The GOP Takes on Gen Z

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In the latest iteration of voter suppression, members of the Republican Party are trying to prevent college students from voting by getting rid of polling places on campuses and disallowing college IDs as valid forms of identification. They say it’s in the name of voter fraud and public safety, but could it also be due to the fact that young voters are casting their ballots for Democrats in record numbers? Andy speaks with NextGen America director Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez and Harvard’s director of polling John Della Volpe about how young voters are reshaping democracy and whether the Republicans’ strategy to suppress them will succeed.

Keep up with Andy on Post and Twitter @ASlavitt.

Follow Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez and John Della Volpe on Twitter @cristinanextgen and @dellavolpe.

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John Della Volpe, Andy Slavitt, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

Andy Slavitt  00:18

This is IN THE BUBBLE with Andy Slavitt. Welcome, please keep emailing me, This has been a very interesting week, politically. Donald Trump got arrested, flew to New York, had a circus flew back a lot of opinions, we did a very good show in the […] Monday, many of you have told me that it’s the best show that you’ve heard, or the best take you’ve heard and what’s happening now, that’s good to hear. I just want to make a reflection or two, and the week of this kind of arrest of Donald Trump, and it’s kind of a particularly profound take. But here it is, anyway. Man, I’m so tired of seeing that guy’s face. And I haven’t realized how much I’ve appreciated not having to listen to that guy’s voice. And watch him kind of spin his web of nonsense. Literally, the absence of that guy is something that brings peace to me, and I think brings peace to many people. He is so worn out his welcome. That even the idea of a prosecution is something that just makes me kind of go, I just don’t want to be dealing with this anymore, or seeing this anymore. And look, I know that one way or another, we have an election coming up. And he is running for president. But man, I will tell you, that is not something I’m looking forward to. So 2024 is going to be, it’s going to be ugly. Again, it’s going to be nasty. Almost no matter what happens, you know, this case won’t proceed any further until December. And then there wouldn’t be trial, a jury trial until 2024. And you should imagine that going on watching him kind of grandstand about this. Wow. Basically saying he’s being persecuted while he’s running for president. It’s all just something that is a little bit more pleasant to be without. And it’s not a reality. Okay. It’s not our reality. Our reality is, we have to deal with what’s in front of us, and he is going to be one of the things in front of us. But what a reminder, what a reminder, you know, today’s a Friday show Friday, as our show where we cover very light topics, very fun, springy topics, very enjoyable topics. Like in this case, Republicans trying to stop people from voting. Very fun topic. Now, you may go well, he takes usually takes pains to not make a show. Overtly political. I mean, people know that I served in democratic administration. But you know, we’ve had shown where we have really challenged orthodoxy on the Democratic side around policies around homelessness, around many things. So I don’t shy away from issues. Nor would I tell you that I think that these are equally distributed by the parties. I think that voter suppression is a really disgusting, deplorable thing. And one of the latest incarnations is Republican Party, trying to prevent college students from voting, getting rid of polling places on campus, disallowing college IDs to be used. And all in the name of voter fraud. And, you know, like religion, voter fraud is the sort of easy thing to say, Hey, this is why I’m doing it. It’s because of my religion tells me to, it’s because of voter fraud. Well, sorry, you know, trampling on people’s rights is not something that should we should allow any religion or any other policy to allow us to have happen to the right to vote as a sacred one. So I’ve got two good guests that I think you’ll really enjoy Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, She’s the executive director at Next Gen America. And she founded and led two of Texas’s largest voting until her rights organizations. She ran for the US Senate. She’s an author or community organizer. Very cool to have her on. And John Della Volpe, who is the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School is going to tell us what here works, what he doesn’t work, what the numbers tell us. Because just getting mad about these issues, isn’t really the right place to start understanding them. Getting the facts out, making sure we can see all sides of the argument and then getting mad if we choose to is how we should approach it. That’s the in the bubble way Let’s bring out Cristina and let’s bring on John.

Andy Slavitt  05:12

Cristina, John, welcome to the bubble.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  05:14

Thanks so much for having us.

John Della Volpe  05:15

Great to be here. Thanks, Andy.

