BY HALLE SHAEFFER
Generation Z voters have caught the attention of many campaigns for the 2020 presidential election. In the last presidential election, only 12 percent of the voters aging from 18-24 took part in voicing their opinions. Those who were born between 1996 and 2010 are included in Gen Z and will be heard, especially now more than ever. This demographic may be hard to reach but campaigns such as Bernie and Biden have made it a priority to gain their vote.
The Bernie Sanders campaign chose to bring attention to themselves with progressive ideals. More of the younger generations are able to level with him because of his policies, such as environmentalism and climate change.
“Bernie has the most aggressive and vicious plan to fight climate change,” said Rose Asaf, field leader of the Bernie campaign. “The world is on fire. Climate change is here, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not in a week. It is here. The people that are making these decisions are not going to be around for the consequences, we are, we are and our children are.”
With climate change being one of the most popular topics in the election, Bernie has caught the attention of voters with his solutions.
“Climate change is an important policy for me and a lot of my peers as well, so his approach catches my attention more than others,” said Sarah Scobee, Wadsworth High School senior.
Bernie has the reputation of popularity with young voters.
“I feel like he is a very personable candidate,” said Chris Steele, Wadsworth High School senior. “His policies feel directed towards Gen Z which is important to me as a voter in the next election.”
His characteristics seem to resonate with young voters making him feel more like a real person as opposed to a political character.
“He feels like he is for the people and not just about big corporations,” said Jillian Batham. “What I find most important about him is his want for free or reduced college tuition. Healthcare is a human right and it is very important to me that he values that.”
Volunteers working with Biden’s campaign revealed that they focused on balancing young voters as well as the elderly. The campaign is attempting to incorporate a broad range of supporters in age by cold calling and going door to door to influence voters.
“We do a lot of work locally visiting college campuses,” said Sarah Sherman, a volunteer on Joe Biden’s campaign in her early twenties. “There is a lot of work on social media targeting our generation.”
A majority of the students taking part in this trip stated that they get most news information through social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Reaching voters online is the easiest way for Biden to resonate with younger generations.
“I went to the Biden campaign today and learned a lot about the candidate, but I had not seen much influence from him in my social media,” said Anna Wolfinger, Wadsworth High School senior.
The rise in technology has called for a change in approach for people such as Darrell Lewis, volunteer and establisher of Biden for Iowa Facebook page. He has been involved with Biden’s campaign for over a year now.
“He is clearly the most experienced candidate,” said Lewis. “I think that he can unite the country. We hold events at many different universities to involve the younger generation. Social media is a big factor in reaching out to the group as well.”
“I feel like it is our responsibility to care because it is our future and I want to make sure that it’s safe,” said Asaf. “Our generation is so powerful and I can’t wait to see
what we can get done.”
While some campaigns choose to reach out in inclusive ways, others focus on policies to attract a younger crowd.
“As president of the College of Democrats at the University of Akron, I can see the importance of making an informed decision when voting,” said Hannah Crawford. “This is exactly why we came out to Iowa. I wanted the members of the association to be able to make the best decision they could.”
Both candidates emphasized ways that Generation Z is being valued as a voting class. Many candidates have formed policies that gain support from young voters and increase involvement in the 2020 election.