MetroFocus: September 20, 2022

HOW YOUNG VOTERS COULD SWING THE 2022 MIDTERMS 

Tonight, we take you inside the youth movement shaking up American politics.  Why younger voters are fed up with their much older leaders and what that could mean for the upcoming 2022 midterms.  Plus, what we are still learning about Gen Z and the issues that matter to them most.  Joining us to discuss these issues are:  John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and author of “Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America,” and Brianna Cea, executive director and founder of Generation Vote, which mobilizes thousands of young people across the country to fight for voting rights.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, THE YOUTH MOVEMENT SHAKING UP AMERICAN POLITICS.

WHY YOUNGER VOTERS ARE FED UP WITH THEIR MUCH OLDER LEADERS.

AND WHAT WE'RE STILL LEARNING ABOUT GENZ AND THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO THEM MOST.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

YOUNG VOTERS WILL ONCE AGAIN PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN DECIDING THE COUNTRY'S FUTURE, AND IF YOU BELIEVE RECENT POLLING, MANY OF THEM ARE FED UP WITH MUCH OF THEIR OLDER LEADERS.

A 'NEW YORK TIMES' SIENNA COLLEGE SURVEY FOUND 1% TO 18 TO 29-YEAR-OLDS STRONGLY APPROVE OF THE WAY PRESIDENT BIDEN IS DOING HIS JOB.

HARVARD YOUTH'S POLL SHOW VOTERS COULD MATCH THE RECORD TURNOUT OF 2018 AND CONTROL CONGRESS.

HOW WILL THIS ALL PLAY OUT IN NOVEMBER?

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES DRIVING GEN Z TO THE BALLOT BOX, AND WHAT ARE WE GETTING WRONG ABOUT THIS GENERATION?

FOR THOSE ANSWERS LET'S WELCOME TWO EXPERTS.

FIRST, JOHN IS DIRECTOR OF POLLING AT HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND ONE OF THE LEADING AUTHORITIES ON THE OPINIONS OF YOUNG AMERICANS.

JOHN, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME, JEN.

IT'S SO GREAT TO BE HERE.

JOHN IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF 'FIGHT, HOW GEN Z IS CHANNELLING THEIR FEAR AND PASSION TO SAVE AMERICA.'

. I'D ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME BRIE SEEYA, MOBILIZING THOUSANDS AROUND THE COUNTRY TO FIGHT FOR VOTING RIGHTS.

BRIE, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

AND AS A FELLOW GEN Z I'M EXCITED TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES AFFECTING MY PEERS AND OUR GENERATION.

SPEAKING OF THAT, I DO WANT TO GO BACK TO JOHN FIRST AND ASK, LET'S JUST SAY, JOHN, YOU HAVE TO WRONG HAIR TYPE TO BE A SPOKESPERSON FOR GEN Z.

HOW DID YOU BECOME -- BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE.

YOU DID POLLING FOR THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN, CORRECT?

YES, I WAS A MEMBER OF THE BIDEN POLLING TEAM.

THERE WERE FIVE OF US.

I WAS FOCUSED, MY JOB SPECIFICALLY, ON YOUNGER AMERICANS, MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z.

I GUESS I DO HAVE TOO MUCH SALT WITH THE PEPPER IN MY HAIR, BUT I STARTED BACK 21 YEARS AGO.

IT WAS NEVER MY IDEA AS A POLLSTER TO FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY, AT LEAST AT HARVARD ON YOUNGER PEOPLE.

IT WAS THE IDEA OF TWO 19-YEAR-OLDS, TWO SOPHOMORES WHO WERE THE OLDEST MILLENNIALS BACK 20, 21 YEARS AGO, AND THEY WERE INTERESTED IN THE SEEMING DISCONNECT BETWEEN VOLUNTEERISM, COMMUNITY SERVICE, AND VOTING.

THE QUESTION THEY ASKED US AT THE IOP IS, WE WANT TO DO A SURVEY, AND DON'T OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR GENERATION UNDERSTAND IF WE VOLUNTEER AND VOTE WE CAN SEE SOLUTIONS TO THE CHALLENGES THAT FACE US MUCH QUICKER THAN IF WE JUST DO ONE OR THE OTHER?

