Because we’re ridiculous democracy nerds, we spent last night glued to Twitter watching the returns come in for the UK general election. The tl;dr is that the progressive Labour Party overperformed almost everyone’s expectations, driven in huge part by young people turning up.
Early returns showed that young Britons turned out at 72% – up from 43% two years ago. That’s mind blowing.
Young people voted for Labour by 2:1 over Conservatives, and that’s how Labour surged.
Both at home and abroad, we’re seeing the power of the youth vote, and learning how to unlock it. If you want to win, you need inspired young people. And if you want young people, you need to speak to our needs. (And obviously do a metric ton of peer-to-peer engagement in the field).
To turn out masses of young people, run on economic and racial justice. Labour ran on free college tuition, increased funding for schools, fighting racism and Islamaphobia, protecting renters and helping working people afford to buy homes, giving workers a share in corporate profits, protecting and expanding universal healthcare, and taxing the very wealthiest. Oh, and voting rights for 16-year-olds.
The lack of engagement on economic justice with our generation in the US – a generation that is still working to recover post Recession – led to the creation of our Broke AF campaign. A lot of we’re fighting for matches the platform that inspired young people to turn out in record numbers:
- Free college tuition and no student debt
- Guaranteed affordable housing
- Workers owning a stake in corporate profits
And allying with youth of color led organizations centering racial justice issues from policing to immigration reform allows for a more robust set of demands that truly centers the needs of our generation. When you run on those things, you win. Period. Get it. It’s the truth, y’all.
Plus, Labour also ran more women and people of color for office than they ever had before (and more than any other party).
While we’re not Britain, there are epic lessons to be learned – especially as our generation is engaging now both in the streets AND in the voting booth. To inspire America’s most diverse generation, you also need more than representation. You need to be serious and unapologetic about racial justice. Ending mass incarceration. Ending police brutality. Embracing immigrants. True justice.
Real, true economic justice + racial justice + candidate diversity is how you get young people inspired and turning out. And that’s how you win.
Tell your friends.