Gen Z diversity could swing the 2020 US elections

Gen Z are more ethnically and racially diverse than the generations before them which could have big ramifications for the coming US elections – if we turn up to vote.

Last night the US held the first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The immediate aftermath on social media was a mix of dismay, bewilderment, and fear. There was also a lot of shouting.

But despite the advanced ages of both candidates on the podium, this election could actually be decided by the youngest voters of all. 16 million more Gen Zers are now eligible to vote compared to 2016, bringing the number up to 23 million. Given how narrowly Donald Trump triumphed four years ago –  Hillary actually won the popular vote by three million – these numbers could easily be the difference between a second term and a Democrat victory.

A recent Pew Research Centre analysis report states that Gen Z are more diverse as a voting group than any generation preceding them. 22% are Hispanic, a significantly higher share than Millennials, while 14% are Black and 5% are Asian. In addition, Gen Z are more likely to be children of immigrants, with 22% having at least one foreign parent.

All of these numbers suggest that Gen Z has a wider range of cultural heritage and external influences than older voters. Couple that with social media campaigns and awareness initiatives and you’ve got a more clued up and informative demographic than ever before, at least as far as international issues are concerned.

In fact, according to a social trends study by the Pew Research Centre, Gen Z are considered progressive, and are unlikely to see the United States as more important or ‘superior’ to other nations. They overwhelmingly dislike the Trump administration, with 77% saying they actively disapprove of his presidency. That’s obviously good news for the Biden campaign – though last night’s debate felt like a case of the bigger loser rather than winner.

What will be most important this election is voter turnout. Gen Z still makes up a smaller percentage of the overall voting pool – roughly 10% – but if all young people turned up to the booths we could easily see sweeping changes in the current US establishment. Younger votes have historically been quite poor at voting, with only three-in-ten casting ballots in the 2018 midterms.

Companies like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram have all attempted to raise awareness and get more Gen Z voters engaged. Celebrities and musicians such as Frank Ocean have also pushed their own independent campaigns that stress the need to remove Trump from office. I dare you to not feel inspired after watching this video of Tyler, The Creator asking fans and young kids to ‘pull up’ and vote.

We’ll have to see if these methods work on election day. I’m optimistic that more Gen Zers than ever will show up this year given the dramatic crisis we seem to be in currently.

As more people die from a seemingly never-ending pandemic and as California continues to burn, the current US president remains vigilante in his denial of climate change and progressive science. He persistently avoids denouncing white supremacy and has failed to fully address the growing momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. These are hugely important things to Gen Z – and they will continue to be well into adulthood.

Hopefully more young adults will see the value in their voices this year and vote for the change they want to see. We can create shifts and we can begin to fix things – but we have to make the effort to get out there and be heard, and not just via Instagram or Twitter. If more Gen Z voters participate this year then battleground states could easily be won by the Democrats and could ultimately lead to Trump being booted from office.

That’s the power of a diverse generation of informed and educated people. As long as they show up. You can register to vote here.

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