In the modern day, Americans seem to be divided politically now more than ever. Both sides of the political spectrum detest each other in and out of the courts, both sides are convinced that the other is the villain, and neither is willing to give up any ground. The outcome of our last election was shocking to many, and reflects how both sides can muster voting power.
Now, with threats of our current president’s impeachment, and a new election on the horizon, a new generation will be going to the voting booth. Their political leanings could break stalemates and those battles are sure to continue in earnest. But this time, a new wave of voters will wash over the polls. Gen Z has reached voting age, and with them many of our own seniors will drive America in a new direction, but how do our future voters plan to cast their ballots? Who do they plan on voting for? Will you find their political views and their numbers as a sign of hope or as an ill omen?
A common sentiment seems to be that it’s not a casual subject to discuss.
“I feel like there’s a definite fear of voicing political opinions,” senior Bassit Fijabi said. “People don’t want to ostracize themselves.”
Senior Nikolina Guberinich agreed. “It’s never talked about. It’s something separate from school,” she said.
This is proven by the many seniors who don’t intend to vote, but it makes sense for many students to avoid the topic. We’ve all seen impassioned political arguments and scream-off’s online or in person, and not all of us want to be suddenly forced into that uncomfortable situation. This is a perfect example of how hostile the political climate in America is, and how it results in many being afraid to share their thoughts.
When we look at the candidates that those who do intend to vote have been interested in, many seniors say that they haven’t been looking, or that no candidate has claimed their interest. This was especially prominent in conservative and centrist students, while liberal seniors often brought up the names of Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang.
It seems that many Gen Z students lean liberally, and that even those who consider themselves conservative or republican tend to have rather leftist views on climate change, race, and many other subjects. Some may be surprised by how far left the class of 2020 leans, but Susan Lenard wouldn’t be. “There are more liberal people, but there’s no in between,” she said, commenting on the large amount of students who tend toward extremism.
It could be argued that this extremism is learned, that the state of America has born a generation in its image. One of extreme leanings and an unwillingness to compromise on their beliefs, which is potentially inspiring or terrifying depending on which side of the line you find yourself standing on.