THAT WAS A ONE SEMESTER PROJECT BACK IN THE SPRING OF 2000, AND 40 SOMETHING SEMESTERS LATER, TWO GENERATIONS, WE'RE STILL DOING IT.

AND ALSO I SHOULD SAY, NO SHADE ON THE SALT AND PEPPER, WE DO LIKE A LITTLE SALT IN THE PEPPER ON 'METROFOCUS.'

BRIE, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

I FEEL LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE WE'VE HEARD ABOUT GEN Z, A LOT OF PERHAPS OLDER AMERICANS, MILLENNIALS, GEN X, BOOMERS, MIGHT FIND GEN Z A TOUCH CHALLENGING TO WORK WITH.

WHAT IS BEING MISUNDERSTOOD BY OLDER AMERICANS?

ABSOLUTELY.

I WANT TO SAY, ON NOTE OF SALT AND PEPPER, I HAVE SOME GRAYS MYSELF, JOHN.

I'M 25.

MAYBE IT'S THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY THAT'S CAUSING THIS, BUT NO SHADE ON THE SALT AND PEPPER AS WELL.

BUT IN TERMS OF UNDERSTANDING GENERATION Z, WHAT ISSUES MY FRIENDS CARE ABOUT, I FEEL LIKE A LOT OF THE MISCONCEPTION OF YOUNG VOTERS SURROUNDING THIS IDEA THAT THE YOUNG PEOPLE WITH JUST ACTIVE ONLINE, RIGHT?

AND WHEN IT COMES TO ACTUALLY GOING OUT TO VOTE IN CRUCIAL ELECTIONS LIKE THESE UPCOMING MIDTERMS, THE PRIMARIES THESE PAST FEW MONTHS, OLDER FOLKS TONED TO THINK THAT GEN Z IS ONLY ACTIVE ONLINE AND WE'RE APATHETIC WHEN IT COMES TO ACTUALLY GOING TO THE BALLOT BOX AND MAKING OUR VOICES HEARD.

BUT THAT TRULY ISN'T THE CASE.

I THINK ONE THING THAT IS SUPER IMPORTANT TO EMPHASIZE IS WE DO WANT TO MAKE OUR ISSUES HEARD ON ISSUES WE CARE ABOUT, RANGING FROM ABORTION TO LGBTQ RIGHTS TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.

BUT THERE ARE SO MANY SYSTEMIC BARRIERS THAT ARE IN PLACE ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT MAKE IT HARDER FOR OUR GENERATION TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD AND ACTUALLY HAVE ACCESS TO THE INSTITUTIONS THAT GOVERN OUR FUTURES.

SO WHEN IT COMES TO UNDERSTANDING THE YOUTH VOTE, DO KNOW THAT WE ARE PASSIONATE, BUT WE ACTUALLY JUST DID -- WE'RE HAVING A BRIEFING ON OUR OWN REPORT ON PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH WITH YOUNG PEOPLE TOMORROW, AND THE REPORT BASICALLY SHOWS THAT OUR GENERATION CARES ABOUT ISSUES.

WE'RE JUST STRUGGLING WITH DEALING WITH THESE BARRIERS IN PLACE THAT MAKE IT HARDER TO REGISTER TO VOTE.

JOHN, I WANT TO SEE HOW MUCH OF THAT SYNCS WITH WHAT YOUR RESEARCH FOUND.

ESPECIALLY WHEN BRIE MENTIONED A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK GEN Z IS JUST ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

I KNOW THAT WAS PREVALENT AFTER THE PARKLAND SHOOTING.

THOSE KIDS WERE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT SOCIAL MEDIA.

HOWEVER, THAT DIDN'T ALWAYS TRANSLATE INTO PEOPLE SHOWING UP AT THE POLLS.

AND THIS ISN'T THE FIRST GENERATION THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN LIKE, YEAH, YOUNG PEOPLE DON'T VOTE.

WELL, YOU'RE RIGHT.

IF THE YOU PREDICTED THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WOULD DISAPPOINT AT THE VOTING BOOTHS EVERY ELECTION FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS, MOST OF THE TIME YOU WOULD BE RIGHT, BUT MOST OF THOSE ELECTIONS WEREN'T WITH GEN Z, THEY WERE WITH MILLENNIALS, BABY BOOMERS AND NOW GEN Z.

WHEN THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME, THERE WAS A DOUBLING IN THE PARTICIPATION IN THE 2018 MIDTERMS.

