Democrats and progressive political action committees in Texas have launched a massive campaign to engage a growing demographic that they believe is the key to turning the Lone Star State blue in future elections.
NextGen America – founded by liberal billionaire and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer – “is targeting nearly 2 million voters in Texas: 1.1 million voters between the ages of 18 and 30 who are registered to vote but have not cast ballots consistently in recent elections; another 277,000 young voters who did not vote in 2020; and 565,000 people they have identified as ‘young progressives’ who are unregistered,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday. “If just a third of the total turns out to vote — roughly 633,000 people — it would be enough for Democrats to overcome the Republican margin.”
NexGen’s goal is simple. The organization is planning a $16 million spending spree over the next two years to motivate enough younger people to show up to the polls in order to eliminate the 631,000 ballot deficit that handed the state’s 38 Electoral College votes to then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 contest.
“We have a huge number of young people who are not yet registered to vote, so we need to make them believe in their own power,” NextGen President Cristina Tzintzún-Ramirez told The Times. “People believed demography is destiny, but we actually have to go out and convince those people to vote.”
Unlike older generations and swing voters, Tzintzún-Ramirez explained, younger voters tend to prioritize individual issues over specific candidates and are not necessarily bound to one political party over the other.
“Mobilizing young people doesn’t fit into that equation and simply isn’t cost-effective for most campaigns,” she said. That, therefore, requires the financing of candidates who are in tune with what younger voters want out of their leaders.
Democrats do, however, have cause for optimism. Despite the challenges that the party has faced in purpling Texas – ranging from underwhelming turnout to efforts by Republicans to disenfranchise Democratic voters – the number of young people who showed up to vote last November increased by double digits compared to the 2016 election.
“Roughly 50 percent of people under the age of 30 voted in the presidential election, an 11-point increase from 2016, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University,” The Times noted. “Texas is the second-largest state in the country, and its population is also one of the youngest and most diverse, census data shows. People of color accounted for 95 percent of the state’s growth in the last decade, and white Texans now make up less than 40 percent of the state’s population.”
Texas also has the second-highest concentration of millionaires – 650,000 – than any state except for California, which means that the critical fundraising game will remain extremely competitive.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.