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Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.
New research has revealed that American Gen Z’s political views are out of step with the rest of the US population. 54% of 18-24s who took a survey by Axios and Momentive last month said they had negative views of capitalism, with 42% viewing it positively. In contrast, the stats for the population as a whole were 57% in favour and 36% against capitalism. Even the 18-24s who vote Republican were less positive towards capitalism than two years ago, with support dropping from 81% to 66%.
While it’s shocking to see how different the Gen Z perspective is to older generations, the stats do align with a trend of youth support for more progressive politicians within the Democratic Party, most famously Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. These leaders share Gen Z’s idealistic outlook, and they are committed to combatting the climate crisis and racial inequality, which are among the most important issues to young voters. They’re also in favour of free college for all and the cancellation of student debt, which would be life-changing for many young people, and would counteract the tough start to adulthood they’ve experienced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While for older generations, “socialism” can be a dirty word, this isn’t the case among Gen Z. The aforementioned survey revealed that 52% of 18-24s have a positive view of the term, compared to 41% of the US population overall. These days, it’s not just socially acceptable but considered cool for young people to hold strong left-wing views. Socialist ideas have even made their way into a TikTok trend, where young creators highlight structural inequality in the most Gen Z way possible. Videos with the hashtag #eattherich have been viewed around 450 million times.
The question everyone in US politics would love to know is: will this shift to the left last as Gen Z grows up? Is it just youthful idealism, or will this generation reshape the political landscape as more of them reach voting age? Only time will tell.
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