FROM THE MID-'80s TO 2014 ON AVERAGE, LESS THAN 1 IN 5 YOUNGER PEOPLE TURNED OUT TO VOTE, YOUNGER DEFINED AS 18 TO 29-YEAR-OLDS.

THAT WAS A DOUBLING OF THAT.

IF IT WAS A THIRD, THAT COULD BE MUCH HIGHER.

THAT WAS HISTORIC IN THE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS.

FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS LATER TO 2020, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, WE SAW A MAJORITY OF 18 TO 29-YEAR-OLDS ALSO VOTE.

SO AGAIN, HISTORICAL CONTEXT IS ALWAYS HELPFUL, BUT WE HAVE A NEW CHAPTER NOW IN YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, AND THERE IS AN URGENCY TO WHAT THIS GENERATION IS, AS WE'RE HEARING NOW, THERE'S AN URGENCY TO THIS FIGHT.

THEY'RE USING ALL MEANS NECESSARY TO DIG IN TO TRY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS FACING AMERICA, STARTING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY.

BUT NOT ENDING THERE, INCLUDING VOTING AT LEVELS WE HAVEN'T SEEN.

BRIE, I WANT THE GO BACK TO YOU AND GET A SENSE A WHAT MAKES THE URGENCY DIFFERENT THIS TIME.

I'M SURE A LOT OF PEOPLE, MILLENNIAL THROUGH BOOMER, IF YOU ASK THEM, IF THEY LOOK BACK ON THEIR LIVES, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT BEING 18 TO 25 THAT'S ALMOST LIKE A HEIGHTENED EXPERIENCE.

SO OF COURSE EVERYTHING FEELS MORE URGENT.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF BOOMERS AT THAT POINT IN THEIR LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN PROTESTING THINGS LIKE THE VIETNAM WAR AND PARTICIPATING IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA.

SO, WHAT MAKES THIS UNIQUE?

YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

SO, I THINK WHAT MAKES GEN Z UNIQUE AND THE URGENCY THAT MANY OF US BRING TO ACTIVISM, WHETHER IT BE ONLINE OR OUT ON THE FRONT LINES FIGHTING FOR VOTING RIGHTS.

OR MY FRIENDS ON THE FRONT LINES FIGHTING FOR ABORTION ACCESS, I THINK WHAT MAKES IT URGENT IS THAT THIS HAS BEEN WITH US SINCE OUR CHILDHOOD.

WE ARE THE GENERATION THAT GREW UP DOING GUN DRILL IN OUR SCHOOLS, HIDING FROM POTENTIAL ACTIVE SHOOTERS.

WE'RE THE GENERATION THAT -- MY FRIENDS MAKE MEMES ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF NOT BEING ABLE TO OWN PROPERTY AND NOT HAVING FULL FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE, AND WE'VE GROWN UP WITH THIS IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, FIGHTING NOT ONLY THIS IDEA, NOT BEING FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT, BUT ALSO WILL WE EVEN HAVE A HOUSE WHEN THE WORLD IS BURNING IN THE CLIMATE CRISIS THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH?

I THINK THE CLIMATE CRISIS YOU SEE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY GEN Z BRING TO THIS MOMENT, IT'S BEEN WITH US SINCE WE WERE YOUNG.

NOW THAT WE'VE GONE THROUGH POLITICAL AWAKENING, GONE THROUGH THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, MIDTERMS IN 2018 TO 2020, A LOT OF US ARE FINALLY BEING ABLE TO VOTE AND ALSO RUN OUR OWN ORGANIZATIONS THAT RAISE THE URGENCY AND THE TYPE OF MESSAGES THAT IS NEEDED TO GET OUR PEERS TO TRANSLATE WHAT WE CARE ABOUT TO ACTUAL ACTION.

BUT I THINK IT'S BEEN WITH US THIS WHOLE TIME, JUST BASED ON OUR CIRCUMSTANCES SINCE WE WERE KIDS.

JOHN, DOES THAT TRACK THAT SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU WERE MENTIONING ARE UNIQUE TO GEN Z, YOU KNOW WORK FINANCIAL CRISIS AFTER FINANCIAL CRISIS?