Andy Slavitt  05:17

And I think it’s a very good test for audience to see if they can tell the difference between Christina’s voice and John’s voice.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  05:22

We get confused often in person as well.

Andy Slavitt  05:26

I’m sure that we’ve got a pretty bright audience. So I’m going to assume that it’s going to be fun. John, you wrote a piece late last year that said, GOP should fear young voters. What was that all about? Why  should the GOP be fearing young voters? And are they indeed fearing young voters?

John Della Volpe  05:43

You have to ask members of the GOP, if they’re fearing young voters seems like they are based upon a lot of the barriers they’re putting in place. But you know, let’s just take it back. Just a couple of steps. And again, thanks for having me. You know, that piece was written a few days after the midterm election, which was the third election in a row where younger voters driven by the energy of Gen Z have voted at record, if not near record numbers, based upon every way in which we can measure that on national basis on a state by state basis, etc. Which means that in 2018, younger people voted essentially double the rate as their parents and grandparents when they were the same age, in 2020, broke all records in the presidential cycle. And in 2022, similar story, that’s part one. So younger people. We’re talking 18 to 29 year old voters are voting at historic levels, number one, number two, they’re voting and they’re choosing Democrats at historic levels, you know, essentially, based upon how you count this, you know, John Fetterman, one left roughly 75% of the youth vote, so did a Mark Kelly, Joe Biden won 60% of the youth vote in the 2020 presidential election, and we don’t have a Democrat in the White House, nor do we have a Democrat leader in the Senate without the youth vote. And that’s exactly why I wrote that Gen Z is arguably, you know, Republican Party’s worst nightmare.

Andy Slavitt  07:10

So it’s actually in the midterms, the youth vote increase, you’re saying made the difference in 2021 and in the midterms?

John Della Volpe  07:17

2020, 2022, 2020 real fast. And same thing in 22′. You know, there was a red wave among voters over the age of 45. Right, because Republicans won that cohort, which are essentially GenXers like myself, baby boomers and salad generation, Republicans won that cohort fairly comfortably. It was a 20 to 30-40 point, 50 point margin some states among the younger voters, which essentially kind of negated that Republican advantage among older voters, and tipped Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, from red to blue.

Andy Slavitt  07:55

Got it. So Cristina, what issues are animating younger voters? What is bringing them to the polls? Why are they voting in record numbers?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  08:03

Well, you know, we have so the last three elections have seen the largest youth voter turnout in American history, I think you want to when you talk about issues, we have to talk about just how engaged this generation is right? This is the most civically engaged generation in American history. And they’re coming out and they’re voting overwhelmingly for Democrats, because of the top issues that they care about that are so starkly against what the Republican Party stands for. So you see the top issues that motivated especially young women, this last election was the issue of abortion. 2 and 3 young voters that we polled said that they felt like abortion was on the ballot, and it was motivating them to vote. And the numbers indicated that as well, a huge gender divide across all age brackets, but especially with young women were 71% of young women voted for Democrats and 53% of young men voted for Democrats. Also, young people care deeply about climate change. There’s clearly been for a long time, only one party that’s been willing to read the science and deal with the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis. And you have issues like income inequality, racial justice, LGBTQ equality, this is the most diverse generation in American history. And so when they look at a republican party that is unwilling to accept the diversity and strength of this generation and who the American public is, and also wants to take our country backwards, whether it’s on women’s rights or gay marriage, it becomes very stark and clear what’s at risk and what’s at stake in these elections for young people.

Andy Slavitt  09:36

Just for completeness sake, are there any issues that Republicans are winning with younger voters were that younger voters find Republicans more favorable?

John Della Volpe  09:48

So the 45th Harvard youth poll will be released in the next couple of weeks and that study goes back 22 years so we have Andy a battery of a dozen 15 I mean, typology questions and test values and political ideology. And one of the issues from the very beginning of the survey that Republicans are more comfortable and Democrats talking about are issues relate to school choice. That is one issue for basically a generation now, that have had some opportunity for Republicans to kind of create a relationship with younger voters, that would be something where this generation of voters as are millennials will be more likely to support some Republican ideas around school choice. Now, that’s a more difficult conversation today, because it is often kind of connected with the cultural wars that we’ve seen in Florida and other places. But the idea of choice, the idea of presiding over where your child goes to school is one such issue.

