After The Midterms, Young Voters Say, "I Told You So!" And Urge Parties To Take Them Seriously
After The Midterms, Young Voters Say, "I Told You So!" And Urge Parties To Take Them Seriously

After The Midterms, Young Voters Say, “I Told You So!” And Urge Parties To Take Them Seriously

During the midterm elections in 2022, many young people voted, but not for Republicans. Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found that the number of young voters was the second highest in at least 30 years (CIRCLE). In House races, about 63% of young voters choose Democrats, and young voters of colour choose blue even more often.

And in important Senate races like Nevada and Georgia, young voters narrowed the gap between candidates and decided the winner, which was a significant change in favour of Democrats. Abby Kiesa, the deputy director of CIRCLE, said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that incredibly strong support from young people was just a foundation for some of these candidates to win the races they did and for Democrats to keep the Senate.”

Nearly all 2022 races have already been called, so it’s clear that young voters helped stop the “red wave” that the GOP was expecting. In Nevada’s close Senate race, which decided who controlled the upper chamber, young people gave Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto a net of 27,000 votes. This is three times the 8,000 votes that Cortez Masto won over her Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt.

Youth voter experts and advocates on both sides of the aisle say that the 2022 midterm elections show that political parties can’t continue to ignore the country’s youngest voters without losing a key voting bloc that could help decide future elections.

“Young people have felt underestimated when it comes to politics for a long time, and in a way, it was their “I-told-you-so” moment,” said Ioana Literat, a professor at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College who studies online political expression and participation. “They stopped a lot of people from talking.”

Gop Gave Up The Digital Battlefield

Public data found that Democrats and liberal interest groups spent most of the money on political ads in 2022. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., spent more than $306,000 on political ads on Snapchat since the beginning of the year. The top-spending Republican candidate was an unknown Missouri U.S. House candidate who spent $3,045 on political ads on the platform.

“You don’t see Republican campaigns on Snapchat, so it’s almost like they gave up that platform entirely to one side,” said Tatenda Musapatike, CEO of the Voter Formation Project, which uses digital tools to get more people to vote. Even though political ads aren’t allowed on TikTok, the Democratic Party and many of its 2022 candidates used the app to connect with young people.

Conservative influencers are active on TikTok, which is why videos about Republican issues like inflation and traditional values get tens of thousands of likes and comments. But Republican candidates and the GOP have avoided the platform, citing concerns about national security.

Christopher Wray, in charge of the FBI, told Congress last week that he is “distraught” that China could use information gathered through the popular app to make weapons. ByteDance, which is based in China, owns the app TikTok.

Literat said that this difference could also hurt the GOP in future elections. “Young people want to connect with their candidates and elected leaders; they want a direct line of communication,” Literat said. “If you’re a politician and you can be in that space in a way that feels real, creative, and not fake, dishonest, or cringe-worthy, then you’re also showing that you can connect with young people.”

Gen Z Wants Real Participation In Issues

Gen Z can easily spot fakes on social media and in political candidates. In the 2022 election, Connor Gibson, who was 18 at the time, cast his first vote. The Republican from Mississippi thinks the GOP did a “terrible job” picking candidates because they chose untested, divisive candidates over tried-and-true ones.

“I can tell the difference between candidates and elected officials who are true to themselves and those who are not. And I’m sure that tried-and-true, honest candidates are getting more and more support, “Gibson said. “Voters, especially young voters, know that,”

Gibson said he’d like to see more candidates like Mississippi state Rep. Kent McCarty, a 29-year-old Republican and coffee shop owner who Gibson called “a conservative who works across the aisle when it’s necessary.” Gibson said, “Young people like it when candidates run for office and govern in ways focused on the issues that matter to them every day, and they will reward them with their votes.”

In mid-May, the nonprofit IGNITE surveyed 3,200 people from 50 states, half of whom were Gen Z. They found that the top issues for young voters, such as mass shootings, abortion, and inflation, were only a few percentage points apart in terms of importance. This shows that Gen Z voters vote based on a mix of many issues.

Midterms are such a great way to see if people are going to vote along party lines,” said Sara Guillermo, CEO of IGNITE, an organization that encourages and trains young women to run for office. “It was a big protest, and (Gen Z) voted on the things that matter most to them.”

After The Midterms, Young Voters Say, I Told You So! And Urge Parties To Take Them Seriously
After The Midterms, Young Voters Say, I Told You So! And Urge Parties To Take Them Seriously

According to an analysis of exit poll data by CIRCLE, the summer overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case on reproductive rights, made abortion the most critical issue for young voters. CIRCLE also found four out of five young voters who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases voted blue in House races.

“The repeal of Roe v. Wade and the whole abortion debate has brought things into focus,” said Literat. “How much it helped young people was a huge boost for the Democrats. It drove home how important it is to go vote.”

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About Sam Houston 1811 Articles
Hello, I'm Sam Houston, and I'm proud to be a part of the team as a content writer. My journey into journalism has been quite an exciting ride, and it all began with a background in content creation. My roots as a content writer have equipped me with the essential skills needed to craft engaging narratives and convey information effectively. This background proved invaluable when I decided to make the transition into journalism. The transition allowed me to channel my storytelling abilities into producing news articles that not only inform but also captivate our readers.

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