JUST SO MANY OTHER URGENCIES -- THE WEALTH INEQUALITY GAP BEING AS BAD AS IT WAS AROUND THE GUILDED AGE, EXCUSE ME, ET CETERA.

BUT ARE THOSE -- IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE FINDING, THAT THOSE ARE DEFINITELY UNIQUE FOR THE EXPERIENCES GEN Z HAS?

WELL, I DO THINK THERE'S A THAT COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCE.

A GENERATION IS DEFINED AS A GROUP OF YOUNGER PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER WITH A SHARED SET OF EXPERIENCES.

AND SADLY, ONE OF THOSE SHARED SET OF EXPERIENCES IS REALLY NEVER FEELING COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE, WHETHER IT'S THE STRESS OF BEING A YOUNG PERSON AT HOME, WHEN POTENTIALLY PARENTS AND NEIGHBORS AND FAMILY ARE DEALING WITH THE IMPACT OF THE GREAT RECESSION, WHEN 80% OF FAMILIES LOST 20% A THEIR NET WORTH, OR SCHOOL SHOOTER DRILLS TO THE CONCERNS ABOUT OPIOIDS, SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION.

THIS IS A GENERATION THAT HAS ALWAYS, AS I SAID, FELT UNCOMFORTABLE.

A LOT OF GENERATIONS HAVE STRESS AND TRAUMA, AND I DON'T MEAN TO TAKE AWAY OR BELITTLE ANY OTHER GENERATION'S STRUGGLE.

HOWEVER, THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN, I THINK, THE LAST THREE OR FOUR GENERATIONS AND THIS GENERATION, THAT DESPITE THE STRUGGLES OF VIETNAM OR CIVIL RIGHTS, ET CETERA, LARGE GROUPS OF AMERICANS ALSO SAW OUR COUNTRY AT ITS BEST.

THEY ALSO REMEMBER A DAY IN WHICH AMERICA WAS TRULY UNITED.

THIS GENERATION, GEN Z, THEY DON'T HAVE A MEMORY OF SEPTEMBER 12th, SEPTEMBER 13th, THE DAY AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS WHEN AMERICA WAS UNITED.

THEY HAVEN'T SEEN AMERICA AT OUR BEST.

SO, WE JUST NEED TO HAVE THAT PERSPECTIVE, I THINK, WHEN WE KIND OF QUESTION THEIR MOTIVES AND ATTITUDES ABOUT AMERICA AND ABOUT AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.

AND WHY I THINK THEY COULD BE THE NEXT GREAT GENERATION, DESPITE THAT, THEY'RE NOT MERELY TURNING AWAY, THEY'RE DOING THE OPPOSITE.

THEY'RE USING ALL OF THEIR ENERGY TO MAKE AMERICA BETTER.

EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVEN'T SEEN IT AT ITS -- AT OUR BEST.

NOW THAT WE'VE SORT OF LAID OUT THE ISSUES LOOSELY DEFINING THE CONCERNS OF GEN Z AND AT LEAST WHAT'S DRAWING THEM TO BE POLITICALLY ENGAGED RIGHT NOW, BRIE, I MENTION IN THE INTRO THAT Y'ALL HAVE HAD IT WITH THE LARGELY SEPTUAGENARIANS RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT.

SO WHAT IS THE DISCONNECT THAT AT LEAST FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE YOU SEE BETWEEN WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE IN AMERICA ARE FACING, EXPERIENCING AND CONCERNED ABOUT, AND THE WAY THAT, THE AGAIN, LIKE I SAID, MOSTLY 70 SOMETHING-YEAR-OLD GOVERNMENT IS HANDLING IT?

ABSOLUTELY.

I THINK WHAT COMES TOP OF MIND WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE THINK OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, WHO DO TEND TO BE WITHIN THAT 70-YEAR-OLD, 80-YEAR-OLD, 60-YEAR-OLD AGE RANGE, A LOT OF THE FRUSTRATION I THINK COMES FROM US BEING FRUSTRATED AT THEIR LACK OF IMAGINATION, THE LACK AFTER IMAGINATION TO QUESTION INSTITUTIONS AND TO REIMAGINE WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE TO ACTUALLY HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT REFLECTS THE MOST DIVERSE GENERATION IN ALL TERMS, ETHNICALLY, RACIALLY, GENDER ORIENTATION WISE, ACTUALLY REFLECT WHAT WE CARE ABOUT.