Andy Slavitt  10:46

Got it. So you could choose where to go to school at virtually there’ll be no books to read. That says my commentary, but you know, they shouldn’t be really reading Judy Blume that’s pretty much going to poison their minds. Okay, so what traditional way of doing things, Christina has to say, Okay, I’m going to try to win young people’s votes on the merits. I’m going to listen to them, I’m going to find the connection points that are there. And indeed, that’s good politics. I mean, Republicans have been tried to do that with Hispanic voters to some success in some communities, at least. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the principal tact Republicans are taking. And it doesn’t mean Republicans are ignoring the fact that the Louisiana voters, instead there appear to be trying to do something different. Can you explain what they appear to be trying to do? Instead of trying to win them over?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  11:40

I mean, one thing that we should be definitely clear about what are Republicans good, they’re good at math. They’re good at figuring out how to shave off margins in certain demographic groups. And they see the power of young voters. And that’s why you had on nearly every show, the day the day after the midterms, host freaking out about the youth vote and how overwhelmingly they turned out for Democrats. So they were saying we should raise the voting age, young people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, look how they’re voting, they don’t know what’s in their own best interest. And I live in Texas, we are the third youngest state in the country, only Utah and Alaska are younger. And every year over 400,000, young people turn 18. And they voted vote overwhelmingly each year for Democrats. And as their share increases instead of you know, everyone always says, oh, we want young people to vote we’d want young people engage. And then you have record breaking youth voter turnout. And then you see policies pop up like in my home state, where the state we’ve seen carry Isaac, a local legislative proposal bill, this legislative session, that would bar all polling locations on college campuses, impacting 1.6 million young people on college campuses.

Andy Slavitt  12:47

So wait, you would not be able to vote where do you go to school?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  12:51

You would not be able to vote where you go to school. And of course, if you’re a young person, a lot of people on college campuses, they don’t have a car, it’s the one place they know, they really only know campus. And so now we would bar locations across the state on dozens and dozens of college campuses impacting again, 1.6 million young people.

Andy Slavitt  13:10

Let me guess the reason is because of wait, it’s coming to me. Voter Fraud and voter security. Is that right? Am I right?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  13:17

Voter fraud and security. And my also new one that they came up with, after they were highly criticized what they were worried about was gun safety and children and strangers coming to school, which was fascinating, because these are all the same legislators that have supported, open carry on campuses, and allow guns freely to roam in our schools.

Andy Slavitt  13:37

You can’t make this up.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  13:38

What’s more dangerous, you know, the bullet or the ballot?

Andy Slavitt  13:42

Oh, that’s a good one.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  13:42

So I think that’s what we’ve seen in an Idaho we’ve seen. And there’s already laws on the books like this in the few other states, where you cannot use a student ID to vote as your form of identification. And I think the bigger fear for me is not just these bills at the state level are a huge threat. But you have a lot of local county officials, election administrators at the county level, and they get to decide sometimes just a few weeks before an election, where they’re going to put up a polling location. I think the great fear we’ll see over the next election and what we need to prepare ourselves as local election administrators, especially Republican saying, well, a few weeks, I guess we’re not going to do the polling location on the college campus. Right. And it will be harder to fight against those efforts, and it will be more diffuse.

Andy Slavitt  14:31

Can you remind me how it works and remind the audience so we live in California, we have a son who goes to college in Pennsylvania. So what did the laws say or the rules saying Does it differ by state in terms of his eligibility to vote in Pennsylvania, given that that’s where he resides most of the year?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  14:51

Well, he lives in Pennsylvania. He is a resident of Pennsylvania. We’ve also seen laws like close by New Hampshire that they have actually Pretty large college population have proposed.

Andy Slavitt  15:02

The largest portion of voters that are college students, isn’t it right in New Hampshire?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  15:06

Yes. And so the state legislature been defeated. But they have proposed almost every single legislative session legislation to bar college students from being considered residents in their state. And so the effort and creativity and bending and breaking of the rules of the Republican Party to govern with minority rule instead of a majority rule, they’re happy to do that. And that’s what we’re seeing across the country. And so I think these opening assaults on the power of young voters is not again, like, this is just the beginning of what I think we will see, come up against young people and make it harder for them to vote.

