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Opinion: Gen-Z is the generational force our country needs right now

With Joe Biden’s triumphant win over Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, in which Biden won ten out of the fourteen possible states, it became clear just how much of a generational divide exists in this country. The evidence was set out explicitly; Gen-Z is overwhelmingly the most disruptive and diverse voting group that our country has ever witnessed. Exit polls showed Bernie winning the 18-29 voting bloc staggeringly with 63% compared to Biden’s small 17% grasp on the youth vote. Additionally, Sanders scored big wins in the very liberal (+31), Hispanic/Latino (+7), Asian (+23%) and favorable view of socialism (+15) demographics in The Washington Post’s exit polling results from the Super Tuesday contest, with most of these questions giving us a hint of why exactly Bernie Sanders was able to win these voting blocs in conjunction with the 18-29 voting bloc. According to a poll published by Axios, 61% of Gen-Z members aged between 18 and 24 have a positive reaction to the word "socialism," as compared to 58% with the word “capitalism.” Furthermore, even as Gen-Z might most commonly identify themselves as independents and nonpartisans, most polls would lead us to believe otherwise. Their views often coincide closely with those of their generational allies, the Millennials, in polls reported by the Pew Research Center. Consequently, the most stark difference between Gen-Z and Millennials is their heightened ability to break away from party lines to support ideas from across the aisle, making them more bipartisan by nature. A great example of this in Republican politics can be seen in Gen-Z Republicans, with 43% of them saying that African-Americans are not treated fairly, a 13% jump from Millennials and a more than doubled percentage when compared to Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation. These results greatly highlight Gen-Z’s trend of agreeableness between themselves. Even as most of these results can be attributed to Gen-Z’s vast population of non-white voters in both of the major political parties, it is still important to realize what course of events might of lead us to this. There is no doubt within me that the future of this country and its political parties stands on the shoulders of this vibrant new generational group who most certainly will grow into holding the 2016 election to the same regard and gravity as what the fall of the Berlin Wall represented for Gen-X and older Millennials. Gen-Z has come to age in a post 9/11 society and in the middle of the information age where they have learned through their environment to distrust most forms of media. Moreover, they have currently been witnessing the disruption of democracy as we know it due to both the left’s and the right’s subversive policies and backdoor partisan deal hacking. All of this has consequently silenced Gen-Z as a group despite representing the future of this country and having to endeavor in what is now possibly one of the hardest education and job markets in history. Together with all of this, the only pragmatic solution to this issue of representation may be the creation of organizations not only aimed toward Gen-Zers such as myself but also led and created by Gen-Zers. It is in this pivotal place that YACU, the Young Americans Coalition for Unity, stands. It gives young people like me, under the umbrella term of Gen-Z, a place to voice our political opinions and join other similarly open-minded people, as well as a safe bipartisan place to discuss new ideas. Take me for example: an 18-year Hispanic voter from the state of North Carolina. Before ever being involved in YACU, my primary ambition as a high school student was working in the confines of my community and advocating for the rights of illegal immigrants and the Dreamers. I did this primarily through volunteering and writing on issues like these in my school’s writing and Hispanic culture groups, eventually going as far as helping co-write and publish two books on these issues with my classmates with the support of NC State University. What I kept witnessing, however, was how even as my views on the rights of Dreamers and illegal immigrants may seem nonpartisan, it’s issues like these that have been weaponized by both the left and the right in political negotiations in order to keep voters retained to their party or to use as bargaining tools to accomplish adjacent goals. To me, it was important to be able to find an organization that valued its members’ opposing views just as much as their congruent ones and didn’t just hide behind the label of nonpartisan, but rather upheld its bipartisanship as its true strength. We, Gen-Z, as a generation, are not afraid of discussing the legitimate issues and even less so with people of different perspectives. Nor are we afraid of finding our own place from which to take action and commit to service. It is all these attributes that pushed us toward voting for a certain candidate instead of another. Even as that candidate may have not been the same for everyone, it is still clear who the winner here is and whose ideas will continue to resonate with the entire electorate in years to come. One thing remains certain: Gen-Z is the only generational force that can turn around this country towards a better direction.

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