AND I CAN SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE THROUGH THIS.

I STARTED MY YEAR IN 2022 ON THE CAPITOL WHERE MY TEAM AND I WENT DOWN TO D.C. AND DID A STRIKE FOR DEMOCRACY WHERE WE PUT OUR BODIES ON THE LINE.

WE DIDN'T EAT FOOD FOR ABOUT A WEEK BECAUSE WE WERE URGING THE U.S. SENATE TO PASS THE -- AT THE TIME THE FREEDOM TO VOTE JOHN R. LEWIS ACT, AND WE WERE PLEADING WITH A LOT OF OUR REPRESENTATIVES, SENATOR SCHUMER, WHO'S MY REPRESENTATIVE IN NEW YORK, AND OTHERS TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO OVERCOME ARCHAIC RULES LIKE THE FILIBUSTER IN ORDER TO PASS THE MOST, WHAT WE BELIEVE, CONSEQUENTIAL VOTING RIGHTS BILL SINCE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

THE GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE I BROUGHT TO D.C., WE PUT OUR BODIES ABOUT LINE BECAUSE WE WERE FED UP.

WE THOUGHT IF WE COULD GO OUT THERE AND SHOW WE WERE WILLING TO SACRIFICE MAYBE -- MAYBE THE OLDER GENERATIONS IN CONGRESS WILL SYMPATHIZE AND PASS THIS BILL.

AND UNFORTUNATELY, AS YOU ALL MAY KNOW, THE U.S. SENATE DID FAIL TO PASS THIS REALLY IMPORTANT VOTING RIGHTS BILL THAT WILL -- THAT WOULD HAVE ENSURED THAT FUTURE ELECTIONS WILL BE ACCESSIBLE TO OUR GENERATION, WHICH IN TURN AFFECTS THOSE THAT REPRESENT US.

AFTER THE HUNGER STRIKE I HEARD FROM SO MANY YOUNG FOLKS WHO ARE FED UP.

THEY SAID, WE PUT OUR BODIES OF THE THERE AND NOTHING WAS DONE.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IS MAKING SURE WE KEEP UP THE ENERGY AND MOMENTUM SINCE THE NATIONAL HUNGER STRIKE FOR DEMOCRACY AND BRING THAT TO THE STATE LEVEL.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE OUR GENERATION UNDERSTANDS FROM CONGRESS DOWN TO STATE LEGISLATURES WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD.

THOSE IN GOVERNMENT, EVEN IF THEY ARE 50 YEARS OLDER THAN US, HAVE THEIR FEET HELD TO THE FIRE ON VOTING RIGHTS TO OTHER BILLS YOUNG PEOPLE MIGHT BE VOTING FOR.

JOHN, YOU'VE DONE POLLING, INTERVIEWED AND SPOKEN WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.

YOUNG PEOPLE ACTUALLY VOTED FOR PRESIDENT BIDEN, WHO MIGHT BE OUR OLDEST PRESIDENT, DEPENDING ON WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE.

WITH WHAT YOU JUST HEARD FROM BRIE, DOES THAT TRACK WITH WHAT YOU'RE HEARING FROM YOUNG FOLKS ABOUT THEIR CURRENT CROP OF LEADERS?

ESPECIALLY BRIE'S POINT AROUND IMAGINATION OR CREATIVITY.

I THINK THAT HAS BECOME AN EVEN GREATER ISSUE IN THE COURSE OF THIS SUMMER IN TERMS OF REACTION FROM THE DOBBS RULING.

THAT'S REALLY WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE WERE ASKING FOR.

I'M EXCITED PERSONALLY THAT TURNING OUT THE VOTE IS BEGINNING TO INJECT A GREATER LEVEL OF REPRESENTATION INTO CONGRESS ALREADY.

YOU KNOW, RECENTLY WE SAW MAXWELL FROST, WHO IS LIKELY TO BE -- HE COMES FROM A RELATIVELY SAFE DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT IN CENTRAL FLORIDA IN THE ORLANDO AREA.

HE'S LIKELY TO BE THE FIRST MEMBER OF GEN Z TO BE A MEMBER OF CONGRESS.

ALSO THE FIRST AFRO-CUBAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS, SOMEONE WHO CAME OF AGE IN POLITICS, ORGANIZING AFTER THE NEWTOWN SCHOOL SHOOTINGS.

