Politics The first General Z candidates stand for Congress -...

The first General Z candidates stand for Congress – and stand against compromise

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Maxwell Frost, then national organizing director of March for Our Lives, speaks during the March for Our Lives Florida drive-in rally and relief event.

Orlando Sentinel / TNS


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Orlando Sentinel / TNS

Maxwell Frost, then national organizing director of March for Our Lives, speaks during the March for Our Lives Florida drive-in rally and relief event.

Orlando Sentinel / TNS

It’s not hard for Maxwell to name Alejandro Frost the political moments of his childhood that stuck with him.

“Turning on the TV and seeing people sleeping outside of Wall Street talking about something called ‘wealth inequality’ – watching it in elementary school,” Frost said.

“I grew up learning that 30 minutes away from me, a boy who looked like me, who was wearing a hoodie, was murdered after seeing Black, Trevon Martin and the ensuing rage,” he added.

Frost is running for Congress in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, an open and blue space with parts of Orlando – he’s 25, the minimum age to serve in the U.S. House.

It is also a part of Generation Z – which Pew Research Center Anyone born between 1997 and 1997 is defined as – and, if elected, will likely be the first General Z member of Congress. 2022 marks the middle cycle For the first time in 16 years Presenting questions about how Jane Z will approach Washington, Millennials are not able to run the youngest generation.

For Frost, his roots have been working as an activist since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and most recently as national organizing director for March for Our Live, a youth-led group advocating enhanced gun control policy. He is too A survivor A separate incident of gun violence.

The generation that took shape from the upheaval

Given that this generation has come of age in such turbulent times in American history, General Z has a new way to go into politics, he says.

“Our generation has been born with a lot of trauma and people are frustrated about things. And I think because of that, our generation naturally thinks differently about things,” Frost said.

In the St. Louis suburb, 25-year-old Ray Reed is also moving away from the traditional mold. He is an organizer and former Democratic campaign worker who is trying to oust Republican Republican Ann Wagner from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District and pushing back against those who say he should start in local politics.

Ray Reid, the Democratic candidate from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, speaks to voters April 28 at City Hall in Brentwood.

Brian Munoz / STLPR


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Brian Munoz / STLPR

Ray Reid, the Democratic candidate from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, speaks to voters April 28 at City Hall in Brentwood.

Brian Munoz / STLPR

“Critics say, hey, he’s too young, he’s too dishonest, maybe if he’s spent, some conditions in Jeff[erson] The city, perhaps later, will be ready to run for Congress. Let’s bring to our system what is really just a political discussion. Let’s teach him how to play the game in our own way. And then if we say he’s ready, he can run for a higher position, ”Reed said.

He says critics dismiss him as a dangerous choice.

“I think the real risk is to field the same type of democratic candidates after the election and expect some different outcome,” he added.

Reed and Frost are both progressive, respecting issues such as curbing gun violence, passing the Green New Deal, and canceling student loans.

Both candidates following the Supreme Court ruling in Rowe v. Wade Expressed Outrage Ruling copies and posts Photo And Video They were present to protest.

Reed also linked the decision to General Z voters.

And while Frost and Reed are problem-focused, there’s no denying that age is part of their campaign.

For Frost, the ability to make history as a member of the First General Z House plays a more symbolic role.

“Yes we march, yes we help each other, yes we are busy on social media and now we are running for office because we believe we are ready to stay in the room and be the voice of our community and we can. Do it and allow young people Should, ”he said.

Despite the frost The challenge has to be faced His primary opponent, Rajya Sen. From Randolph Brassey, he sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. And rep. Many high-profile supporters have picked up, including progressive leaders like Pramila Jaipal, D-Wash. It also has the support of the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC and the gun control organization Giffords.

What motivates young candidates to run?

Frost and Reed’s campaign makes sense for Amanda Litman, CEO of Millennium and Run for Something, which for the first time supports Democratic candidates.

