EthanBenn, Staff Reporter
Generation Z will be the most conservative age group in America since the Baby Boomers, just you wait! The Democrats better watch out – these kids are fiscally responsible and less progressive than Gen X and Millennials!
Odds are you’ve probably heard something like that in a headline before, or maybe even that exact phrasing. When the media turns its focus from Millennials ruining things, it tends to land on their successors being their political opposites. And so comes the question, how conservative – or liberal – is our generation? With the help of The Speculator team, the results for the CHS student body’s political views are in.
The methodology was fairly simple: have students self-identify their political views by clicking terms which described them and then asking them to vote for a 2016 presidential candidate. Follow that up with an actual test to get some hard data, and the results should speak for themselves. Of sixteen students surveyed, seven identified as “liberal,” six as “moderate,” five as progressive as well as five as Democratic, two for centrist and two for libertarian. No students self identified as conservative or Republican, and with sixteen possible checks for each term, liberal and moderate were by far in the lead. The test, known as “8values,” asked students to strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree (or say they were unsure) to questions about economic, diplomatic, civil and societal questions. Liberal and Social Liberal were once again the most common results.
Even though the sample size for the survey was quite small, the respondents’ results were not surprising and probably represent the beliefs of CHS students in general. However, it is interesting to note that many of them identified as moderates – if Gen-Z is liberal or left-leaning, then it’s certainly not as partisan or hardline as their older Millennial or Gen-X counterparts.
And that’s what so many news outlets and commentators are seizing on when they shout about this generation being the next wave of ultra-conservatives so Republican it would make Ronald Reagan smile: they’re just not as solidly Democratic as their parents or older siblings. Going back to the survey again, fifteen of the sixteen students responded to the question about the 2016 presidential election, with Hillary Clinton getting seven votes (46.7%), Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Joe Biden all receiving two votes each (13.3% per candidate), Bernie Sanders receiving one vote (6.7%) and one student undecided. These results can be interpreted various ways, but I see it as a younger generation rebelling against ineffective political parties and status quo politics – while Clinton had a plurality in this mock election, she lacked a majority due to spoiler candidates (and if you consider Trump, Stein and Sanders outsider candidates, it’s easy to see why).
Judging from these results, perhaps the name should be changed from the Post Millennial generation to the No Business as Usual Generation. Mostly born into a post-9/11 world, having experienced financial crises, domestic terrorism and dramatic social change, this generation is anything but resigned to the usual norms of politics. Look at Emma Gonzales and David Hogg from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, as two no-nonsense go-getters tired with a system which doesn’t work.
This generation isn’t so much blue or red as every political party’s color under the sun – the Republicans and Democrats aren’t going to be able to fully control, or appease, this new generation of soon-to-be voters.