Opinion

How Younger Generations are Changing and Shaping Politics

By Frank Cannistra 

frank.cannistra@spartans.ut.edu

Now more than ever, the world of politics and the way that people analyze and cover political topics is being shaped by the younger generation. The priorities of the media that cover politics and the way that people learn about and participate in politics look wildly different than it did not long ago. 

In particular, social media has completely changed the way the world of politics and political media functions. The argument, though, can function to claim that it has both a good and a bad impact on the world of politics. Some minds might immediately rush to say that it’s had a bad impact on politics, but it’s impossible not to mention that social media has raised awareness of political issues and the happenings throughout the world of politics.  

Most shows on national news networks have also been modified, seemingly prioritizing big arguments and attention-grabbing headlines to draw ratings instead of pushing actual political agendas. You’re entirely more likely to catch a verbal dispute between two political “experts” on television or social media than you are to see politicians genuinely talking about their agendas and attempting to make valuable changes to society. 

Perhaps the shift in both coverage and functions throughout politics is a result of the Trump administration having such an emphatically over-the-top social media presence throughout Trump’s presidential term. Not too long ago, the President of the United States would be making headlines daily for whatever wacky or aggressive thing he decided to tweet that day. There were legitimately years where Trump’s twitter account pretty much wrote the Saturday Night Live script for the writers, it was just too easy.  

Our generation has also notably changed politics by forcing the issue on formerly taboo subjects. Now more than ever people are incredibly outspoken about unfair laws, race and gender biases, corrupt justice, political systems and more. There is more race and gender diversity representation in politics than ever, largely due to this generation being much more difficult for those in power to silence than in past generations. One could argue there still isn’t quite enough diversity, but it is trending in a good direction.  

Those in power in politics have taken notice of this generation’s tendencies. Throughout campaigns, politicians have, in a way, changed their self-presentation to appeal to the younger generation, seemingly aware of how much impact they have. Leaders now recognize what issues are trending within the younger generation and will sometimes address and acknowledge what our generation is buzzing about.  

The way that our generation is shaping and changing politics is, as most political topics are, a point of contention with no decisively positive or negative impact, but more voices than ever are being heard and access to information has only gotten easier. We also have more options than ever for communicating what issues are important to us, and what this generation feels needs to be addressed. Our generation is impacting politics and political coverage just as every generation has, if not more.  

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