The Right’s Lost Generation, Gen. Z

By H. Harrison Coleman IV

Leavenworth, Kansas

Gen. Z is on track to be the United States’s best-educated generation, and is the most racially diverse (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

The Republican Party has lost Gen. Z. The generation, of which there are 67 million members in the U.S., were born between 1995 and 2010. This accounts for about 24.3% of the U.S. population. Members of Gen. Z, also called the iGen, or the Post-Millennials, are just beginning their political ascendance. As they enter the political ring, it becomes obvious that this generation belongs to the left.


Gen. Z came of age in the era of Trump––and they overwhelmingly view him unfavorably. In the 2020 presidential election, 65% of young voters cast their ballots for Biden, versus only 31% of whom voted for Trump. This difference of 34% is monumental and signals imminent difficult times for the Republican Party.


It is not a new phenomenon for younger people to be more left-leaning, but never before have we seen a generation of voters break for a particular party by this large of a margin. Despite the reputation of the liberal Millennial, they only broke for Biden by 7% in 2020. Looking even further back, it becomes clear that Gen. Z remains unparalleled in their liberalism. In the presidential election of 2000, for instance, the youngest voters were evenly split between Vice President Al Gore and President George W. Bush.


There are plenty of factors that have resulted in Gen. Z’s astounding leftward shift. For instance, one of the most indicative qualities of a person’s politics is their level of education: the more educated you are, the more liberal you tend to be. Gen. Z is on track to be the United States’s best-educated generation, with a 59% majority planning to attend or already attending college.


Additionally, Gen. Z is the most racially diverse, with 48% of the generation being nonwhite. Additionally, Gen. Z is the least religious generation the U.S. has ever seen––approximately 38% of the generation does not ascribe to any religion.


This is very similar to the Millennials but grossly out of step with the much more religious older generations, such as Gen. X and the Baby Boomers. Both of these trends benefit the Democrats, as racial minorities and irreligious people are overwhelmingly Democratic.


What further separates members of Gen. Z from their predecessors is the liberal politics they follow. It’s not just that the young people are liberals: a huge number of Gen. Z members has taken a radical turn to socialism.


Socialism may be a dirty word among some of the older generations, but much of Gen. Z has a positive opinion of the word––along with policies and positions associated with it. Gen. Z and Millenials support Medicare For All by 73%, tuition-free college by 67% and 49.6% would prefer to live in a socialist country. These are the highest levels of support these positions have ever enjoyed in the U.S.


In fact, for the first time in American history, a generation disapproves of capitalism. Gen. Z has only a 49% approval rating of modern American capitalism. This is reflected in their beliefs, as 64% are somewhat or extremely likely to vote for a socialist on the ballot. In an Axios poll, the only two generations to have a positive view of the word “socialism” were Millennials and Gen. Z––although Millennials proved to be the more conservative group, with 51% favoring socialism compared to Gen. Z’s 61%.


This is more than just statistics, though. The most radical left-leaning politicians in the modern U.S. were buoyed by young people. The 2016 and 2020 campaigns of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were overwhelmingly supported by young voters. The same pattern of the youth breaking for the furthest-left candidates can also be seen in one of Sanders’ disciples: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


This, of course, has led to a demographic crisis for the Republican party. The GOP is exceedingly made of older people, such as Baby Boomers and the remaining members of the Silent Generation. As these elderly people continue to die and be replaced by those younger than they are, the Republicans face demographic doom.


In 2036, for instance, Gen. Z will make up a plurality of the electorate, at 35%. Millennials will make up 25%, giving the progressive Gen. Z-Millennial coalition a 60% majority in U.S. politics. A study by the Harvard Center for Politics shows that by 2036, Democrats will have an 8%-18% advantage in the popular vote, and Electoral College models predict a similar advantage for the left.


Though many on the right are counting on the old adage that people become more conservative as they age, this has ultimately been disproven, meaning that the Republican Party will be forced to liberalize their policies and practices in order to remain competitive or become irrelevant in national politics.


Even those few members of Gen. Z that are loyal to the GOP are significantly more liberal than their elders. Most young Republicans want more government involvement in areas such as environmental protection, more believe racial discrimination is more of a problem in the U.S. compared to their predecessors and a record low of Gen. Z Republicans––18%––believe climate change is not caused by humanity.


In more good news for the Democrats, it looks like the Libertarians won’t see any increased support from Gen. Z: 70% want the government to have more influence among businesses and individuals, and many are turned off by the prospect of capitalism altogether.


It is not at all presumptuous to label Gen. Z as a liberal grouping. The young people have seen that the old systems and ways of doing things are not working for them, and they have found their salvation in leftism––socialism and progressivism are ubiquitous within Gen. Z.