BY JOSEPHINE MURPHY
While Biden’s win in the 2020 election has largely been attributed to the support of younger voters, recent polls bring to question if this demographic will help bring him to victory once again.
Recent polls conducted by the New York Times and Siena College among Democratic voters have shown that 64% of Democratic voters would prefer a candidate other than President Biden for the 2024 election. This is especially true among younger voters, as 94% of voters under 30 have expressed their preference for a different Democratic presidential candidate. Despite President Biden’s current low approval ratings, the White House has remained adamant on his running for reelection in 2024.
One of the main reasons attributed to these low approval ratings has been President Biden’s age, who became the oldest president in the history of the United States upon taking his oath into presidency. This sentiment regarding age is commonly held towards many of the nation’s top government officials, as many are a part of either the silent or baby boomer generation, leaving younger Americans feeling unrepresented in the government.
“A lot of people voted for Biden in 2020 because they just didn’t want Trump, and because they wanted a break from the chaos for a little bit, said Ayaan Ali, 18, a freshman at Columbia University.
Sasha Mayer, 15, a junior at Bard High School Early College Manhattan said that there where many times when they felt that Biden’s policies had been ineffective and that he had failed to follow through on many of the promises made during his candidacy.
“I would like to see candidates who are aligning beliefs with more of the youth and the ability to follow through on those beliefs while in office,” Mayer said. “I really would like to see someone who represents a more current way of thinking in office, and I think a younger candidate than someone like Biden or Trump could achieve that.”
Amina Seth, 16, a junior at Chatham High School said that a “younger candidate would better understand the perspectives of and generally just understand young people better” and that politicians such as President Biden, President Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders “grew up in very different times.”
Gustavo Hernandez, 18, a freshman at Columbia University pointed out how “companies will often not hire older people” and that he believes that the government “needs age limits and term limits.”
However, some young voters do not consider age as a concern for their voting choice. Ali said that “my opinion on age is based on [a person’s] competence.” Oliver Neumann-Lorek, 16, a junior at Chatham High School elaborated on this idea, saying that “a lot of presidential candidates are older, often with a lot of experience, which is very important.
“If a person is, for example, 60 but can really connect with a younger audience and understand us, which is harder to do when you’re older… then age wouldn’t matter, ” Neumann-Lorek said.
The lasting effects of COVID-19, including the recent effects of inflation, have resulted in dire effects on citizens and concerns of a possible recession. They have also dropped Biden’s ratings, as shown by the 13% depletion in approval by democrats between spring of this year and July, as according to a CNN poll. While some of these concerns may have been eased by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, some may feel that it is too little, too late.
Hernandez feels that “bills such as this one could have been passed in the beginning of Biden’s presidency.” He attributed the recent economic crises to “the administration not looking into the future well enough.”
“We [citizens] have to face the consequences of everyday consumer goods, like food, as their prices are going up astronomically,” Hernandez said.
In terms of who the next democratic candidate could be, given that Biden does not run, there have been several favorites among young democratic voters.
Seth expressed her support for Pete Buttigieg, the United States Secretary of Transportation, as she believes he has “many middle ground stances which can appeal to both parties.” Ali, on the other hand, stated that “Buttigieg is a little bit right of Biden,” and that he would not choose to support him in 2024.
Ali said he sees Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, as someone who is “positioning himself as a new presidential contender, as someone who’s a fighter, and as someone who can pick up where Biden left off.” Newsom has also recently shown in polls to be a top contender among California voters to potentially succeed Biden.
However, Biden and Trump have each recently discussed their plans to run in 2024, potentially meaning that the next election could mirror the 2020 election. Despite the current uncertainty that surrounds the 2024 election, young people are still emphasizing the importance of voting.
“It’s crucial, especially with all that has been going on in the political realm, to get young voices out there and for us to be heard,” Mayer said.
Seth echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the youngest generation of voters will inherit all of the country’s current issues.