What Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Need To Do To Win Over Gen Z

Photo: Alex Gakos & Maverick Pictures / Shutterstock
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Gen Z won Joe Biden his presidency so what can he do in return for them? 

Generation Z, who are currently between ages 8 and 23, have demonstrated their political influence and social power time and time again in the past year. They are the group driving change across social media platforms, inspiring peaceful protests, and engaging in political conversations online. 

In May 2020, when a 17-year-old filmed and shared a video of George Floyd dying in police custody in Minneapolis, millions of young people incited protests across the globe in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

Later that summer, a prank conceptualized on TikTok to reserve seats at a pro-Trump rally in Tulsa resulted in a nearly empty stadium at the first of many fails in the President’s 2020 election campaign. 

Then, as election day rolled around in November, exit polls showed a record-breaking number of young voters, 65% of whom voted to make Joe Biden their President. 

If we didn’t know it already, election results proved that Gen Z was one of the most powerful weapons in Biden’s political arsenal. But the relationship will have to work both ways. 

Inauguration Day will be a win for this age group who have fought hard to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris replace President Donald Trump and Mike Pence. A rare moment of solace for a generation who often feel disillusioned by political prospects.

But as all good budding social and political activists know, the quest for change is an uphill climb and Joe Biden will have to do more than win the election in order to keep Gen Z on his side.

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What can Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do for Gen Z?

After a year of racial reckonings, a global health crisis, disastrous climate damage, and domestic terrorism, Gen Z have understandably high expectations for our 46th President. 

A survey conducted by Yubo, a social media app popular among Gen Z, spoke to over 19,000 13 to 25-year-olds and revealed key areas that current and prospective voters will be watching closely in the next 4 years. 

For 74% of Gen Z, racial justice is at the top of their list of concerns. 

The Biden-Harris administration has made their plans to address this issue clear: Economic proposals aimed at addressing income inequality with Black and Latino communities offer some solutions to Gen Z’s worries. 

But it could be Biden’s criminal justice and police reform strategies that garner the most attention as Gen Z struggles against the double-standard between how different races experience policing. 

Gen Z was outraged by the Capitol protests and 77% of survey respondents believe the rioters would have been treated differently if they were from Black or other POC groups.

Social media users and Gen Z threw their support behind the Defund The Police Movement following George Floyd’s death. Joe Biden must be prepared to redirect police funding into education, healthcare, and mental health services if he expects supporters of this movement to stay on his side. 

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Healthcare accessibility was another top priority concern for 62% of respondents. 

Many of Gen Z are experiencing an economic downturn for the second time before they even reach adulthood. Hence, they are concerned about their ability to access healthcare in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Biden has suggested his presidency will pave the way to a Medicare-For-All system but it will be the youngest generation who will pay the highest price if this plan doesn’t come to fruition. 

As vaccine rollouts continue across America, Gen Z will likely be waiting with bated breath to see people of all economic and social backgrounds have access to this healthcare.

Though they backed him in the polling stations, Gen Z might be quick to change their tune if their choice of President doesn’t live up to his promises. 

This age group is keeping their standards high.

43% of survey respondents said they were “unsure” whether the Biden administration will make a difference for minority groups in the US.

Gen Z has been frustrated by Trump supporters blindly following the President in spite of his shortcomings and they are not likely to display the same kind of chauvinism when it comes to Biden and Harris. 

For many young people, Biden was the ideal candidate, just the best of a bad bunch. Because of this, Gen Z has vowed to hold Biden accountable

They have achieved their primary goal of getting Trump out of office and are ready to move on to key social justice areas that Biden will have to work hard to improve.  

After a tense Trump presidency, a national exhale is deserved but Gen Z will not let the next 4 years go to waste, and neither, they hope, will Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.