Will Gen Z & Millennials Show Up Next November?

Andy Ostroy
2 min readDec 23, 2023

Trigger alert: If you’re a Gen Z with thin skin, now would be a great time to do a vibe check and bounce.

Because I’m growing increasingly impatient, and quite frankly annoyed, by the naivete and attitude of some young people today. Their planet is burning up. Their schools are being shot up. If they get an abortion they could be locked up. Their Constitution is being torn up. Their democracy is being blown up. But polls show young folks are abandoning President Biden because of his support for Israel following the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

While young people today are the most electorally engaged in decades, with 31% under age 30 having voted in 2022, that number is both perplexing and embarrassing. Given what’s at stake with climate change, reproductive rights, school shootings and overall gun violence, and the existential threat facing our democracy, that stat should be more like 80%. If they don’t vote and vote Democrat now, I doubt they ever will…

So why are Gen Z and millennial voting percentages so low? Why don’t they vote? Many people characterize them as uninformed, naive and misguided at best, or apathetic, entitled and lazy at worst.

With each election, there’s the incessant chatter — more like hope — about how it’s Gen Z and young people who are gonna save us from the evils of Donald Trump and Republicans. That they’re fired up to change America.

But come Election Day they don’t show up. Maybe they’re too tired. Or it’s too cold outside. Or it’s raining. Or they wanna hang with friends. Or they’d rather binge Bachelor in Paradise. Or they simply just don’t give a shit. Hey…don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just throwing out the possible reasons, because the truth is, it has to be one or more of ‘em.

Look, I get that young people think Biden’s too old, and that they’d love a president who more generationally represents them. I get that they’re concerned about the War and the collateral damage in Gaza… and blame Biden for it. I get that they’re young and idealistic.

But part of being an adult is to understand and accept that, as Mick Jagger famously sang, you can’t always get what you want. That sometimes you’re faced with what you consider two really unpleasant choices, and the smartest, most practical, most mature thing to do is to bite your lip, suck it up, and choose one. Call it the lesser of two evils, or however you need to frame it.

But staying home and choosing nothing…or worse, throwing votes away on 3rd party candidates with zero chance of winning…is impractical, immature and dangerous. Because this time it literally could mean the end of our 247-year-old democracy.

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Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers