The Gen Z Factor in 2020 Will Be Even Bigger Than in 2016 as We Make Campus Great Again


Leftists are perpetually convinced that the American right is just one generation away from extinction.

Their rhetoric implies that they assume they are contending with the last gasps of a dying conservative ideology rooted solely in residual loyalty to the quaint notions of a barely remembered, long-ago past. Donald Trump’s MAGA revolution is, in this worldview, a nearly inexplicable aberration.

The “#Resist” movement has tried to console itself with the fairy tale that Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat in 2016 must have been the result of some inconceivable conspiracy, because there couldn’t possibly have been enough old, white men left to vote for Donald Trump. The problem with this narrative, as with so many of the Democratic Party’s core assumptions is that it’s completely at odds with reality.

It wasn’t Trump’s unapologetic nationalism and pragmatic conservatism that turned so many young people off from the Republican Party in the past decade. It was the soulless doctrinaire laissez-faire economics, knee-jerk foreign interventionism, and obsequious deference to liberal pieties represented by GOP presidential nominees such as Mitt Romney and John McCain. It was this establishment culture that young Americans rejected in 2016.

Nearly two-thirds of voters under 30 years old pulled the lever for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, firmly rejecting the “compassionate” neoconservatism of the Bush era.

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Donald Trump, however, performed 18 points better among young voters against Hillary Clinton in 2016 than John McCain did against Obama in 2008.

But this is the 2020 race, and many “Generation Z” voters will be casting their ballots for the first time. You can’t expect to extrapolate their voting patterns just by looking at the youth vote in the last election.

Personally, I don’t believe the revolution of 2016 would have been possible without the army of irreverent teenagers, many of them too young to vote, who dominated social media and online comment sections. The politically active youth were too new to politics in 2016 to have internalized the conventional political “wisdom” that let a deeply corrupt mediocre candidate such as Hillary Clinton come within a stone’s throw of the presidency.

It was the relentless mockery of Clinton and the GOP establishment’s chosen challengers by these young people, along with their triumphant Trump boosterism, that shattered the illusion — they let it be known that the Empress wore no clothes at a time when their elders were all set to coronate Hillary. Perhaps only the brash oratory of the billionaire candidate himself did more to upend the whole farce.

Now those young people are college students or recent graduates. They can not only vote, but speak out. From what I can tell, none of them are particularly eager to sit back and let the stale, corrupt political system regain its stranglehold on Washington after they spent so much time and effort helping to tear down that system in 2016.

The highest echelons of the Trump campaign appreciate how important these young Trumpsters will be next year — not just because of our votes in battleground states, but also because of our immense enthusiasm and energy.

In an election that, by all accounts, is going to be decided by each party’s ability to turn out its base, Gen Z can make a critical difference by pounding the ground, choking up the comment sections online, and letting older “shy-Trumpsters” know that — despite the best efforts of the Democrats and the mainstream media to convince them otherwise — conservative beliefs and values have a future in this country and are alive and well.

Youth-led efforts such as the “Make Campus Great Again” campaign are just getting off the ground, but with support from the Trump campaign, they’re building on the foundation laid by groups such as Turning Point USA, which have spent years working tirelessly to put conservativism back at the center of campus life and empower students who endure censorship, retaliation and ostracism simply because they support President Trump or hold conservative beliefs. I personally know this to be true.

To my fellow campus conservatives, who I know are fed up with being told they’re pariahs and anachronisms, let me stress that this is the best time to get involved.

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Right here and right now, individual liberties must be defended more than ever. Now is when we carve out our place in history and earn the respect that leftists are so determined to deny us.

Together, we will preserve American freedom for generations to come.

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Isabel Brown is a graduate student at Georgetown University pursuing her master’s degree in biomedical sciences policy and advocacy. You can follow her on social media @theisabelbrown (Instagram/Facebook) and @theisabelb (Twitter).
Isabel Brown is a recent college graduate from Colorado who endured years of leftist indoctrination on her college campus and is now pursuing her master’s degree at Georgetown University in biomedical sciences policy and advocacy. After serving as a Turning Point USA chapter founder and president for two years at Colorado State University, Isabel recently became a Turning Point USA contributor to continue sharing the powerful message of the organization. In addition to the content she produces for PragerU, Isabel independently produces and hosts On The Front Lines, a video series highlighting the adversity college students experience due to their conservative beliefs. Isabel is also a former U.S. Senate and White House intern. You can follow her on social media @theisabelbrown (Instagram/Facebook) and @theisabelb (Twitter).