Andy Slavitt  15:45

Let’s go to a quick break. And we’ll come right back. I want to ask about how this is playing out. Is it gonna work? We’ll be right back. All right, we’re back with Cristina, and John. So John, what is all of this, suggesting is this as cynical as it sounds? Is this really about one party looking like, the demographic trends or going against them, and saying, Hey, rather than win them over, we’re gonna stop them from voting.

John Della Volpe  16:33

It’s hard to see otherwise, at this point, it’s such a short term strategy. And rather than like listening, understanding, competing on ideas and trying to find some values where they may align, it seems like this version of the Maga Republican Party is choosing kind of the alternative path, right, which is to build up barriers rather than to kind of to engage and you know, Republicans weren’t always like that, you know, George W. Bush did fine. He did well with younger voters in his two elections and didn’t win them, but when enough of them to obviously win a national election. And that’s a challenge, okay. Since Bush, we’ve now had almost a generation of Republicans not investing in the youth vote, and all of a sudden, they’re waking up and looking at 2024. Randy, with 40%, roughly 40% of all votes cast in the presidential cycle will be members of the millennial or Gen Z generations, these two generations, though they’re not all that, quote, young anymore. These are two generations whose values in their approach to government and politics are very much aligned. And they have not been a part of Republican strategy for most of their adult lifetimes. And that’s going to be an issue that’s going to come back to haunt the Republican Party, not just in this cycle, I think Biden cycles to come.

Andy Slavitt  17:49

So it gets my one of my questions really is does it work? And what do we know from other column? Successful voter suppression efforts? Are these things successful? I mean, or do they backfire? To call attention to the fact that people don’t want their vote? There’s some school of thought, which says, this actually causes people to vote in greater numbers or could if you make it more difficult for them? Or if we’ve seen that, you know, young people, because as Christina said, they don’t have access to transportation, that they won’t make as much of an effort. Do we know anything about this?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  18:24

I mean, I think the data is very clear. When you make it harder to vote less people vote, right. The intention, like John said is, you know, democracy has always been a radical proposition that ordinary people get to decide who their elected leaders are that they get to decide who has the best policy solutions to answer their pain. And instead of running on the merit of their ideas, like you talked about at the beginning, they’re trying to bend and break the rules to make it harder and harder to vote, not win with a mandate, the win with minority voter participation. And instead of realizing, wow, young people are really struggling with student debt. They’re trying to block legally, the executive order of Joe Biden to cancel student debt. And, you know, you’ll also hear them use talking points about like, this is buying young people’s votes, which I you know, if you can laugh that because this isn’t buying young people’s votes. This is delivering on a campaign promise, this is what democracy looks like, you answer people’s pain, you run on a policy solution, they elect you to deliver and then you give that to them. And that’s what’s upsetting them as they haven’t offered policy solutions to young people. And so instead, they’re trying to make it much, much harder for them to vote.

John Della Volpe  19:36

Yeah, indeed, if I could there’s a not insignificant number of young people who in survey after survey said they intended to vote, but they were blocked for some reason, which that’s something that we’ve been tracking for quite some time at Harvard. So that’s a significant number. But I also do think it cuts both ways because one of the best drivers or predictions of whether or not someone’s going to vote is do they know that it makes a difference. Can they? Is their attitude right in terms of the impact of that vote? So yes, there are, you know, there’s probably 79%, roughly, of younger people who try to vote, but were stopped on one hand. But there’s another cohort that says, you know, if they’re trying to block me, it’s even more important than ever. I do my work and try to participate, because we know how important that is.

Andy Slavitt  20:22

I think about the issues affecting young people today, and their issues that you both called out climate, what kind of rights people are going to have women in particular people of color people who have been on the outside of the system for so long. And I tried to understand whether or not we think that it’s causing people to really take voting more seriously. Or in some cases, do they become disenfranchised? Even further, my own sense of things is, if I were going to suppress the right of anybody to vote, it’d be people that are over, over a certain age because quite frankly, they’re voting to not allocate resources for decisions that are going to affect people long after they’re gone. Now, I’m, I’d say this tongue in cheek before I get a bunch of hate mail. Yes, I think older people should be able to vote. But honestly, I wouldn’t consider moving the voting age to 16. Because I look at people of that age group today. And think, man, we’re making decisions in the next 10 or 15 years, particularly related to the climate that are going to set their life up pretty extensively. I’m trying to sort through, you know, there’s always been a concern that younger people don’t vote in large enough numbers, do we think that that has sort of permanently changed? Because this feels too important to them? Or is there some other view of the case?

