One of the things right-wing conservatives point to as their final hope that America / Western civilization might be saved (which is literally and mathematically impossible) is the hope that “Generation Z is conservative.” See, those damn Millennials are the problem. They’re stupid and socialist. But Generation Z, ah, they’re as right-wing as Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Regan. They’ll take our country back!!!
Is this accurate, or just wishful thinking? As always, I will ignore all the emotions and rhetoric and look at what the facts can tell us.
The first problem we have is that there is no specific consensus on what “Generation Z” means, nor even what the term “Millennial” means. Generation Z is often described as those born from the mid-90’s to the mid 2000’s. But many times, this is the exact same age range used to describe “Millennials.” Go look at the Wikipedia definitions of those two generations and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
This alone presents a huge problem when trying to define Generation Z as “conservative” or any other label. I read a lot of different articles on this topic, and damn near none of them agreed on the exact age range for a “Generation Z” person.
Speaking of those articles, listed below are the sources most articles use as evidence that “Generation Z is conservative.” Let’s analyze.
1. The most common source citied is a UK survey of 2,000 adults in which Generation Z self identified as “conservative” or “moderate” on a number of social issues. The first problem, again, is that the survey clearly surveys adults, which means people age 18 or over. That leaves out tons of people in Generation Z, who are mostly born after the year 2000, so immediately we have a problem.
The second problem is that the survey simply reports how people self-identify. It does not report on specific policy issues. There is a huge difference between:
“Do you consider yourself progressive, moderate, or conservative on the issue of health care?”
“Should the government provide free health care to its citizens?”
Literally millions of people would answer “conservative” or “moderate” to the first question while answering “yes” the second one. Surveys, polls, and election results have shown for years that self-identification is complete and utter bullshit. You have to ask specific policy questions to accurately identify a person’s political leanings.
Lastly, the survey is given online, which violates most principles for public polling and sample selection criteria. You can read an analysis of this problematic survey here.
2. There is data to suggest that Generation Z teenagers drink less alcohol than Millennial teenagers. Yes, teenagers across the board are boozing less, doing less drugs, having less babies (though women in their early 20’s are having more), and doing less stupid things. This is an overall trend from the last several decades that has nothing to do with right or left. Overall crime rates have gone down in the last several decades, yet in that same time, America has radically shifted to the left, not the right. Conservatism has literally nothing to do with it.
3. There is data to suggest that Generation Z is saving money for retirement sooner than Millienals, and are more frightened of debt. Again, this has nothing to do with left or right; see what I just said above.
4. There is data to suggest that Generation Z dislikes tattoos and piercings. Again, what the fuck does this have to do with politics? Pretty much all of the most extreme left-wingers I know and have seen on TV and the internet have no tats or piercings, and I know a lot of jacked bodybuilder dudes covered in tats who are extreme right-wingers.
5. A survey of 5000 teenagers showed that more of them would have voted for Trump than Hillary. Finally, we have one source out of all of these that actually indicates political leanings instead of people hoping or guessing. Trump beat Hillary, 34% to 20%. Three issues with this:
A. As I spent pretty much all of 2016 explaining, the Hillary vs. Trump election was an anomaly in US history. You had a child running against a monster, so of course the child won, but not because people wanted a child running the country; it was because people feared the monster. Preferring Trump over Hillary does not make anyone a conservative, (particularly since Trump himself is not a conservative).
B. These same teenagers gave Obama a 41% approval rating with just a 25% disapproval rating. Would a “conservative” group of kids give Obama, one of the worst presidents in US history, only a 25% disapproval rating?
C. Hillary still kicked Trump’s ass with the black, Asian, and Latino teenagers, with triple to five times the vote. It was only the white teenagers who preferred Trump. Again, explain to me how this is “conservative?” Particularly since whites are the only declining race in the USA.
6. There is data to suggest that Generation Z goes to church at double the rates of Millennials. This does indeed suggest a right-wing leaning. The next question we need to ask is how many people in the typical, modern-day American church actually support small government, low taxes, free markets, little or no welfare state, and very low regulation, to the point where they will refuse to vote for politicians who may be against these things. You and I both know the answer: these people are not as left-wing as progressives, but they’re still left-wing. Remember, it was American “conservatives” who gave us George W. Bush, the biggest big-government president in American history. As always, Republicans love big government.
7. In the last presidential election, the youth vote dropped nationally from 60 percent to 55 percent. Yes, read above what I said about people not wanting to vote for a monster (or a child). This does not indicate right-wing political values.
Generation Z is not conservative. That’s just right-wing hype. They are, and will continue to be, yet another left-wing generation like the Millennials before them, Gen X before them, and the Baby Boomers before them. It’s likely they won’t be as left-wing as the Millennials; Gen Z won’t be quite as orgasmic over socialists like Bernie Sanders, but they will vote for left-wing politicians in droves just like Americans have for several decades now. There is no data whatsoever that shows what I just said is untrue.
America will continue to move to the political left. There is nothing you can do about it. As always, focus instead on yourself and your loved ones, and enjoy the decline!