Will More Young People Continue To Pursue Political Careers?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of younger candidates interested in running for office. While so many young people running for office is an amazing thing, it’s essential that they adapt quickly to a world that’s cutthroat and competitive. Prospective candidates and their supporters may be starting from behind, but the rise of digital communications and social media have made it easier than ever to make a splash without having a lot of money. The real question that will only be answered in time is whether or not this younger generation represents a more long-term shift in the types of candidates that will run for office in the United States or if this is just a trend that won’t sustain itself. Read on to learn more about what factors might contribute to younger people continuing to run for office in the future.
Why is the younger generation getting more interested in politics?
The urgency of issues that will affect the lives and stability of the younger generation and those to come has never been greater. With the climate crisis steadily worsening, longtime and beloved American programs like social security edging closer to bankruptcy, and an entire generation held back from participating in things like homeownership, younger people can see that they don’t have many of the advantages that their parents had and that they’re running out of time to solve these serious problems.
The internet and online communication have also contributed to bringing younger people into the political process. Expanding political content onto platforms like Twitch that reach new audiences doesn’t just help generate enthusiasm for current politicians and candidates, it will inspire many to run as well. Experience and knowledge in digital communication can also give younger candidates an advantage over their older counterparts. Peer-to-peer fundraising platforms are making it easier than ever to connect with voters, and those with knowledge on how to communicate and engage digitally have an opportunity to make a lot of headway using tools like this. You may have heard of peer-to-peer networks or P2P systems in the context of media and online downloads through websites like BitTorrent or Kazaa, but that technology is now being used to power fundraising for charitable causes and politicians.
Will more young people run in the future?
There are material concerns when it comes to running for office that prohibits many people from seeking office, though they especially affect the younger generation who have less wealth and assets to rely on. When younger candidates, especially those from less wealthy backgrounds, get elected, they often face challenges that others don’t. For example, if your previous job didn’t require formal clothing, winning an election can mean a whole new wardrobe. Trading tees and sweaters for blazers and blouses can be pricey, though. Since most people can’t afford that, and considering other barriers to entry, they choose not to run.
Luckily, things are changing. Some congresspeople have even talked about scouting thrift shops for outfits. You can find everything from dresses for events to petite jackets at affordable prices if you’re willing to look. Depending on where you’re from, the travel involved might necessitate new outerwear. If you’re used to Florida, for example, you shouldn’t head to Minnesota without a good jacket. You can select styles that feel true to yourself and make you feel excited at the checkout counter while still maintaining a professional look. It’s essential that we show young people ways to overcome the traditional obstacles to getting involved if we want them to continue to show up.
Whether or not this wave of youth interest in politics will be sustainable remains to be seen. One of the biggest barriers to entry in politics is how expensive it is to run a campaign. Democratizing the ability to advertise and communicate politically is essential if we want to ensure that voices from all groups have a say in politics, especially the younger generation. It’s essential for young people to have a say in building their future. In order for that to happen, young people will need to continue to break through and run for office.
The youth movement in American politics is still nascent, but it shows the potential to make real change within the political system if it’s able to be sustained. Whether or not it’s sustained will depend on many factors, from easing the barriers to entry into the political world to making it more financially viable for a larger swath of the population to consider running for office. Attracting the requisite donors, generating media attention, and engaging with voters aren’t easy tasks, especially for a younger generation. Still, you should never lose hope. Creativity and effort are often rewarded when it comes to political campaigns, and there’s nothing more American than winning as an underdog.