“You can’t run for office as a 25-year-old because it’s the next step in your career or something you’ve been planning for since you were president of kindergarten or college,” Litman said. She added, “You’re running because there’s a problem that’s driving you so fast that you can’t imagine doing anything else with your time.”

But this interest is not limited to Democratic candidates – Caroline Levitt is a staunch conservative for Congress in New Hampshire’s first district. Toss up Currently, Democratic Republican Chris Pappa has a seat.

Levitt walks to the Christmas Parade in Salem, NH last December.

Caroline for Congress


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Caroline for Congress

Levitt walks to the Christmas Parade in Salem, NH last December.

Caroline for Congress

Levitt will turn 25 in August, making her eligible to serve in Congress until next January.

“It’s a one-sided culture we live in,” Levitt said. “How do we get out of this mold? We can interact with these voters by electing young people, gaining a platform at the national level.

Levitt is already a checked GOP employee, serving as an assistant press secretary in the Trump administration. Most recently, she met Millennial Republican Alice Stefanik, RN.Y. Who made history as the youngest woman to be elected to Congress at that time in 2014. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Stephanick, along with Madison Couthorne, NC, has also backed Levitt

Despite Gen Z’s early voting trend Definitely liberalLevitt hopes her campaign will inspire young conservatives and lead voters away from the progressive ideas she argues.

“I think some of these more progressive candidates are just a reflection of the system that exists and that is the exact system that I am trying to fight against,” she said.

Levitt was sitting to the right of then-White House Press Secretary Kylie McKinney while James Brady was briefing in the White House press briefing room.

Alex Wong / Getty Images


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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Levitt was sitting to the right of then-White House Press Secretary Kyle McKenney while giving a briefing in the White House’s James Brady Press briefing room.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

From the opposite end of the political spectrum, Frost shares a similarly militant attitude when imagining how to act in a bitterly divided Congress.

“We’ve come to the negotiating table, which isn’t already a compromise, which Democrats usually do,” Frost said. “I think that’s part of the reason why the Republican Party’s long-term plans are so successful,” he added.

General Z’s approach to politics differs from that of millennials

This determination to stand up for our values ​​shows a clear deviation from the millennial generation that came to Congress during the Obama presidency, according to Kristin Saltis Anderson, a conservative polster and strategist – who is also a millennial.

“The framework has changed, ‘I’m going to make a change that is looking for opportunities to work along the way,’ and more, ‘I’m going to disrupt institutions and systems that allow others. To stay on the sidelines,'” she said.

But getting into Congress and disrupting the organization is not something Democrats get compared to Republicans.

“It’s very shocking that while the Democratic Party is doing well among young voters, they don’t seem to have cornered the market in elevating young candidates,” Anderson said.

For Litman, this is the biggest problem for Democrats, and it draws attention to the age disintegration in the House leadership in each party.

“There’s really no incentive for the older people in Congress to step aside and lead the younger generation,” Litman said, “because the longer you serve, the more likely you are to get seniority on the committee.”

Stephanick (left) and Levitt (right) walk through the Capitol Visitors Center on May 14, the day Republicans voted for Stephanic to lead the House.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images


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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Stephanick (left) and Levitt (right) walk through the Capitol Visitors Center on May 14, the day Republicans voted for Stephanic to lead the House.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Unlike the Democratic side, Republicans have begun to elevate young members. Last year, Stephanick moved up in the GOP rankings, it became President of the House Republican ConferenceAnd bringing down the average age of GOP leadership to 55.

On the democratic side, Millennial Trailblazers stay away from leadership and the average age is 71.

This age inequality between the parties prompts Anderson to argue that both sides currently have no real legs.

“I don’t think any party has a dramatic advantage in raising the Generation Z voice in the elected office at the moment, and despite the fact that Democrats have an advantage in those voters in the ballot box,” she said.

While the prospects for both Democrats and Republicans, including future General Z members, remain unclear, these midterm cycle-running inaugural classes move on to their priorities.

Reed will play in Missouri on August 1, Frost in Florida on August 23, and Levitt in New Hampshire on September 13.



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