Climate policy / legislation depends on politicians wanting to pass such laws but republicans with razor thin majorities are opposed and want to expand fossil fuel production instead. We try through this newsletter to change opinion but we’ve found that Americans make up their minds on climate and other major issues and don’t often change them.
But we’ve had an epiphany! Young Americans already broadly support strong climate change legislation and we don’t have to change their minds. The problem is, 18 to 30-year-olds don’t register and don’t vote nearly as much as those over 30. (About 50% of 18-34 year olds are registered while 75% of voters 50 and older are registered.) If young voters registered and voted, polling shows 65% would elect politicians that would do what they want on climate.
About 4 million Americans turn 18 each year, becoming able to vote. That’s a huge and consequential number. Biden beat Trump by about 10,000 votes in Arizona and Georgia in 2020. Trump won in 2016 by similar margins in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Republicans sure don’t want more left-leaning kids casting ballots in 2024. That’s a major reason why they’re pushing for voting restrictions in numerous states, including making it harder for college students to vote where they go to school.
For older Americans climate change is way down the list of their important issues. They don’t want to make even modest sacrifices for the next generation and they think they’ll be dead before the worst climate scenarios come true.
Climate is our issue but young Americans also care about other issues they can and are voting on: abortion rights, guns and Gender issues.
ABORTION: Old people don’t have babies but many are nevertheless happy to tell young women they must have babies if they get pregnant. Up to 70% of 18-29 year-olds are pro-choice, while a majority of 50 plus year olds are pro-life.
GUNS: While young men are most often the killers in mass shootings, it’s older, mostly white NRA people who have gotten the courts and Congress to insure the Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to AK-47 assault rifles. Back when the Second Amendment was passed, the most potent weapon was a single-shot manually loaded rifle. 18 to 30 year-olds and young women in particular overwhelmingly support stricter gun control laws.
LGBTQ ISSUES: Most older Americans don’t understand and aren’t comfortable with non-traditional gender and sex roles. Most young people, by contrast, can barely understand why anyone would want to make it an issue.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Young Americans should understand they can change the world if they vote.