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Gen Z stopped the ‘red wave’ in the midterms. The Republicans’ response? Try to raise the voting age

The rightwing views young people as a threat – and that is not just in the US

Wed 16 Nov 2022 02.00 EST

Gen Z certainly brought their A-game to the US midterms last week. Predictions of a “red wave” were thwarted, thanks largely to young peopleturning up in huge numbers to vote for Democrats. Young women in particular: 72% of women aged 18-29 voted for Democrat candidates according to exit polls. Not hard to figure out why, is it? Do we vote for the forced-birthers or do we vote for the people who might give us a few rights over our own bodies? Hmmm. Still, that question seems to have stumped other demographics: Democrats lost voters aged 45 and older by at least seven points, including a 12-point loss among people over 65.

The fact that young people don’t like them very much hasn’t bypassed the Republican party. Instead of rethinking their policies, however, some of them have decided to rethink the voting age. Over the last few days, a lot of Republicans have been proclaiming that the US ought to increase the legal voting age to 21. (One conservative radio personality even suggested it be raised to 28.) The same people who reckon a 10-year-old girl is mature enough to be forced to carry a baby, reckon a 20-year-old isn’t mature enough to vote.

It’s not just rightwing Americans who want to stop young people from voting, by the way. In the UK, voter ID laws passed earlier this year have some very ageist stipulations: older people will be able to show their travel passes as ID to vote but young people’s railcards and student ID cards won’t be accepted. Labour protested the new rules but didn’t seem to put up much of a fight to stop them going through.

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