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A Breakdown on the Key 2020 Election Issues Through Gen Z’s Perspective

The months leading up to the November 3 election can feel overwhelming, which makes sense with the ongoing political conflicts and unceasing amount of media coverage being thrown at us every day. As college students we might be forced to confront unsettling headlines about national events relating to immigration policy, presidential statements, and social injustices. There are so many varying issues happening around the world, and oftentimes, it can ignite feelings of anxiety. It’s only natural for us to feel curious about the future, our place within it, and what upcoming hurdles we might have to face. 

As I scrolled through my different social media accounts, I decided to take a deeper look into what young activists were advocating for across my timeline. That forced me to think about why it’s important to continue discussing these endless political issues reported to us daily. My peers and I need to understand that every moment now will spark a chain reaction, ultimately impacting Gen Z as a whole down the line – we won’t always be in college, and we will have other issues to worry about.

These are the big issues Gen Z is concerned with this year, and here’a breakdown on what you need to know about each one. 

Climate change

The Australian bushfires have been heartbreaking and terrifying to witness. Its almost been more than a month since this crisis sparked worldwide concern, and certain areas of the continent still continue to burn. Over a billion animals have been killed and 17.9 million acres of land have been destroyed by the fires. Many people who wanted to help opted to offer monetary donations, while others shared posts on social media about the fires in hopes of reaching a bigger audience. The fires raised a significant amount of awareness directed towards climate change. Not only did Australia alert attention for fast action, it emphasized the need to find a solution as we question our impact on the environment.

Young activists like Greta ThunbergAutumn Peltier and Flint’s Mari Copeny are amplifying the conversation to reinforce the urgency surrounding our planet’s current standing. Also, pay attention to the fact that scientists are predicting that if humans don’t take immediate, collective action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, the consequences will effectively be irreversible. 

Reproductive rights

Gen Z’s worry about reproductive rights stems from the combination of choice and access. President Trump’s conservative anti-abortion agenda has been reflected in his political actions since 2017. In fact, last weekend, the President reinforced his anti-abortion sentiments when he spoke at the March for Life rally—something no sitting U.S. President has ever attended. At the annual rally, Trump made a statement saying, “The far left is actively working to erase our God-given rights [and] silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.” His political stance was also recently echoed in his decision to provide funding for a Texas health program that does not allow doctors to perform or even promote abortions, something the Obama administration refused to fund due to the belief that such actions would be a violation of federal law. 

Internet privacy 

We all know at least one person with a sticker on their webcam because they’re worried about virtual peeping. Because consumer habits are being sold and our personal data is being hacked, these fears aren’t irrational. In this day and age, vital information isn’t accessible without the internet’s support. This raises the question of where all the information that gets put on the web ends up going. In fact, a lot of the information that you put onto the internet has the potential to be sold to a third party. People are correct to be concerned about their information getting into the wrong hands. Considering that Gen Z has been raised during period of online advancements, it’s only natural to be mindful about it. 

President Trump

One thing that should never be up for debate are basic human rights. A major concern surrounding our current president is the way he navigates conversation surrounding women, immigrants, and climate change. Polling numbers show us that Gen Z might assumes that Trump’s attitude contributes to a more conservative worldview pushes society backwards in regard to equality. There are so many communities that suffer from decisions based on these values. 

While these issues can be scary, infuriating, and even frustrating, they require our undivided attention. What we fight for right now will impact our generation and those that extend past us. If you weren’t thinking about these issues before, start thinking about them now. Do some major research, and talk about them with friends who can ease the anxieties and perhaps extend your scope of knowledge.

Pravieena is a Global Development Studies Major and Gender Studies Minor at Queen's University. A few things she is passionate about are: writing, music, television, and chicken nuggets. Her not-so-guilty-pleasure will always be reality TV.