A Youth Wave Sweeping This Nation

A youth wave is sweeping this nation, and yesterday was just the beginning.

Voters ages 18-29 turned out in huge numbers. Early voting results show a 188% increase in youth voting from the 2014 midterm – the largest increase of any age group. Young people are outraged by politicians whose rhetoric and actions embolden extremist bigots. They don’t accept this world of racism, misogyny, transphobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism, nor the violence and harm that goes along with it. In record numbers, they voted for change.

A record number of women, people of color, and new candidates ran this year, and the election saw many firsts: Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women in Congress; Sharice Davids, the first Native woman in Congress; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress; and Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected as governor.

Positive ballot initiatives passed in several states. Massachusetts voters passed an initiative that affirmed protections for trans people from discrimination. Former felons getting the right to vote in Florida is a step forward in a country that imprisons Black men at horrifically disproportionate rates. Maryland will allow same-day voter registration in future elections.

And Democrats now hold a majority in the House of Representatives.

Of course, there is a lot of work to be done. Voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved, via ballot measure, sweeping amendments to state constitutions that could put major limitations on access to abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. Candidates who oppose many tenets of Advocates’ Youth Policy Agenda and many aspects of basic human rights won important races. But young people have proven that they will fight these fights and win. They are a formidable opponent for those who would continue to spread the President’s message of hate and oppression. Young people are leaving no one behind in the fight for health, justice, and safety for all. Work with them – or get out of their way.