John Della Volpe  21:42

You’re right, I think one of the I think the key differences I see between Gen Z and millennials, although as I said, I think they agree a lot on the on the policy issues, that Gen Z just has this urgency, where they’re willing to use every tool in their, quote, civic toolbox to try to create meaningful change. And this is a generation who’s dealt, I believe no generation in at least 7075 years has dealt with more chaos more quickly than this generation. And I would not blame an individual right for tuning out or turning away or fleeing. But this generation has decided to vote and very large numbers at the ballot box. And I don’t see that necessarily stopping. You know, anytime soon. However, one of the reasons I think, especially the last two cycles, where we’ve seen this record level of participation is I think the party specifically the Democratic Party, who we talked about makes a concerted effort is also tapping in and understanding and messaging and talking and organizing this we what we’re seeing since 2018, is this kind of bottom up started with the students from Parkland, as well as top down interest. And mobilizing young people. And I know Christina knows this, but where we see investments and resources, on organizers and messages and media on the ground, that’s when we see the highest level of youth participation, you can never, ever take that for granted.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  23:06

You know, so I run Next Gen America, the country’s largest youth vote organization. And we were started 10 years ago with the premise that the biggest challenge our country in the planet faced climate change can be tackled if we built out the political power of young people to transform American politics. And 10 years ago, we were told that it was an absolute waste of money in time to invest in young people. And it’s 10 years later, and we’ve seen the inflation Reduction Act passed, because young people mobilized not just to vote, but also mobilized marching and call to action, not just Republicans and ExxonMobil, but also Democrats to deliver and to expand the idea of what was possible. The two issues that I think of that show, the greatest failure in American politics today is climate change, which we’re moving in the right direction. And then gut and safety. These are two issues that are on the minds weighed in the future of young people almost like on a daily basis on how they feel it. And so they are voting and turning out in record numbers. But they’re also know that they can do other things to influence these policies. And I think that that’s also inspiring other young people to take action.

Andy Slavitt  24:15

Right. They feel like, our generations have failed them, understandably so. And I’m pleased to hear both of your responses of how people are reacting. I’m also curious how the Democrats are doing by young people. I think there’s a certain assumption in certain voting demographics, that, you know, well, at least the Democrats are better than the Republicans, as opposed to saying, Boy, there’s a party that really necessarily gets them. So when you take a step back and look at how, you know, we’ve had a Democratic administration now for a couple of years, we’ve had a Democratic Congress for a while. How well served Cristina do the youth voters feel by the Democratic Party?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  24:57

You know, young people are even though they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, and you could say, oh, they’re all Democrats, a lot of young people see themselves as independents. But what they really care about is progressive policy change. So and some people try and make it a generational gap, right? Like, oh, older lectins don’t understand younger people. I always like to remind people that yes, Joe Biden was not necessarily the candidate of young voters in 2020, during the primary, it wasn’t because of his age, it was the other older guy in the race. Bernie Sanders, was there a candidate? It was really about progressive policy. So I think that Biden administration has done really well. You know, we still need to see what happens with the Supreme Court, which, you know, well, I think, tell young people again, why their vote is so important. Student debt cancellation, marijuana reform, historic gun safety legislation, investment on climate, first black woman in the Supreme Court, look, you wouldn’t have all of those things had it not been for the power of young people voting in this change that they want. That’s just the beginning of the list. That’s not the end. And so I think the Biden administration has understood that it’s not just about getting an office, but it’s about delivering on people’s real pain points. And I think they’ve done a good job of that.

Andy Slavitt  26:10

What do you see, John, how are Democrats doing? Do they have a strong position? Or is it something that, you know, Republicans worked at, they could dislodge? Like, apparently, with Hispanic voters in Texas and Florida, they’ve made some headway.

