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Opinion

Young Arizonans Cannot Afford to Skip the 2024 Election | Opinion

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by Francesca Martin, Arizona Mirror
August 29, 2023

As the 2024 election approaches rather quickly, we should take time to reflect on the 2022 midterms. For the first time in a long time, students came out in record numbers to vote, breaking turnout records and creating change in Arizona. 

This shift in turnout was not a sudden thing, though. 

Back in the 2018 midterms, we saw a huge blue wave led by many young people who were fed up with the anti-human sentiments that former President Donald Trump brought to the White House. In that election, young people favored Democratic candidates with a 67 to 32% margin, showing that youth (when they actually come out and vote) tend to support Democrats overwhelmingly. 

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In 2014, before the so-called MAGA wing of the GOP had been birthed, only 9.8% of young voters in Arizona decided to cast their ballots. On the other hand, in 2022, youth turnout skyrocketed when 24.8% of young Arizonans turned out to vote! This high turnout rate resulted in major wins for Democrats, including some — like Attorney General Kris Mayes’ race — by extremely small margins and others, like U.S. Senator Mark Kelly’s race, by monstrous margins.

As we look toward the upcoming presidential election, Arizonans should expect young people to come out in even greater numbers than in the last few elections as more “Gen-Zers” become eligible to vote. Youth have a lot at stake in this election, and they truly understand the grave threat of an insurrectionist attempt to re-enter the presidency.

As Republicans fearfully realized that a blue wave was beginning to hit Arizona, Turning Point USA, America’s largest right-wing, student-focused organization (which happens to be headquartered in Phoenix) threw tens of millions of dollars into the 2022 election. 

Their investment didn’t go very far, unsurprisingly, as a majority of their candidates suffered tough losses.

Keep Arizona Blue Student Coalition, on the other hand, was founded in 2021 by a group of students — students who are actively tackling issues from workers rights to gun control to reproductive rights. Our hard work increased student turnout in 2022 and we have already begun the fight to build resources and develop strategies for 2024. 

Our network of students believe that we should have autonomy over our own bodies, a system that supports working families, a clean energy future, and healthcare for all. That is why we are making big investments in the youth electorate and building student power in 2024. 

Contrary to Turning Point’s wasted dollars, our critical investments will boost ideas and candidates that young people can actually get behind instead of the fascist ideals TPUSA is putting forth.

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Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.