Posted on: November 13, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Meredith Nierman

Traditionally, midterms have been brutal for Democrats.

Before the 2018 election, it has been no secret that for the last 30 years, whenever a president experienced any sort of decreasing popularity, the opposing party manages to gain seats. This was especially true for Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as Donald Trump and the GOP. So it was only natural to believe that President Joe Biden, who is currently presiding over high inflation, would have suffered the same fate.

But this time, the energized youth vote came out in droves and prevented this traditional shift in power. Predictions by major news outlets were shattered. Projections of a “red wave” were scuttled into a slight “pink crest,” as it is now being described.

Omar Eloiza

Arts & Entertainment Editor

I was also guilty of the same prediction. I had believed that the Democrats were much too focused on social issues such as abortion rights and gun control, and not enough on the economy.

Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader, two of the biggest stalwarts of the Left, both assumed that the party would lose many seats due to this hyper-focus on issues reserved for upper-middle class suburbanites. Rather than cater to the working-class people that I share the same struggles with, the focus seemed to be issues of privilege.

But it was foolish for anyone to underestimate the power of youth voter turnout. And we should not underestimate ourselves. Too often, we hear people our age say they aren’t going to vote because it won’t make a difference. This election showed that’s not true.

There definitely has been an uptick in youth voter turnout since the first midterm election under then-president Trump. 2018 and 2020 were both record-breaking elections in terms of the young vote. The record was almost shattered again this year, with 27 percent of eligible voters between 18-29 coming out to the polls.

Graphic by CIRCLE
The 18-29 age group voted most predominantly Democrat for House members this election.

It’s also important to note how our own youth demographic votes. According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the majority of voters between 18-29 voted for Democratic candidates by an astounding 28-point margin. This contrasts with voters between 30-44, who were almost evenly split, and voters 45+, who preferred Republicans by a much smaller margin.

I’m proud to say that young voters are the ones who helped flip Pennsylvania over for the Democrats–a stunning upset in a race that many believed the Republicans would have swept up with no effort.

CIRCLE stated that a whopping 77 percent of youth voters cast their ballots for John Fetterman over celebrity-doctor-turned-Republican-candidate Mehmet Oz. In a race that was extremely tight, the youth turnout proved to be paramount for Fetterman’s win.

There’s also a sense of urgency too amongst these heavily Democratic voters, who are young and, more often than not, live in urban areas. The majority of voters for Fetterman, for example, have come from Philadelphia County. It’s important to note the long waiting times for these voters exceed those in less populated areas.

Taking an example from our own local metropolis Chicago, I heard from several friends who waited more than three hours to cast their vote in a state everyone knew was always going to skew Democrat. We have to thank those in swing states who waited patiently to cast their much-needed vote.

Preservation of democracy depended on it.