John Della Volpe  26:25

The challenge that Republicans have to start with is it’s not about messaging, you know, the Republicans have a messaging problem with younger people, they have a values problem with younger people. And the values of this generation are just more aligned with the values of the current version of Democratic Party, you know, when Christina walked through that list, in terms of the representation and the focus on systemic challenges to the significant issues that face us, that’s part one. The other part is, again, who would have predicted this from President Biden, you know, three, four years ago, is that he has in his administration has incorporated the youth vote, and the essence of their communications plan. You know, there’s a teen teams and teams of young organizers who are in regular contact with the White House Communications Office, with the White House Chief of Staff, with a president himself, to make sure that they constantly have a voice kind of at the table. And I think that goes a long way in and making the White House better and more responsive to you, but also, on the other end, in terms of these influencers out there communicating to their peers about the difference that they’ve already made, and why it’s worth continuing the fight.

Andy Slavitt  27:34

Let’s take one more final break. And we’re going to come back and close this conversation down in a pretty exciting fashion with John and Cristina, we’ll be right back. All right, we’re back. This is the Charlie Kirk show. Of course, we’re talking about young people in the Republic. No, it’s not. I’m just kidding. You gotta go talk to young people all the time, John, and figure out their attitudes and pull them. I assume you do all that be a tick tock, right. That’s the only way you communicate with young people.

John Della Volpe  28:20

Listen the way and here’s like, just I think, advice for anyone who wants to understand younger people, you need to go out and talk to younger people. Right? So a couple things, the survey that we have at Harvard, the Harvard youth poll, it’s a collaboration between me and a couple of dozen students. And we are constantly listening to what them and other students on this and dozens and dozens of campuses and high schools across the country care about. We try to put those into some survey questions. I see how projectable they are. But I will tell you that it’s not until like when the summer comes after the spring semester, when I travel around the country, before I asked about this policy or that policy, and I asked like, what’s on your mind? What’s a good day? What’s something that stresses you out? What keeps you up at night, and when you ask those basic questions of a young person, whether that’s your child, your students, your employee, your friend, you’ll find very, very quickly, the significant series of weights that younger people carry on their back every single day. It was explained to me back a few years ago, that the way you and I and Christina might think about paying our taxes or our bills or our finances. That’s the way this generation thinks about living and dying every single time they walk into a supermarket, a shopping mall, a school, a movie, theater, etc. And until you spend time in the field, talking and having these conversations, it’s a challenge to really kind of connect with them in a way in which you can motivate them to vote or to buy something from you or to work with you.

Andy Slavitt  29:49

Christina, we’re talking about this issue, very matter of factly. And that’s the purpose of the show is to get people you know the truth and real information from experts about what’s going on. But I have to say I feel like I’m doing a bit of a disservice. And that this is an incredibly poisonous way of thinking when I read articles about people in New Hampshire trying to say that, you know, college students can’t vote or that people can’t use college IDs, or you can’t have voting places on campuses. You know, it really feels like people who are claiming to be the most patriotic people in this country, working awfully hard to do something, that it’s completely against what the values of this country are, and pass it off as something different. Are people responding that way are people, are young people responding that way, when they hear about these efforts, are they aware of these efforts?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  30:41

I think, you know, young people that are civically engaged are aware of these efforts. But you know, the entire voting process is new for many, many young people across the country. It’s our job to try and get young people to not only register and vote, but make them habitual voters over time. And so, again, putting any barriers in that pathway is a threat not only to young voters, it’s a threat to democracy itself, and the health and the future health of the country. But I do think there are some bright spots. The two most common questions I get about young people or what like young people are actually apathetic, they don’t vote. And then the second most common question I get is, Well, young people, as they get older, get more conservative anyway. And young people actually this is there’s some great news. This is the most civically engaged in generation in American history. That’s amazing. Especially even with all the barriers trying to be put in their way. They’re still coming out and voting. And then the fact that young people, I’m a millennial, I’m like a grandma millennial. So I voted for my first ever election in the George W. Bush Al Gore election in 2000. That was my first election. And we as a generation are staying just as progressive as we were when we were younger. And this is not only happening in the United States, this is happening in Western Europe. This is bucking the oldest belief in American politics. And so there is something transformational happening across the country right now that we’re living in, in the middle of with young people transforming American politics. And I think this is not the end, but the beginning of what we’re going to see that, you know, we were joking at election that we want to make T shirts and say thank you, young voter, we saved democracy.

