The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The 2022 midterms happened a couple weeks ago, and Gen Z is largely to thank for the results. After weeks of Republicans stating that there would be a “red wave,” the results have proven otherwise. The Senate was expected to flip in favor of the Republicans, but after Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania, thus flipping the seat blue, the Democrats are projected to keep the Senate. The House was called in favor of the Republicans and while there are still some races left to be called, the Republican majority will be by only a few seats. This is far from the 30-40 seat majority many Republicans were anticipating.
As I said, Gen Z and young people in general are a major reason for these results. According to an URGE poll, 74% of people aged 18-34 prioritized abortion access when voting. On top of that, according to exit polling, 1 in 8 voters were under 30, with over 50% of those people voting for Democrats. Abortion rights were a major issue going into this midterm, with each party taking strikingly different stances on the issue. As a result of young voters, states such as California, Vermont, and Michigan were able to codify abortion rights into their constitutions and many candidates who support abortion rights made significant gains.
There are numerous key races in which young voters played a key role in Democratic victories. As mentioned before, John Fetterman was able to flip a Pennsylvania Senate seat blue. According to CIRCLE, 70% of voters aged 18-29 supported Fetterman. The number of Gen Z voters overall also increased, likely due in part to Fetterman’s campaign using social media like TikTok to appeal to younger voters. Another key state was Michigan, which saw the largest increase (38%) of 18-29 year old voters in the country. This resulted in many Democratic victories in close races within the state. Lastly, Florida’s 10th district elected Maxwell Frost, the first member of Gen Z, to the House of Representatives. He is 25 years old, which is the minimum age to be elected to the House, and is a strong supporter of gun control, Medicare for all, abortion rights, and addressing climate change. Gen Z voters made themselves heard by not only completely changing the anticipated results of the 2022 midterms, but even by electing one of their own into the House.
If the enthusiasm Gen Z showed in voting this midterm continues, future elections may look a lot different. As time continues passing, not only will the current Gen Z voters continue to make their voices heard, but more young people will reach 18 and be legally able to vote. As a result, many of the issues that Gen Z finds most important, such as abortion access and gun control, could take center stage in determining election results, as they did in this year’s midterms.