All of the sudden, young voters are coming to their senses.
Joe Biden’s adviser for Generation Z has issued a warning to the president, emphasizing the need to address youth enthusiasm promptly, or face potential consequences.
According to Politico, John Della Volpe, a pollster who worked for Biden’s 2020 campaign, has delivered these cautionary statements to the president’s reelection team and discussed them with senior White House staff. Drawing on his analysis of youth voter data spanning more than two decades, Della Volpe revealed that individuals under the age of 30 are currently less inclined to align themselves with the Democratic Party compared to the spring of 2019. A growing number identify as independents, while fewer perceive politics as an effective means of instigating change.
Although the past three electoral cycles have witnessed historically high levels of youth engagement, with the cohort remaining progressive, Della Volpe cautioned that if these shifts in attitudes lead to reduced voter turnout in 2024, it could spell doom for the incumbent president and the Democrats.
Expressing a sense of responsibility, Della Volpe, who serves as the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, stressed the urgency of sounding the alarm now, while there is still time to address the issue. He emphasized the importance of these voters embracing the values of the party and its candidates, as well as recognizing the transformative potential of politics. Attempting to rectify the situation through last-minute advertising campaigns after Labor Day would prove insufficient.
The Biden administration maintains that it does not take young people for granted. In fact, Richard Sweeney, one of Della Volpe’s former students, was recently hired by senior Biden aides as a White House policy analyst with a special focus on youth. Sweeney will engage with young advocates and collaborate across various departments, including the Office of Public Engagement, the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, as well as digital and communications teams, in order to address the priorities of young people, such as climate change, LGBTQ issues, and abortion rights.
Following a recent Supreme Court ruling on student loans, senior White House officials held a Zoom call with several influencers who disseminated the information through their respective accounts, generating approximately 6 million views on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Notably, Vivian, also known as @yourrichbff, a former Wall Street trader, created a video explaining the court decision and subsequently posted a TikTok highlighting the implications.
On the campaign front, Rob Flaherty will assume a senior role in the reelection effort, contributing to digital strategy, although the specifics of his official title and start date have not been disclosed.
Additionally, Biden’s team will rely on young surrogates like Representative Justin Jones, 27, who was expelled by Republicans for participating in a protest advocating for gun restrictions, and Representative Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), a 26-year-old member of the president’s national advisory board.
Frost, speaking to West Wing Playbook, stressed that youth turnout should never be taken for granted. While the surge in youth engagement since 2018 has persisted through the last three cycles, it remains relatively new. Frost acknowledged the importance of messaging regarding Biden’s accomplishments but emphasized that surrogates should also tap into opposition to Donald Trump and the erosion of rights. Discovering novel approaches to accomplish this goal is crucial, Frost asserted.
Recently, a video featuring Frost on stage in Washington with Paramore gained viral attention, as did an incident where he used explicit language while referring to Ron DeSantis. However, a more significant impact occurred the following week when the band allowed Frost’s team to set up a table at their Orlando concert, collecting signatures for an abortion constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot in 2024. In just a few hours, approximately 1,800 signatures were obtained at the venue.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is also actively involved in training young voters on college campuses, collaborating with groups focused on preventing gun violence, and offering resources to help these voters secure positions in Democratic politics.