Dear Donald Trump:
As the next generation of voters, we note with interest that, on April 25, your son’s vanity press published a book of 150 flattering letters written to you. Your book is lavishly illustrated, ready to adorn the nation’s coffee tables for the princely sum of $99 apiece. And make that $399 for a signed edition.
But there are many people who may not want to shell out the bucks, or spend the time, to read outdated letters from famous people who might once have thought you were cool — back in the day before you decided to trash the country and endanger our young people, our democracy, and our planet.
We gather that you’re out for revenge against the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, because they once sent you a nice letter and have, in light of your embarrassing public record, changed their minds about you. To put it bluntly, they’ve moved on.
And quite frankly, Mr. Trump, we want you to move on too.
Meanwhile, we’re offering this letter — free of charge — to bring you up to date on what young people have been trying to tell you for some time. We know you’ve seen us, and condemned us, when we’ve marched to save our environment, counter white supremacy, demand gun control, secure our right to vote and protect the freedom to determine our own religious beliefs, reproductive health and gender identity.
But maybe you’ve missed the fact that, along with lifting our voices, we’ve added the power of our votes. In the last three cycles, voter turnout among young people defied all predictions. Nearly 30 percent of young adults between the ages 18 and 29 are estimated to have voted in the 2022 midterm elections, marking the second-highest youth turnout in three decades, and giving progressive candidates the edge in key battleground states. In the Arizona Senate race, for example, where progressive Democrat Mark Kelly won by a slim margin, youth ages 18–29 preferred Kelly by 76%. For the Governor’s race, young voters preferred Democrat Katie Hobbs by 71%. And in Florida, Maxwell Frost became Gen Z’s first Congressional representative.
We were also decisive in electing progressive Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As historian Heather Cox Richardson noted, “the youth turnout of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, increased 240% since the last spring general election in 2019. Youth turnout at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, increased 232%. Almost 90% of those young people voted for Protasiewicz.”
At NextGen America, the largest organization in the U.S. specifically engaging young voters, we’ve learned that what drives young voters to the polls are not just the candidates, but the principles and policies that young people care about. Working with powerful partner organizations, and reaching out to millions of young people, we’re moving toward 2024 with a Youth Agenda that elevates the need for transformative change in key areas that will define this country’s future, and our own. These span climate change and economic fairness, comprehensive immigration and criminal justice reform, access to education and health care, and the rights and freedoms that permit human dignity, diversity, and democracy to flourish.
And, ex-president Trump, we can’t help but notice that, on pretty much every one of these issues, your views run opposite to those of our country’s youth. When it comes to the climate crisis, you’re fiddling while the planet burns. On gun safety, you pander to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby. You’d rather defend racists and fascists than our right to vote. And on the policies governing bodily autonomy — to make our own choices, in consultation with our families and doctors, about when to bear children or about our gender identity — you’re just way out of our mainstream.
As John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and author of a newly released book on younger voters, told Politico: “The challenge that Republicans have is that their current MAGA values are misaligned, to put it lightly, with the values that these two generations hold…. What we’re talking about is the impact of two generations with similar values who feel the urgency in America to change things, and that’s an incredibly powerful voting bloc.”
In the end it’s all about how the government works, and for whom. As the largest and most diverse generation in American history, with a progressive and ambitious vision, young people want to make sure that we’re top of mind — and on the top of your stack of letters.
After all, our young people, the future of the nation, have a lot to say, both about our future, and yours.
With all due respect,
March For Our Lives
Blue Future + the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst