President Biden is having a terrible time with young voters, which is making Democrats more concerned that they would lose a generation if he doesn’t do something to change it.
Democrats as a whole are less favourable toward Biden, but the numbers among voters under 30 are in freefall.
According to a recent New York Times-Siena College poll, 94% of Democratic primary voters between the ages of 18 and 29 believe that the party should not select Biden in 2024.
Younger Democrats rallied around Biden, 79, to help him win the White House in 2020 despite the fact that he had never been their preferred choice. The president had backed important progressive policy ideas to address climate change and other challenges.
Now, according to the polls, they might completely turn against him out of irritation about Washington’s lack of action on issues like abortion rights and climate change.
According to Ellen Sciales, communications director for the Sunrise Movement, a group of young climate activists, “a lot of the young folks I’m talking to in especially right now are asking what the point is of having a Democratic trifecta if our rights are still being stolen away.”
“Like, what good is voting, anyway? And it goes without saying that we are encouraging people to cast their ballots, but that will make our tasks much more difficult, she added.
Young voters gave Biden high scores at the beginning of his presidency. However, a Gallup survey conducted in April revealed that between the beginning of his presidency and this past March, Biden’s approval rating had fallen by 19 percentage points among millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and by 21 percentage points among members of Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2004).
The president’s age is a major topic of discussion when it comes to Biden and young voters. Should he be elected again, he would be 81 when his second term as president began.
However, a New York Times-Siena College study found that in 2024, young Democrats would choose someone other than Biden because of his work performance, not because of his age.
The study found that young Democrats were the least inclined to mention Biden’s advanced age as the primary justification for wanting new blood.
According to Democratic strategist Eddie Vale, “I think it’s about ideas rather than age.”
He and other Democrats point out that many young Democratic voters in 2020 supported progressive senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Remember when it was fashionable to admire the late Sen. Robert Byrd for his opposition to the war? And Bernie is clearly not a youngster. However, young people have the same general economic problems as everyone else, but these problems are harder for them since they lack savings, a home, a stable job, etc., added Vale.
He and others contend that after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Biden could get greater support from younger Americans by taking more concrete measures to defend access to abortion.
Last week, Biden made an executive order public that would protect women who travel outside of their state for abortions from lawsuits while still protecting access to emergency care, contraception, and abortion drugs.
Young Democratic voters stated they wanted more concrete action on abortion during a focus group Ashley Aylward, a research manager at the public opinion firm HIT tactics, claimed she held last week, before Biden’s executive order.
They merely want an excuse to feel relieved that those in positions of authority are truly standing up for them, according to Aylward.
Aylward noted that young Democrats are often looking for increased diversity in their elected officials.
Since we’ve been speaking with young people even in 2020, she claimed, they choose candidates that resemble them.
In the lead-up to the November midterm elections, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has highlighted a number of initiatives designed to encourage young people to cast their ballots. The DNC announced the creation of a “social ambassador programme” to educate young volunteers about social media. The organisation also announced plans to organise youth voter education sessions starting at the end of July, with Warren serving as a guest speaker at the first session. Additionally, the party apparatus is forming on university campuses in key electoral states including Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
Additionally, the DNC joined TikTok earlier this year in an effort to connect with more young voters via cutting-edge media.
Some claim that concerns about Biden and young voters are exaggerated and do not signal disengagement before the midterm elections.
Democratic strategist Rodell Mollineau, a former staffer to the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, remarked that “His overall ratings are a reflection of the mood of the country, and that can easily change” (D-Nev.). It may and will change, in my opinion.
According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School in April, youth turnout in the 2022 midterm elections is expected to be similar to the spike in turnout during the 2018 midterm elections.
In 2020, we had the biggest youth turnout in American history, according to Cristina Tzintzn Ramirez, president of the youth organising organisation NextGen America. “Biden was under the sea with young voters,” she added.
However, that election was different because Democrats were determined to defeat the outgoing president Trump, who, like Biden, won’t be up for election this year.
Even though these people weren’t crazy about Biden during the election, they voted because they detested Trump. But things have changed. Their financial situation is bad. They desire improved conditions, according to a Democratic strategist.
In the midterm elections, outside mobilisation organisations will be crucial. According to Tzintzn Ramirez, NexGen America is organising on more than 180 college campuses and managing a “micro-influencer programme” to take advantage of young leaders with significant platforms and support the Democratic base’s mobilisation.
Some, like Sciales, contend that passing some kind of the climate and social policy legislation, formerly known as Build Back Better, which Biden ran on but Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), scuttled in December, is essential for Democrats. To approve the legislation through the budget reconciliation procedure, which enables Democrats to get around the GOP filibuster, Biden needs the support of every Democratic senator.
Democrats have reopened negotiations on a scaled-back version of the measure, but when Manchin informed Democratic leaders on Thursday that he would oppose increased spending for climate projects or tax increases in the package, it seemed as though there was no chance of a resolution.
Additionally, Biden must decide whether to endorse a proposal that is well-liked by the left and the public: expanding student loan forgiveness. According to the Institute of Politics research, 85% of young Americans support some form of government action to address student loan debt, while only 38% support total debt forgiveness.
“The majority of young voters are progressive. According to Tzintzn Ramirez, the public wants to see “strong structural change on climate change, the economy, and looking at things like eliminating student debt, boosting the minimum wage, and taxing the wealthiest fairly. Additionally, young people worry about racial fairness.