A coming of age moment is here in the United States: a generation of young Americans are about to have a major impact in the 2020 election—a generation that doesn’t know a world without Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, and they rely overwhelmingly on social media to get their news.
They’re called Generation Z, and they’re not going away anytime soon.
For conservatives, this Gen Z has become critical. To embrace this new generation means to keep the movement in the right direction, but to disengage with them leaves an all but certain demise.
It is no secret that the millennial generation overwhelmingly sides with liberal policies. It is the very fact that gives this very website, “LoneConservative,” a name with unfortunate veracity. So what can be done to win over this new, crystalizing group of voters soon-to-be?
Willingness to Listen
First and foremost, Generation Z wants to be heard, and that doesn’t just mean politically. Generation Z is both willing and able to throw money at social causes or brands that support issues that they hold near and dear to their hearts in the spur of the moment. Look no further than a recent event: the massive fundraising campaign of the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
While the country watched as twenty to thirty-year-olds (primarily) took the streets in protest of the killing of George Floyd, the Minnesota Freedom Fund garnered thousands of shares on social media, prompting an influx of cash to a group who’s platform was relatively unknown. The same small-dollar fundraising revolution that took over major partisan politics in 2018 is already making a major impact on issues of social justice, and Gen Z will give these groups free advertising and money to make sure that everyone hears their message.
Coupled with their ever-growing spending power, Generation Z has the unmatched ability to share their opinion with millions at the click of a button. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Generation Z say they check Instagram daily. Never before has the marketplace of ideas been so full. It used to be you had to turn on your radio or television to get targeted political commentary. Now, random 15-year-olds can garner a massive Twitter or Instagram following by sharing pro-Trump memes and constructing his hair similarly to the President. The President amplifies those same individuals.
Okay, so maybe you don’t need to construct your hair weirdly and say something goofy in order to be acknowledged by the President, but you do need to take your politics way less seriously. That doesn’t mean you disregard every issue as unimportant, but it does mean you should not view every news story as the potential downfall of the Republic. The talking heads you see on television every night have practiced this in excess over the last 5 years–and meant it.
This is where the comedic tendencies of Generation Z come into play and how it impacts our politics.
Take for example Saturday Night Live. It just had an absolute bust of a season, primarily because millennials and Gen Z alike are primarily uninterested and bored by their humor. Its political skits have been cringe-worthy at best, for the most part. Generation Z prefers irony based-humor, most commonplace in content such as memes. Nobody in Generation Z wants to listen to humor in tiresome platitudes. That means sometimes, you need to be able to laugh at yourself.
Now more than ever, young people want to be involved. Conservatives need to embrace this and give everyone a place at the table on a big tent basis. Generation Z in America is more ethnically diverse than any other in history. Inevitably, a more diverse party along both racial and ethnic lines will follow suit.
Conservatives in the United States need a group of leaders that look like the country. This obviously doesn’t mean conservatives embrace full-blown identity politics. The best ideas should always take the forefront, but it does mean we cannot disregard issues on racial lines. Generation Z would be the first to tell you this, and conservatives in the legislature are correct to introduce legislation of their own to tackle these issues, as opposed to the normal nonsense we hear from the ideologues of the opposition.
To accomplish these three things would ensure a conservative movement in safe hands moving forward, a swing in the right direction, and keeping this country’s principles intact.
The United States and the conservative movement is something worth protecting and the young generations of today and the ones yet to come will be a big part of that.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.