How celebrity endorsement and youth activism could translate to Gen Z votes


Photo Courtesy of The New Daily

Story by Ashley Barrientos/Contributing Writer

“We are Gen-Z—born into tragedy and movements and protests,” said the director for March for Our Lives, a movement against gun violence in an Oct. 29, 2020 Washington Post article.

According to the United States Elections Project, more than 92 million people have already cast their ballots for the 2020 presidential election. Early voting data and polling suggests that of those 92 million, it is expected that young and eligible voters under 30—classified as either Gen Z or Millennials—are on track to set a new historic record for voting turnout, playing a key role in this year’s presidential election, especially in battleground states such as Texas and Florida.

These astounding statistics correlate with two growing cultural aspects of the 2020 U.S presidential election: celebrity endorsement and youth activism.

During the entirety of this year’s election season, several celebrities have been notably outspoken toward the candidates that are up for election. Through a variety of social media platforms, concerts, appearances in campaign videos and even cookie-baking events, celebrities like Taylor Swift, Chris Evans, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé have publicly shown their support for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. Contrarily, but in similar ways, celebrities such as Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and Kristy Swanson have publicly backed the President’s re-election.

Additionally, growing involvement in several social movements around Black Lives Matter, climate change, women’s reproductive rights and gun control, has lead younger generations living in the United States to become more vocal and politically engaged with these issues, which is likely contributing to the huge upsurge in early voting turnout.

After a year of racial reckoning, the COVID-19 pandemic and a Supreme Court nomination, President Trump’s potential re-election has evidently become a polarizing and hotly debated topic on social media. Celebrities on these platforms have fueled this year’s election cycle, with their influence reaching out to millions of young users.

“Our current president is really controversial due to his choice of words and his policies,” commented Kevin Ruiz, a sophomore at MTSU. “Many people see it as a necessity to get him out.”

This controversy that Ruiz mentioned could be a reason for increased voter enthusiasm. People seem to either be standing behind Trump or against him. This polarizing and divisive notion of “taking sides” has interestingly amped up this year’s election to make it more of a competition or challenge than a simple election.

A new national poll released by Harvard on Oct. 26 has shown that the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden currently leads among young voters, with 63 percent of eligible voters ages 18-29 supporting Biden, compared to the 25 percent supporting President Trump.

 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more updates, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Life.

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