The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Older Democrats must shape up, or get out of the way

Recent conflict in Iowa over the Israel-Hamas war reminds us that young people are fed up with the Democratic Party, and it is hard to blame them.
President+Joe+Biden+speaks+during+his+visit+at+the+POET+Bioprocessing+ethanol+plant+in+Menlo%2C+Iowa%2C+on+Tuesday%2C+April+12%2C+2022.
Grace Smith
President Joe Biden speaks during his visit at the POET Bioprocessing ethanol plant in Menlo, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Young progressives are breaking away from the Democratic Party, and it’s obvious why.  

Iowa Democrats and young progressives, including the University Democrats at Iowa, have clashed over issues concerning the Israel-Hamas war. Across the nation, a whopping 70 percent of people ages 18-34, an overwhelmingly progressive demographic, do not approve of Biden’s handling of the conflict.

There are a variety of reasons why the Democratic party is losing support from young voters. Instead of blaming the youth and accusing them of sympathizing with Republicans, Democrats across the nation must take this moment to reshape their policies and election strategies to reflect that of an up-and-coming generation that is much more progressive than the Democrats are historically. Failure to do so will result in crushing election defeats.

Generation Z has reached the age where their preferences can now be the difference makers in any given election. Their distaste for the current political state and direction of our country has been felt in recent elections and will only grow stronger with each concurrent election.

When looking at the facts, it is hard to blame Gen Z for their scornfulness of the U.S. They’ve grown weary of an economy that prioritizes the profits of corporations and salaries of executives over things, such as the environment, health of the citizens, and welfare of the workers who generate those profits and then labels that system as “freedom.”

In every election since the 2016 presidential election, Democrats have presented a simple argument embodied by the slogan “Vote blue no matter who,” according to *The New York Times*. They argue that because there are only two viable parties, not voting for a Democrat in every case is a vote for Republicans.

While it’s clearly true there are only two viable parties, having to argue time and time again that people must vote for candidates they validly don’t like for the sake of harm reduction is a conviction of the widespread disdain held for the Democratic Party. 

In any given individual election, harm reduction is the morally correct stance to take. However, when harm reduction is the only reason Democrats have to offer every election to get voters to go with the party, it is not going to be enough to support them going forward. The party must do a better job of reflecting their voters’ desires in both candidates and legislation.

This means aggressively taking on issues that everyday Americans face, especially issues that are growing worse for young people and thus are a higher priority for them. It means serious and unapologetic climate change legislation, fighting for reproductive health care rights, combating gun violence, making higher education more accessible, and fixing the ridiculous wealth gap that has exploded in recent decades thanks to lax corporate taxes.

Shaming people into voting for Democrats exclusively because of harm reduction is only going to carry the party for so much longer. In an ideal system, people will be able to vote for policies they like, not just against the policies they hate the most. If the Democratic Party is going to maintain its position as the dominant progressive party going forward, they have a lot of work to do. 

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About the Contributors
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
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Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
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Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.