Generation Z’s Impact On the 2020 Election and the Future

By: Jessica Coacci
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Generation Z, or Gen Z, has shown increasing support for President Joesph R. Biden and has made history this year. They have dealt with the circumstances of being in college during a global pandemic and made a fight for racial injustice. 

According to a study by Pew Research Center, Gen-Z is on track to not only be the most educated generation, but the most ethnically diverse generation as well. Gen Z, unlike any older generation, sees the United States as one of the weaker countries, inferior to other nations and seeks change. The narrative that the United States is still a country with freedom, liberty and justice has not left the mind of older generations like Baby Boomers, and Generation X. 

Many Gen-Zers who still live with their parents of these generations notice their political differences.  Being raised with parents in different political parties may cause conflict with the older generation. 

“Having parents with a different political mindset could be awkward, they were trying to get me to vote red in the recent election,” said Anjelica Pensato, a student at Molloy College.

Generation Z's Impact On the 2020 Election and the Future
📸: Newsday

Although Biden has won the recent presidential election, rallies for former president Donald Trump and Republican counties like Suffolk are seen more on Long Island in comparison to the rest of New York State. 

“I think a large reason why Long Island is red is because our parents were always resistant to change their ideologies,” said Pensato.

On Long Island, these rallies went from the Riverhead of Long Island to the North Fork. Trump received the popular vote in Suffolk by 52.5% and Nassau felt short by 45.9%.

A political science professor at Stony Brook University, Matthew Duell, says he doesn’t believe it is likely that Gen-Z is intimidated by Republicans on Long Island. He has noted that while Gen-Z voted mostly  strongly for Biden, there are still large disparities by race. 

“Only 51% of white Gen-Z voters went for Biden,” said Duell. “This is a lot better than older generations, where a majority of white voters broke for Trump even in 2020.

Duell commented that political parties often stick with them as they age. He said that political identities over the last 40 years have become strongly attached to one’s personality.

“People gravitate towards social environments where they share traits with others,” said Duell. So as all of these identities and preferences become interconnected, it becomes more likely that our friends and social networks share all of these traits instead of just one or two of them.” 

Generation Z's Impact On the 2020 Election and the Future
📸: Loyola University

Gen-Z has voted more in this election than previous ones. Among the nearly 240 million eligible voters in the United States today, about 20% are 18- to 29-year-olds. Duell said they still don’t make up a large portion of the electorate. Duell said young voters (18-25) made up around 18% of the voting electorate, which didn’t change much for 2016. This suggests that turnout was just high across the board, and young voters weren’t more or less pivotal than previous elections.  

“If young voters want to gain political power, this means there are two courses of action. First, wait until Gen-Z makes up more of the electorate. Second, turn their energy into organizing. Even if they don’t make up a large part of the electorate, if they become especially effective at getting other age groups to vote and to vote for Democrats, they can create political power they don’t otherwise have”. 

Jessica Coacci

Jessica Coacci

Jessica Coacci is a journalist at Stony Brook University. She is a Long Island Native and advocate for social justice, diversity and environmental policy. She plans to seek change locally and nationally through her informative reporting. Instagram @Jessicacoacci Twitter @JessicaCoacci__

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