Harris launched the Fight for Our Freedoms nine-stop college tour, which took her to campuses across eight states in September and October. The Vice President and President Biden’s reelection campaigns will hang on wise young voters, who were essential to their success.
“I love Gen Z,” Harris said at a press conference, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As a result of gun violence, climate change, and a rollback of abortion rights, these issues are “a lived experience” for Gen Zers, she said, “and they are not going to be patient about us getting something done. And I love that about them.”
Harris’s political brand and biography are aptly matched to the activism that has come to be associated with Gen Z voters born between 1996 and 2010. This generation is known to have greater racial and ethnic diversity. Frequently, Harris has cited her parents’ involvement in the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s as an inspiration for her interest in politics.
‘Flamin’ Hot’ actress Annie Gonzalez, who moderated two of Harris’ college tour stops, said Harris’ family background helps her understand Gen Z’s desire to take action.
“She’s like, ‘I come from a family who was not afraidI understands — Gen Z is not taking it lying down,” Gonzalez said.
Gen Z voters tend to offer a contrast to Trump, as they aren’t bound by party loyalty and prefer candidates who focus on issue-oriented issues, according to Lake. In a hypothetical general election race, NBC News found only 42% of voters aged 18 to 34 support Biden, while 46% support Trump. Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas crisis was disapproved of by 70% of Democrats ages 18 to 34.
In 2020, election polls showed Biden winning about 60 percent of the 18-to-29 age group. The oldest president in history, who turned 81 on Monday, has since lost the support of younger voters.
Despite her unfavorable ratings with registered voters, Harris motivates young voters of color, according to her aides and advisers. She struggled to make significant progress on her initial promises, including curbing immigration from Central America and expanding voting rights protections.
Harris has since taken strong stands on abortion rights, gun violence, the climate crisis, student loan debt relief, and other issues that are relevantZ to find her footing.
“She has a portfolio now that peoplepay a lot of attention to,” Celinda Lake said, a veteran Democratic strategist who was one of two pollsters for Biden’s 2020 campaign. “Developing the economies of Guatemala and Central America? I don’t know that that’s seen as a two-sided issue by voters.”
“[Young people] like her style, they like her record, and they like her issues,” Lake continued.
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first Gen Z member of Congress, said they are holding leaders accountable for creating immersive plans.
“This is the most politically active generation of young people that our country has had, and so we don’t need to be told what to care about,” the 26-year-old said. “We want to feel validated in our concerns, and we want to see our leaders present a plan on howit.”
Victor Shi, a 21-year-old senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, served as the youngest delegate announcing Biden’s candidacy at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. He recently hosted National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on his podcast, “iGen Politics,” which he co-hosts with former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, and said Harris serves as a martyr for what Gen Z wants in a leader.
“I’ve heard more people say, I’m just going to tap out of the process altogether,” Shi said, noting that social media has been flooded with misinformation about the conflict.
According to Shi, a two-minute TikTok video cannot adequately capture the decades-long dispute, and it will require time to refute false information and adjust the administration’s position.
However, he continued, drawing a comparison to Trump appears to be effective.
“It’s not satisfying to anyone I talk to, but I think just framing it in terms of that choice in 2024 has worked,” he said.
However, Harris’ age and vigor are a plus, Shi added, even though young people would ignore Biden as a message.
“Perhaps not many people will listen to someone like President Biden, given his age,” Shi said. “But having someone like Kamala Harris…there’s a hunger for that.”