Gen Z for the win: young Americans voted in a new wave of progressive candidates in the US midterms

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The Democrats outperformed expectations during the United States (US) midterms, which took place on Wednesday 9 November. Control of both chambers of the US Congress is still unconfirmed as counting continues. The Republican party may still retake the House of Representatives, but the Senate outcome remains unclear. This is a surprising and disappointing outcome for former US president Donald Trump and the Republican establishment. They expected to easily retake the House, and possibly take the Senate. 18-29 year olds (the generation known as ‘Gen Z’) voted for Democrats more than any other age group during the midterms. This suggests that young voters are largely responsible for the array of progressive successes during the midterms.

Red wave? What red wave?

Political analysts forecast an overwhelming wave of Republican wins in the 2022 US midterm elections. However, the Democrats have done surprisingly well. Importantly, a number of Trump favourites lost out to the Democrats. For example, Republican Mehmet Oz conceded to the Democrat’s John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.
Celebrating the success of progressive youth electoral organising in halting the predicted Republican ‘red wave’, Nelini Stamp tweeted:

Olivia Julianna, director of politics and government affairs at youth-led non-profit Gen-Z for Change, shared:

Reflecting on the profound impact of young voters, American author Frederick Joseph shared:

Gen Z for the win 

Judging from the results, young Americans voted for key progressive issues, from decriminalising weed to climate justice, as well as gun control, cancelling student debt, and higher wages for workers. Crucially, states including California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont voted for ballot measures which protect abortion rights.
Reflecting on this, one twitter user shared:

Recognising the major influence of the youth vote in the Democrat’s midterm election wins, US president Joe Biden tweeted:

Underlining the need for the Democrats to deliver on their promises to take action on the issues that impact young people’s lives, Julianna shared:

Minoritised candidates win in the US midterms

Likely due to the high turnout of young, progressive voters, the US midterms saw a number of successful progressive candidates who belong to marginalised and oppressed groups.

For example, the state of Florida voted in 25-year-old activist and politician Maxwell Alejandro Frost, making him the first Gen Z and the first Afro-Cuban candidate elected to Congress. Frost is the former national organising director for March for Our Lives, a nationwide movement for gun control. Celebrating his election win, Frost tweeted:

Meanwhile, Mauree Turner, who became the first non-binary person elected to a state legislature in the US in 2020, will return for another term. Celebrating this win, activist and queer legislative researcher Erin Reed shared:

Celebrating Sonya Emerick’s election to the Minneapolis school board, Reed added:

The midterms also saw a record number of Muslim candidates elected into Congress. Executive director of Muslim civil rights organisation CAIR Washington Imraan Siddiqi tweeted:

Brighter days ahead?

As is always the case with US politics, the 2022 midterm election wasn’t all roses. For example, Black Democrat and impactful voter rights campaigner Stacy Abrams conceded to Republican governor Brian Kemp in Georgia. Other Black Democrats such as hopeful US Senate candidates Cheri Beasley and Val Demmings also lost out.

Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana voted to maintain the legal loophole in the 13th amendment of the US constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude “except as a punishment for crime” in 1865. Devastated by this outcome, academic Jenn Jackson shared:

However, the results of the 2022 midterms could mark the beginning of widespread progressive change in US politics.

Featured image via Element5 Digital – Unsplash

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  • Show Comments
    1. “However, the results of the 2022 midterms could mark the beginning of widespread progressive change in US politics.”

      Somehow I doubt it. As with the tories and Labour in the UK, Democrats and Republicans are just cheeks of the same arse.

      When America stops acting like an international terrorist state, when it stops inciting proxy wars and intervening in democracies it doesn’t approve of…. then maybe I’ll believe it.

      As for this “Gen-Z” business – they’re Gen-Z who have opted to work within the system. They probably don’t even want to change it, or they might be looking for something a bit more radical.

      Meanwhile, it’ll be business as usual. The Forever War grinds on…. China, Iran, Haiti….

    2. This is excellent news for Ukrainian fascists (who are guaranteed ongoing support by war-lovin’ Democrats of the progressive ilk), military corporations (almost all progressives vote for increased military spending), the police (ditto), apartheid Israel (ditto)… Yay for progressives!

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