HE WAS A NATIONAL ORGANIZING DIRECTOR FOR MARCH FOR OUR LIVES AFTER PARKLAND.

SO AGAIN, I DON'T THINK THAT HAPPENS -- YOU KNOW, I KNOW THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN WITHOUT YOUNG PEOPLE PARTICIPATING OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.

AND BY THE WAY, IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT COUNTRY TODAY BECAUSE OF THE WORK YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY DONE.

WITHOUT YOUNGER PEOPLE SPECIFICALLY IN MICHIGAN, ARIZONA, WISCONSIN, PENNSYLVANIA, AND GEORGIA, DONALD TRUMP WINS.

WE'RE NOT HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT CLIMATE OR SO MANY OF THE ISSUES OR GUN POLICY THAT HAVE BEEN A FOCUS OF THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS WITHOUT THE ENGAGEMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE, AND I'M HAPPY AND I BELIEVE FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT -- NOT ENOUGH, BUT STILL THERE'S A FEELING IN WASHINGTON IN CONGRESS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE DELIVERED, BACKED UP WHAT THEY SAID THEY WERE GOING TO DO, THEY VOTED AND THEY'RE GETTING MORE RESPECT TODAY THAN JUST A COUPLE YEARS AGO.

THIS QUESTION IS FOR BOTH OF YOU, BUT JOHN I'LL START WITH YOU TO GET YOUR PERSPECTIVE SINCE YOU HAVE HAD SOME TIME TO SEE A COUPLE GENERATIONS DO THIS.

BUT AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO, THAT A LOT OF THE WAY THE GEN Z VOTING IS TENDING TO GO MORE PROGRESSIVE AND DEMOCRAT, HOWEVER WE'VE SEEN OVER THE COURSE OF MANY GENERATIONS FOR A WHOLE HOST OF REASONS, SOME PEOPLE WHEN THEY GET OLDER TEND TO TURN MORE CONSERVATIVE.

IS THAT JUST ANOTHER WAVE THAT WE'RE SEEING HAPPENING HERE WHERE A GENERATION THAT STARTS OFF SUPER PROGRESSIVE AND WANT CHANGES, ET CETERA, ONCE THEY GET TO A CERTAIN POINT IN THEIR LIFE COULD CHANGE THEIR MIND AND SAY, ACTUALLY, NO, NOW THAT I HAVE KIDS AND HAVE OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES, A HOUSE, A MORTGAGE, I'VE CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE?

BECAUSE OTHER GENERATIONS HAVE DONE THAT.

I THINK THAT MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY OVERSTATED.

WHEN WE LOOK AT BABY BOOMERS, YES, THERE WAS A LOT OF ACTIVISM IN THE '60s AND '70s, BUT WHITE BABY BOOMERS HAVE BEEN PRETTY RELIABLY REPUBLICAN FROM THEIR 20s TO TODAY.

SO THERE WAS CLEARLY SOME EVOLUTION, BUT ON VALUES AND WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE VALUE, AND WHILE THEIR PARTISANSHIP SHOULD CHANGE BASED ON WHERE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY GOES, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GOES, AYE NOTICED THE SET OF VALUES THEY'VE DEVELOP READY UNLIKELY TO CHANGE.

VALUES WHERE YOUNGER PEOPLE BELIEVE GOVERNMENT HAS A ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT, FOR EXAMPLE, A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, A ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT US AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE TO HELP THE VULNERABLE, THOSE ARE VALUES THAT WERE DEVELOPED, AGAIN, OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, AND THOSE ARE UNLIKELY TO CHANGE.

PARTISANSHIP COULD, YOU KNOW, EBB AND FLOW PERHAPS, BUT THIS KIND OF SENSE OF WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR IN THEIR GOVERNMENT SOCIETY IS UNLIKELY TO SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGE.

AND BY THE WAY, WE'VE SEEN DEMOCRATS -- I MEAN WE'VE SEEN MILLENNIALS BE RELIABLELY DEMOCRATIC VOTING BLOC EVER SINCE THEY CAME OF AGE IN 2004, 2008.

LAST THING I'D SAY IS THIS GENERATION GAP IS RELATIVELY NEW.

