Generation Z Part III: Challenging the Status Quo in Unconventional Ways

Radical leftism has moved from the edges of society to the center, infiltrating the institutions of government, media, and education, and inadvertently giving new meaning to the term ‘open-mindedness’. This term is no longer synonymous with adopting a far-left progressive ideology, but more aptly applies to the moderates or conservatives who question the progressive agenda. A majority of Generation Zers are still making their way through a thoroughly left-wing educational system and data shows young conservatives are far less comfortable ‘coming out’ politically to professors than liberals and independents. Still, many members of Generation Z favor conservative policies, and are questioning the merit of left-wing academia itself.

YouGov polling shows that Generation Z is the least likely to buy into the rigidly anti-Trump, pro-Globalist narrative that is relentlessly pushed by the left and the mainstream media. Voters under thirty are the least likely of all age groups to say they disapprove of ‘everything’ President Trump has done, and even among young Americans who say they do disapprove of Trump, under-thirties are the most likely of all age groups to say they agree with him on ‘a few’ things. They’re also more open-minded to the President’s statements on immigration. When asked to rate his July 14th Tweet on the United States being too crowded and shifting blame to Democrats for the border crisis, 50% of voters under thirty rated his comments ‘Great’, ‘Good’ or ‘OK’, compared to 47% of voters 30-44. On the flip side, 50% of voters under thirty ranked his comments ‘Bad’ or ‘Terrible’, compared to 53% of voters 30-44 as shown below.

Source: YouGov
Source: YouGov

Another area where Generation Z is taking an unconventional stance is education. A growing share of young people are critical of the costs of education, and many are opting out of college in favor of entrepreneurship, trade school, or entering the workforce. These college-ambivalent Generation Zers are more likely to be Republican or Independent, white, and male, and to hail from Central and Mountain states including Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming. They also share a high level of mistrust in the mainstream media, and negative views of the Democratic party.

A 2019 paper from the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows Gen Z’s ambivalence toward the necessity of a costly higher education is well placed. The authors crunched the numbers on the net financial returns a family headed by a college graduate could expect compared to an otherwise similar family headed by someone without a degree. They found that the ‘college wealth premium’ is at a historic low among white households, and among all other races and ethnicities it is essentially zero.

Eighty-four percent of young people say it is possible to be successful and contribute to society in a meaningful way without getting a college degree, but 74% are worried about the social implications of opting out of college.

  • Young people who voted third party in 2016 are over twice as likely as those who voted for either Trump or Clinton to say they have a low desire to go to college. Eleven percent of third-party voters have a low desire to attend college, versus 5% of Trump voters and 3% of Clinton voters.
  • Negative views of the Democratic Party rise with the low-desire group. Thirty-six percent of the low-desire group disapproves of the Democratic Party, versus 27% of the high-desire group. Fifty-four percent of the high-desire group approves of the Democratic Party, but that drops to just 37% in the low-desire group.
  • There is a negligible difference in views of the Republican Party between the high and low desire groups. In the low desire group, 33% approves of the GOP while in the high-desire group 34% approves.

We included a question on how young people view mainstream media such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, and found that fifty-one percent of the high-desire group holds a positive view of mainstream media, but only 32% of the low-desire group does. Looking at this statement in reverse, 48% of the low-desire group disapproves of mainstream media, versus 32% of the high-desire group. This finding indicates that Generation Z is willing to take a stand against the status quo on key issues that directly impact them.

The Democratic Party and an array of far-left groups including Black Lives Matter and even Antifa are mobilizing to target Generation Z and build a coalition that will remake the United States into something unrecognizable. They seek to destroy the market economy that has made the United States the most economically prosperous country on earth, open our borders to lawlessness, and continue taxing the American middle-class to pay for dubious international ‘peace-keeping’ efforts and an ever-expanding welfare state. The far left is banking on not only captivating the 21% of young people who already have an appetite for radical change, but on growing those numbers.

Conservatives, moderates, libertarians, and independent Americans who still believe in individual rights, the rule of law, and free speech, have an opportunity now, to make the case to young people for a country worth living in. The vast majority of thirteen to twenty-three-year-olds are not radicals. They do not support endless wars overseas or lawlessness at the border. They are cautious, skeptical, hardworking, and willing to admit when they agree with President Trump on specific issues. They are critical of fiscal waste, and many are choosing to opt out of college altogether, deeming it a waste of money. Generation Z needs to be addressed as a separate political group from Millennials. The next generation is a natural fit for fiscal restraint, anti-interventionalism, and the rule of law. Most young people are not far-leftists, but it is necessary to fight for Generation Z, and make the case for the classically liberal values that set America apart.