Members of Gen Z are developing a reputation for using the power of social media to speak out about racism, human trafficking, gun control and other political hot topics.
State Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, says Gen Z has a lot to add to the political conversation.
“Generation Z reminds me a lot of the ’60s generation because they want their voices heard,” he said.
Social media has helped Lanane get to know his voters on a more personal level, especially during his most-recent campaign in 2018.
Authenticity, transparency and results are among the political values held by many young people — and according to Anderson University political science major Nouhad Melki II, the ability to compromise also should be part of the equation.
“Normally, good politics is achieved through compromise, but now that we’ve gotten so ideologically hostile to each other, we’ve become more polarized,” he said.
Melki said that when he evaluates a political representative, he looks for moderation.
“For example, a Democrat has to be willing to compromise with a Republican about gun control,” he said.
Ideals and outcomes both matter to Gen Z, according to Pete Seat, an executive with the Indiana Republican Party.
“This generation is attracted to ideas and loves results,” said the former official in the George W. Bush administration. “Ideas get us to pay attention, but we expect results.”
Trina Thomas, digital communications specialist for the Indiana Democratic Party, noted that during the 2018 campaign, the party started a texting program for potential young voters. The texts included information about the candidates, where to vote and how to volunteer.
“We got a great response from this program,” Thomas said. “The issues that we received were all across the board: student debt, climate change, woman’s reproductive health, gun control and health care.”
On a local level, Kelli Heuer, secretary of the Madison County Republican Party, said Gen Z is showing signs of activism.
“I’ve seen more involvement from this generation,” she said. “They are our future.”