OPINION – Election Reflection: Why young voters parted the red sea during this year’s midterm


Knight Crier

File Photo: AUTUMN AMERICANA – A home at the intersection of Old Morris Rd. and Old Forty Foot Rd. in Towamencin Township displays the American flag on October 30, 2019. If it’s autumn and it’s America, that means it’s also election season. Voters across the country will make choices, largely in local elections, as they exercise their civil duty and cast their votes.

Getting Taylor Swift tickets isn’t the only problem on Gen-Z’s mind this November. 

Pennsylvania’s midterm elections happened on November 8th with a voter turnout comparable to 2018, the midterm with the biggest voter turnout at 49%. Around 30% of eligible voters ages 18-29 voted in the 2022 midterm, developing unprecedented results.  

Republicans anticipated a red wave, expecting victory in the bulk of elections. They promoted cracking down on crime and stopping inflation, issues they blamed on the Democrats. However, younger Americans showed their priorities this November. Individuals ages 18 to 44 overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates to find solutions to the problems that have plagued their youth. Mass shootings, climate change, student debt relief, and abortion are only a handful of issues young people focused on. Reforming democracy has also pushed people to vote blue, with some Republican candidates this year supporting the insurrection on January 6th, 2020.

The unprecedented loss left many Republicans discouraged, and some uneasy over the effect young people had on this midterm. Jesse Watter, a political commentator and Fox News anchor commented on television, “The fact that these youth voters are coming so strong in an off year is concerning.”

Young voter apathy has been a problem throughout our nation’s history. That raises the question, why are some conservatives unhappy when young people do vote? Mr. Dwight Homan, a history and AP government teacher at North Penn High School, describes the polarity. 

“It’s like the famous race car driver, Ricky Bobby says, ‘If you’re not first, you’re last.’ Each side today believes that their views, and their views alone, are the only way to save America.  It’s a winner take all mentality called the “zero-sum game’ and it’s not good for the health of our country’s democracy,” Homan explained. 

The exclusive nature of the zero-sum game steers our nation to be undemocratic. People, especially the youth that will be alive to see the effects of the government, should exercise their right to vote. 

Mr. Joe Adams, a statistics teacher at North Penn, elaborates on why he thinks young people should vote. 

“If you get in the habit of voting early, it becomes something you’ll continue with. If you don’t vote early on, then when will you start voting? Young people are starting to understand that their vote matters. The past 4 years have shown that every vote can count in big elections, and young people got to see that their vote mattered in real-time,” Adams said. 

People who vote should be informed about the candidates they vote for. The League of Women Voters’ website is a nonpartisan, unbiased resource to learn about candidates and their positions. Another good way to get information about candidates is to reach out to them directly by going to their events or even sending them a direct message on social media. You can register to vote at USA.gov. Participating in our democracy keeps it alive, use your voice to make a change.