America Needs Gen-Z Voices At The Policy Tables (2024)

Yesterday Ben Braver, a progressive state Senate candidate in the Tampa suburbs turned 22. In the 18 years Blue America has been operating, I don’t think we ever asked anyone to contribute to a candidate because it’s their birthday.

This time, we kind of are. Ben is 22; please give him $22— or any amount you want. But not really as a birthday present. Instead do it because he’s part of the bright future of the Democratic Party, the state of Florida and the U.S.

Braver made a good case about this whole “future of the” thing. “Who,” he wrote, “has a greater vested interest in our nation than the people who will enjoy the benefits of wise decisions and suffer the consequences of short-sightedness? Who will work more tirelessly to secure a future where America flourishes than those who will be here longest? [T]hroughout my time on the campaign trail I have been told countless times by constituents, friends, and random passers-by that we need change, that we need energy. The desire for fresh faces I have seen is not just trans-partisan, it’s growing stronger.”

Obviously he brought up the debate “between the two oldest candidates for president in American history” and noted “the yearning for someone who could energetically throw Trump’s bluster and lies back in his face is palpable.”

Ever more important, he wrote that many of our older politicians “simply cannot keep pace with the frenetic energy of modern American politics. They have experience dealing with our issues, but diverse experience is what’s needed. From race to gender to age, having everyone’s experience represented in our government is how we get policies that represent everyone. The problems we face are the same ones we have always had— inequality, monopolies, starvation, etc.— the tools that are available to fix them are not. Many of the most effective tools we have today did not exist when the politicians dominating our political system were cutting their teeth. Shoot, some of them didn’t exist two years ago! And that inexperience with new technology creates an ineptitude with new policy. Not long ago, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens defined the internet as “a series of tubes”— not in private to his grandkids, but in a live Senate hearing on a crucially important bill concerning internet commerce, and he was Chair of the committee!”

The world itself has changed drastically; due to climate change it’s entered an entirely new epoch and in the blink of an eye it’s shrunk from 24,901 miles across to the size of a cell phone. My generation doesn’t have access to a fair housing or job market the way our parents did; We can’t have implicit trust in our long-standing institutions of justice to even keep away a monarchy; We will have to abandon whole swaths of the earth as they become unlivable due to the actions of those who came before us. We’ve been out of the Cold War for decades, but the politicians whose world view was shaped by it have wasted trillions of dollars on the military industrial complex. We’re still warring over long settled culture disputes like gay marriage just because it makes a few ancient people with ancient ideas feel uncomfortable.

America Needs Gen-Z Voices At The Policy Tables (1)

…I and other Gen-Z candidates are running to do what people always do— protect our homeland. It’s just that our homeland is the future of our great nation, which we will defend and strengthen fiercely— you can depend on that. We will not be distracted by decades of political baggage or irrelevant issues of the past.

…With the youngest people soon to become the majority of people in the country we need representatives that represent them. If we start building out our slate of Gen-Z officials in 2040 that will be too late. The people want change, they want younger voices, and we should be supporting them now…. Gen-Z candidates know better than most that what we do in the present does not stay in the present. The bills we run up today come due tomorrow and we are painfully aware that we will be the ones presented with the check. I will put all of my energy, all of my enthusiasm, every hour I have into focusing on those critical issues that actually affect people’s lives… as long as I can get into office. If you know that young voices need to be amplified, if you know that more of the country must be truly represented, then please support my campaign here or here.

Our country deserves a future built by the people who will live in it. You can make sure that happens right now.

Gen-Z must have a say in policy decisions.

America Needs Gen-Z Voices At The Policy Tables (2024)
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