WHEN I STARTED THIS, YOUNG PEOPLE AND SENIOR CITIZENS WERE JUST AS LIKELY TO VOTE REPUBLICAN.

TODAY WE THINK OF THE COUNTRY DIVIDES 50/50.

PEOPLE UNDER 35 VOTED A CERTAIN WAY, FOLKS OVER 50 HAVE A DIFFERENT SET OF VIEWS AND POLITICAL OPINIONS.

SO, BRIE, I MEAN, AGAIN -- YES, THAT WAS A BIT OF AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF SOME OF AT LEAST THE SOCIETAL TRENDS PEOPLE FEEL THEY'VE SEEN OVER THE YEARS, BUT DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH THIS ENERGY THAT YOU'RE SEEING AMONGST YOUR PEERS AND CONTEMPORARIES IS, NO, THIS IS JUST WHO WE ARE.

THIS IS SOMETHING PERMANENT, NOT SOMETHING WE'RE DOING NOW BECAUSE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE'RE FACING?

ABSOLUTELY.

I DEFINITELY FEEL THAT NOW WHAT MAKES OUR GENERATION DIFFERENT IS BECAUSE I THINK THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE'VE GROWN UP -- AGAIN, A LOT OF US WHO ARE ORGANIZING NOW DURING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, WHETHER WE WERE IN COLLEGE OR HIGH SCHOOL.

SO FOR US GOING OUT TO VOTE AND ORGANIZING IS SOMETHING THAT A LO OF US SEE AS CORE TO WHO WE ARE, AND TO JOHN'S POINT, THAT IS VALUE BASED, AND THAT PROBABLY WON'T GO AWAY MOVING FORWARD.

I THINK TWO THINGS I WANT TO ADD TO WHAT JOHN RAISE SECOND DOWN WHAT WE'RE SEEING INCREASINGLY AMONG GEN Z THAT MIGHT BE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER GENERATIONS IS THIS INCREASED WILLINGNESS TO UNAFFILIATE WITH POLITICAL PARTIES.

MORE AND MORE OF MY FRIENDS ARE NOT AFFILIATING WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR REPUBLICAN PARTY, AND THE REASON WHY THEY ARE NOT AFFILIATING WITH ANY POLITICAL PARTY IS BECAUSE THEY ARE, AGAIN, ISSUE DRIVEN.

THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO VOTE FOR A CANDIDATE THAT IS PRIORITIZING THEIR ISSUES ON CLIMATE JUSTICE, ON THE ECONOMY THAN THE TYPICAL ALLEGIANCE WE'VE SEEN IN OTHER GENERATIONS TO THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM.

IF THINKING ABOUT WAYS TO ENGAGE GEN Z AND EXPAND THE ELECTORATE, WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT FORMS ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE AS MANY PEOPLE ARE POSSIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS THAT ARE RIGHT NOW DESIGNED TO BENEFIT THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM, AND THAT IS INCREASINGLY NOT WORKING FOR MORE AND MORE GEN Z VOTERS WHO ARE ISSUE DRIVEN.

THE OTHER THING I WANTED TO ADD TO AN EARLIER POINT WAS THAT I DEFINITELY WANTED TO ADD THAT IT'S BECAUSE OF GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS AND YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF PROGRESS EVEN UNDERNEATH THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.

IF IT WASN'T FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT, NEXT GEN AMERICA, WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO INFLATION REDUCTION ACT.

PROBABLY NOT AS MUCH AS A LOT OF YOUNG PROGRESSIVE ACTIVISTS WOULD LIKE BUCK IT'S BECAUSE OF YOUNG PEOPLE MAKING -- AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION THAT WE GOT TO TODAY WHERE WE ARE WITH THE I.R.A., AND I THINK THE MESSAGE THERE IS GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT TO YOUNG PEOPLE, WHICH I DON'T THINK IS HAPPENING AT THE MOMENT, BUT MAYBE BEFORE THE MIDTERMS WE'LL SEE IT RAMP UP.

SPEAKING OF MESSAGINGs GETTING OUT TO YOUNG PEOPLE, OF COURSE WE'RE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION FOR PBS, HOWEVER A LOT OF THE CONVERSATION THAT GEN Z TENDS TO HAVE IS ON SOCIAL MEDIA, TIKTOK BEING ONE OF THE PLATFORMS.

