Youth vote in the news 2/9
Musings on the Gen Z gender divide. Betches 🤝 Under The Desk News. What we can learn from young Black voters in South Carolina. And ICYMI, Alix Earle used a Nikki Haley-inspired TikTok sound.
From musings on the Gen Z gender divide, to a next generation media collaboration, cross-partisan efforts to combat the youth mental health crisis, and takeaways from young Black voters in South Carolina, here are this week’s headlines.
Also, while former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is really struggling and lost the Nevada GOP primary to “none of these candidates,” I want to take a moment to acknowledge — before it’s too late — that Haley did manage to spark a viral TikTok sound that was used by the likes of TikTok icon Alix Earle (who has 6.4 million followers) at the end of last year. Check it out 👀 🎧:
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Youth vote in the news 2/9
Gen Z and millennials want to have a chat about mental health. With politicians, Elena Moore for NPR, 2/9
In a rare bipartisan and intergenerational manner, Democrats and Republicans are talking about and working to address youth mental health, Moore reports — detailing efforts from state legislators, members of Congress, as well as both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
The unique cross party and cross generational push comes as a result of pressure from young people (and their parents) to combat the youth mental health crisis.
“Mental health has made its way into politics with elected officials and candidates linking high-profile political issues – including regulating social media companies, addressing drug addiction and combating gun violence – to concerns over young people's well-being,” Moore reports.
The Gender War Within Gen Z, Derek Thompson via Plain English for The Ringer Podcast Network, 2/6
To better understand the growing divide between Gen Z women, who are increasingly liberal, and Gen Z men, who are moving further to the right, Thompson chats with Alice Evans, a senior lecturer at King’s College London and a visiting fellow at Stanford University. Evans is a leading expert in gender, equality, and inequality around the world.
“This gender schism isn’t just happening in the U.S. It’s happening in Europe, northern Africa, and eastern Asia. Why? And what are the implications of sharply diverging politics between men and women in our lifetime?,” the Plain English team notes.
“Let’s start by talking about the U.S. You know the data on gender polarization as well as anybody. Why don’t you first give me your thesis statement? What do you see happening in the data and in the surveys that you’ve read?,” Thompson asks Evans at the top of the podcast episode.
“OK. In the U.S., it seems to be a little mixed and murky, but some data suggests that men are more likely to express concerns that women seek to gain power over men or that women’s gains come as a threat. But there is some fluctuation year by year. Some data points to women being more progressive, more concerned about racial bias, and also more willing to support zero-platforming conservative speakers. So that illiberalism, I think, seems more female,” Evans says.
An internet media company launches a plan to cover the election for Gen Z, Taylor Lorenz for The Washington Post, 2/6
Betches, the online media company popular with millennial and Gen Z women, is teaming up with V Spehar, known to their 3 million TikTok followers as Under The Desk News, to launch a political podcast aimed at younger audiences, Lorenz reports. The podcast will be titled “American Fever Dream,” and co-hosted by Betches’ Amanda Duberman and Spehar. For those unfamiliar with these two brands and personalities, they each hold massive sway with millennial and Gen Z audiences and are likely to deliver punchy commentary in the months ahead. Their collaboration illustrates an investment in personality-driven news and commentary that resonates with this generation of consumers.
Betches is outwardly liberal, and Spehar, who Lorenz writes is “a former Republican,” recently posted a TikTok (that’s worth watching) laying out that while it may “come as a shock to a lot of people,” they “don’t care if you vote for Joe Biden.” Spehar, who said, “I do care that you’re registered to vote,” has been candid about the fact that most people are not psyched about a Biden Trump rematch, or as they put it: “the two geriatric men that are shuffling their way towards the presidency.”
“Traditional journalism is significantly weaker and harder to access than ever and people are spending more time on their phones being fed news algorithmically,” Betches’ co-founder Sami Sage told Lorenz. “We’re sort of in that medium space between influencer and media company. We use a level of personality driven media … and we don’t really see as much of a barrier between us, the company and the people we’re trying to reach.”
The message matters to young Black voters weighing Biden-Harris ticket, Juana Summers via All Things Considered for NPR, 2/3
While Biden won the Democratic primary in South Carolina, the way young Black voters talk about key issues there can offer insight into the type of conversations happening with this demographic across the country — especially since, as Summers notes — “some recent polling shows Biden underperforming with Black voters, particularly Black men and young voters, compared to .”
In a conversation with Summers, South Carolina state Rep. Kambrell Garvin — whose district will benefit from the creation of an electric vehicle plant thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act legislation — “said one of the president's challenges isn't his agenda or his record,” Summers reports. “It's how the campaign communicates it.”
“I think that there's work to be done, especially as it relates to President Biden coming in and really attracting people like myself - young, African American, male, Southern. So I think it goes back to telling the story. When you tell a story and give people a reason to show up and vote, I think that they will,” Garvin told Summers.
Summers also spoke with Tamandre Robinson, a 24-year-old student at Midlands Technical College. According to Summers, Robinson didn’t vote in 2020 and this year is, “open to supporting a candidate from any party.”
“When you come to the Black community and you speak to us, and you say, hey, it's our vote that you want, you should come with things that are going to impact and change our lives. I think the problem is saying you're going to do a thing for us and then nothing changes,” Robinson said.
👀 A new youth vote coverage initiative via Teen Vogue
Meet Teen Vogue's 2024 Election Student Correspondents, Teen Vogue Staff for Teen Vogue, 2/8
Teen Vogue rolled out a team of student correspondents who will cover the 2024 election for the publication. The students come from communities in a swath of key states including Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
“Nobody understands young voters the way other young people do. So for the 2024 election cycle, Teen Vogue has recruited a team of student-journalist correspondents to report on how their peers are navigating this messy political landscape,” Teen Vogue said when it announced the initiative this week.
In a Q&A style format, Sarah Akaaboune from Michigan, Tori Gantz from Arizona, Jane Houseal from Wisconsin, Samuel Larreal from Florida, Lydia McFarlane from Pennsylvania, Toni Odejimi from Georgia, and Lizette Ramirez from Nevada shared their backgrounds and what they’re most excited to cover this year. Topics ranged from how “traumatic events” will impact voter turnout, to issues affecting student and minority communities.