Young Not Stupid: There's 1 Little Statistic from the Virginia Election That Should Terrify Democrats
The following is an installment in a weekly series of commentary articles by Cameron Arcand, host of the Young Not Stupid interview series and a contributor to The Western Journal.
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin continues to dominate the headlines following his victory on Tuesday night, and it looks like young voters may have helped him win the competitive race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
A CNN exit poll with 3,899 respondents showed 45 percent support for Youngkin among 18- to 29-year-olds, and 53 percent for McAuliffe.
Although Youngkin did not win the demographic, it is significant for a Republican candidate to have so much success in that age group, which tends to overwhelmingly favor Democrats.
Even though Glenn Youngkin didn’t win among young voters (at least with this exit poll from CNN), this is fascinating. pic.twitter.com/vphsi1vtbq
— Cameron Arcand (@cameron_arcand) November 3, 2021
Youngkin’s popularity among Gen Zers and younger millennials is a major development following the 2020 general election.
According to another CNN exit poll with 4,810 respondents, President Joe Biden won 62 percent of young Virginia voters last year.
Here’s the deal: Republicans should not expect to prevail among young people any time soon. That is simply a truism of American politics.
However, Democrats should be incredibly worried about losing ground to Republicans — and about Gen Zers not voting whatsoever.
According to NBC, turnout among voters under 30 plummeted 62 percent in Virginia this year, and 48 percent in the California recall election.
It’s easy to point out that these elections both took place in an off-year, so young people were probably more disengaged than usual. But the problem runs deeper than that.
Strategists need to understand that young Americans are predisposed to nihilism, which makes it difficult for them to care enough to get involved in the political process.
As Gen Zers have grown up inundated with politics on social media and even Netflix, most are looking to vote for people they won’t constantly be hearing about in the news cycle.
On the flip side, many young leftists are not interested in supporting Democratic candidates. This likely hurt McAuliffe, who had to rely on moderate suburban voters in order to remain competitive with Youngkin.
Democrats are finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place going into 2022 as they trying to retain the independents who voted for them in 2020 while also appealing to the far left.
If young progressives continue to stay home as a way to raise a metaphorical middle finger to “the system,” Republicans will have the upper hand.
Still, conservative candidates need to make an earnest effort to reach young voters, as they could be cultivating a long-term Republican base in the post-Trump era.
2022 is already looking like a losing battle for Democrats, and their growing issues with Gen Zers are salt in the wound.
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