WITH THAT, I WONDER, IS THERE ANY CONCERN THE WAY, THE TRADITIONAL METHODS OF REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE ARE WORKING OR ARE NOT WORKING?

BECAUSE IF THERE'S ONE THING GEN Z IS NOT VERY GOOD AT, IT'S SMELLING OUT SOMETHING THAT IS FAKE.

MM-HMM.

COMMUNICATION IS A CHALLENGE.

IT'S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUNGER PEOPLE.

EVEN IF MY OWN FIELD IN TERMS OF LIKE, HOW TO COMMUNICATE AND COLLECT DATA AND RESEARCH.

SO I THINK THE ADMINISTRATION AND FOLKS WHO CARE ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION AND POLICY AND MOVING THINGS FORWARD HAVE TO CONSTANTLY KIND OF EVOLVE.

BUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT, I THINK, IS TO ALSO APPRECIATE THE -- I THINK THAT MANY YOUNG PEOPLE I TALK TO HAVE MADE A CHOICE, BECAUSE THEY'RE BATTLING SO MUCH ANXIETY AND STRESS IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES TO OFTEN TAKE A BREAK FROM POLITICS WHICH JUST ADDS ADDITIONAL STRESS, WHICH MAKES THEM MORE DIFFICULT TO -- MORE DIFFICULT TO LOCATE AND COMMUNICATE THAT MESSAGE TO.

SO YOUNGER PEOPLE FIND ALL OF THIS TALK VERY, VERY STRESSFUL.

IT CREATES ANXIETY.

ONE WAY THEY CAN HELP CONTROL THAT IS BY TURNING AWAY.

THEY'RE ASKING FOR CHECK-INS, THOUGH.

SO ON THEIR OWN TIME, ON THEIR OWN SCHEDULE, THEY WANT TO SEE WHAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE.

SO ALL OF US, YOU KNOW, AS RESEARCHERS, AS MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, AS FOLKS AROUND GOVERNMENT, NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THOSE CHECK-INS SO YOUNG PEOPLE CAN HAVE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION TO SEE IF THEY'RE MAKING PROGRESS.

AND THE ADMINISTRATION IS KEEPING UP WITH WHAT THEY PROMISED.

YEAH.

BRIE, WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT, BUT I JUST ALSO WANT TO ADD IN TO YOU, WE KNOW THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS PLANNING ON CANCELING ABOUT $10,000 WORTH OF STUDENT DEBT.

DO YOU SEE THAT HAVING THE IMPACT THAT AT LEAST IS INTENDED WITH SWAYING YOUNGER VOTERS?

I THINK THAT THAT IS THE HOPE.

I THINK THAT THERE IS A HOPE AMONGST THE ADMINISTRATION AND MORE BROADLY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THAT THIS NEWS OF CANCELING UP TO 10K OF COLLEGE DEBT AND EXTENDING THE REPAYMENT TO AFTER THE MIDTERMS IS A WAY TO MOBILIZE YOUNG THEM TO VOTE.

BUT TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, I AM DOUBTFUL THAT THAT IS GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO OVERCOME THE DISILLUSIONMENT THAT WE'RE SEEING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE ADMINISTRATION.

I SAY THAT BECAUSE MANY OF THE ALLIES THAT WE WORK WITH AT GENERATION VOTE ARE CALLING FOR THE ADMINISTRATION TO CANCEL UP TO 50K WORTH OF DEBT, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT THAT IS THE MINIMUM AMOUNT THAT SHOULD BE CANCELED THAT WOULD ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF YOUNG P.O.C. VOTERS, ESPECIALLY YOUNG BLACK VOTERS.

WHAT I'M HEARING IS IT'S A TEPID YAY THAT THIS IS HAPPENING, IT'S SOME PROGRESS, BUT IT UNDERSCORES AGAIN, YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR BEING LEFT OUT OF THE CONVERSATION.

WELL, UNFORTUNATELY I HATE TO CUT YOU OFF, BRIE, BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE BECAUSE WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF GENERATION VOTE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

AND ALSO JOHN DE LA VULPE, DIRECTOR OF POLLING AT THE HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF POLITICS.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING SCHOOL BUS GIVING US PERSPECTIVE ON A VOTING BLOC THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE WATCHING AS HE WED INTO THE NOVEMBER MIDTERMS.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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