In the 2018 midterm elections, young people ran for office, canvassed neighborhoods, rallied their communities, and organized online—all in hopes of electing a governing body that was more representative of themselves and their values. In the months preceding the historic election, media outlets were fixated on the perception that young people were apathetic and incompetent, not engaged enough to turn out, and unable to comprehend the postal system needed to cast a mail-in ballot.
The narrative turned out to be false; during the 2018 cycle, young people campaigned around the issues they cared about and voted in historic numbers. In fact, 31 percent of young people turned out to vote, an increase of 10 points compared to the 2014 midterm elections. With Millennials projected to be the largest voting bloc by 2020, young people are poised to change the politics of their communities, and the nation.
By seizing their power, young people showed America that they have what it takes to tip the scales on many of today’s most critical issues, including democracy, gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, immigration, climate change, women’s health, student debt, and diversity and inclusion.
Now is the time for accountability. As the 116th Congress works to frame their priorities for the next two years, members must center young people in their policy proposals and legislation. Generation Progress and the Center for American Progress have identified policy areas that are important to young people and can drive youth civic engagement and voter participation.