Andy Slavitt  32:23

But is it isn’t the case, you’re saying that this is less about people’s age at any given moment than it is about this generation. And this generation is a more progressive generation, from a value standpoint, because of who they are? Because what they see around them because of their life experience. And you expect that to hold? Is that a fair characterization of what you were saying? Because I do think there was this whole old trope that like, you know, of course, you’re gonna be liberal until you get money and pay taxes, and then you’re going to turn a little more conservative, a little more selfish. And I think, you know, I’m, I’m Gen X. I think that, you know, it’s interesting, I think most of my friends, honestly have gotten more progressive, not more conservative. Most people I know, and I don’t have only progressive friends, I have been friends that are pretty, pretty centered and pretty middle of the road, whatever. But they are more liberal today, as a reaction over the last six years, and in his awakening, to climate, and quite honestly, all of us have kids that are at 2022-24′. And we care really deeply about what happens to them. And so I’m curious if there’s just patterns of being destroyed.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  33:34

I would say two things. One, this is the most diverse generation racially, ethnically, as a voting bloc, this is also a generation that has many LGBTQ folks in IT or friends. They grew up in a time period where it’s like, wait, you would be ashamed to be gay? Like why would you know, trying to force people back in the closet, recreate that culture. But I think the other piece about it is that the Republican Party has become more and more extreme, and so out of step, especially with young people in their expectations of the world that they see and want to be a part of. And I think the question is, does the Republican Party shift course because when I was when I voted that first time, there were young people, a lot of people said during that when I was 18, there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Right. And there were certain things it was hard to see the difference on criminal justice reform on taxation. on foreign policy today, it’s hard to see much comparison on nearly any issue between Democrats and Republicans. And so the question is, Will Republicans shift course are they just going to go keep going down the extreme extremist route towards fascism and authoritarian rule that speaks to a minority of Americans and then try and shape the minority voter population to be able to continue to win?

Andy Slavitt  34:51

Well, maybe let’s close with that question. John, what do you think, is the Republican Party’s course of action here?

John Della Volpe  34:59

Well, Well, before I’m gonna answer that, but before I do that, let me tell you how dire it is. In the in the in the 2022, midterm election, Republican Party lost White non-college voters under 30. Okay. That’s a serious problem, right? When Cristina voted for the first time, there was no difference. 50% of younger people voted for Bush, 50% voted for Gore it was folks in their 60s were more progressive than those first millennials and Gen Z or GenXers back in those days.

Andy Slavitt  35:30

What does that compared to today?

John Della Volpe  35:32

It’s a three point difference. It was literally like it was like 4848 with a couple for perot back in for Nader back in 2000. And today, it’s a 20-25 point difference.

Andy Slavitt  35:43

[…] for those people have voted for Nader by the way but we’ll get to that another time.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  35:46

I voted for Nader in Ohio, I will let you know is my first vote. Besides that, I never made that mistake again, go on.

Andy Slavitt  35:53

Two confessions.

John Della Volpe  35:54

But listen for the Republican Party to be taken seriously. They just need to like stop or the culture war, they need to stop with a bullying. And they need to literally pull up a chair and begin to listen and understand that when they were there, the age of a young person today, they can work a summer job and pay for a full year public or private university. They had never thought about gun violence the way this generation does. Stop with a bullying, stop the culture wars, pull up our chair and begin to identify with some of these issues today. I mean, I have to agree with everything but begin to take an honest listen.

Andy Slavitt  36:28

Let me ask you about that. Now I’m not a Republican strategist, as people in the show know. But I think the Republican political strategy as kind of a typified by Ron DeSantis is anti-woke ism, anti-woke ism. It it’s this sense that we’ve gone too far as a society, corporations and schools and other institutions, the government should not be putting their thumb on the scale it really appealing to this well homophobic sense to be honest. And indeed there is polling, the recent Wall Street Journal poll, which we all saw, which I participated in was indicated that more than half of Republicans think we are going too far. In the quest for rights for folks, is there. Is there any sense, John, that that is striking a chord? Or is that a road to nowhere for Republicans?

