COLUMN: We voted, now it’s our turn to take office

For the first time in a generation, the party in power has survived the midterms maintaining control of the Senate. While the house remains too close to call, one thing is clear: Democrats owe this victory to young voters. Whether the civic engagement is a result of our world being on fire, our classmates being shot, or people who can bear children’s bodily autonomy being stripped away, we showed up and made our voices heard. Youth turnout in this midterm reached its second-highest rate in nearly three decades, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Exit polls show “Generation Z and young millennials under 30 voted at such a high level and skewed for Dems so much we canceled out every voter over age 65 across the U.S. house races,” David Hogg said on Twitter.  

With all that being said, I am calling on Democratic leadership to make use of the majority the young handed them and make progressive change. Year after year, it seems like Congress is getting older and more out of touch, and that cannot slide any longer. No one owes one party their vote just because it may be the lesser of two evils. 

It seems like during every election cycle, Democrats dangle the codification of Roe, banning of assault weapons, or some other progressive legislation to rouse support, only to take it away once they have made it to Capitol Hill. Frankly, that is not good enough anymore. The age of party loyalty is over, young voters are not going to stand for the Democrat’s broken promises. 

Neither party is perfect, but this election it has been made clear. Democrats are resonating with young voters. In order to keep this steam and continue to win elections they must get to work with the positions they’ve been granted. 

I want to see the same fire in Democratic leadership, but I also want the party to let go of career politicians. The party leadership is frankly too old. We need more members of Congress who can work a computer and fewer who were born before Brown v. Board. The members of the party who can remember when JFK died should step down and make way for new leaders with fresh ideas and a drive to make the world a place they want to live in. It is hard to expect leaders to make decisive climate action when they will not be alive to see the effects of the climate crisis firsthand. 

This election cycle, Maxwell Frost was elected as the first Generation Z member of Congress, hopefully, the first of many to come. Frost ran as a progressive candidate, working as an organizer in March for Our Lives and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both groups with goals centered on issues important to young voters. 

Now that we have shown we can take decisive action and keep Democrats in power, it is time to step back and let young progressive candidates lead. Let us protect our classmates, those seeking an abortion, our privacy, and our planet. We will be around to see the effects of legislation, let us make the calls. 

Connect with Jake Cox: @jaketweets04