rights. In recent times, the officials that are elected have brought policies that have limited access to gender-affirming care, stopped schools from teaching Critical Race Theory and have recently blocked a student loan debt relief program that was implemented by the Biden Administration.
Not only did youth show out in voting patterns, the first Gen Z (people born from 1996 to 2010) Congress member was elected. Maxwell Frost of the 10th District in Florida was elected to the House of Representatives in the recent midterm election. During his campaign, Frost explained that he was running for Congress to represent his community and spoke up about racial, economic and social injustices such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Other influential and relatable candidates in the election include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been a trailblazer for the Democratic Party in New York. She frequently talks about issues on her social media pages such as climate change, student loan debt and the state of U.S. healthcare.
Healthcare, climate change, student loan debt, crime, racial discrimination and economic disparity are just a few of the issues that youth are vocal about, and that older politicians have for years ignored. With the rise in youth participating in politics and voting, we hope that this will cause a shift and bring these issues to the forefront to be taken care of.
By Khadejra Golding, Reporter