John Della Volpe  37:30

It’s a road to nowhere where the Republican youth vote with most of the Republican youth folk. Well, let me just tell you real quick. There are a lot of places where younger Democrats and younger Republicans agree. And one of the places where they agree, is that they believe that all of society has a responsibility to address the systemic challenges, not just government, including private corporations. So in 2018-2019, when the Walmart’s and the Dick’s Sporting Goods of the world, and others alike began to remove certain firearms that was applauded by both sides of the aisle. So I think they’re going way too far to assume that children and grandchildren are those old Republicans are going to be in line, that’s not going to be the case. And what younger people what connects this generation is that there’s a sense of protection those people more vulnerable than themselves. That’s what makes me optimistic. Young people, by definition, are vulnerable. So when they see elders in the Republican Party punching down on members of the LGBTQ community, by the way, a quarter of them, a quarter of young members of this community attempted suicide, Andy, in high school, attempted suicide 22% I think that is right. So when members of this party, see their elders punching down on this most vulnerable population, it’s going to be, you know, 180, back towards looking at a more independent view of politics and voting for whoever the person is that meets your value is likely not going to be Republicans in the future.

Andy Slavitt  39:00

And 100% of the youth and probably people far older, the youth have a friend, a loved one cousin, a sister, a sibling, a brother, some intimate person in their life that they care about, who is affected by exactly what you’ve said, Christina, I’m gonna offer you the last word as I do, I just say, some wisdom that feels to be coming from all of us as to young people, or if you have young people in your life, a vote and be you might want to vote for the people who want you to vote. Not to be we don’t want you to vote. Any last words?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  39:38

Yeah, I would say two quick things. One is this is a generation that also when you talk to young people is to talk about the power of their vote and acknowledge that voting isn’t the only way you make change. But it is the most basic thing you must do. It’s the tool you never leave out of your toolbox. And I think that speaks to a lot of young people and the last bit of hope I have it’s like we face some very big problems, a climate crisis, a democracy in decline it grotesque and runaway income inequality. Not to mention this is again the first generation in American history to be worse off than their parents. But we believe that the biggest problems we face can be solved with the power of young people. And that the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. And we have to be the ones to bend it. And young people are bending it right now. And we’re living through that moment. And it’s exciting. And that’s exactly why need to be investing in the power of young people.

Andy Slavitt  40:33

Cristina, thank you for coming to the bubble.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez  40:35

Thanks so much.

Andy Slavitt  40:36

John, thank you so much for coming into bubble.

John Della Volpe  40:38

Thanks, Andy.

Andy Slavitt  40:53

Okay, let me tell you what’s coming up after the weekend, I doubt you’re gonna really be able to enjoy your weekend, you’re gonna be in such anticipation of our Monday show. That’s how good it is. We have Mark Cuban coming on the show. Mark was our very first guest. And that’s a very interesting conversation that we’re having about the pharmaceutical industry. And his effort now, basically, to define himself based on his ability to take on the pharmaceutical industry. His Twitter bio now says, dunking on the pharma industry. So we’re gonna talk about that. But I’m also going to ask him about a bunch of other things that I think are relevant and interesting. Always good guest. Fun to have Mark on. So that’s Monday. Okay, now you have permission to go enjoy your weekend. Make the best of it. Pick some flowers walk in the park and with your family or friends. That’s it. See you Monday.


Thanks for listening to IN THE BUBBLE. We’re a production of Lemonada Media. Kathryn Barnes, Jackie Harris and Kyle Shiely produced our show, and they’re great. Our mix is by Noah Smith and James Barber, and they’re great, too. Steve Nelson is the vice president of the weekly content, and he’s okay, too. And of course, the ultimate bosses, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, they executive produced the show, we love them dearly. Our theme was composed by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill, with additional music by Ivan Kuraev. You can find out more about our show on social media at @LemonadaMedia where you’ll also get the transcript of the show. And you can find me at @ASlavitt on Twitter. If you like what you heard today, why don’t you tell your friends to listen as well, and get them to write a review. Thanks so much, talk to you next time.

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