Generation Z is not as liberal as it may appear to be. On a majority liberal campus, there are a considerable number of students who are members of conservative organizations. College Republicans, Turning Point U.S.A., and Young Americans for Liberty are all great examples.
Since the 2016 election, University of Oregon College Republicans has tripled their membership. The reason conservative groups often go unnoticed is that they avoid massive demonstrations, and are neglected by the media. However, a conservative movement is growing, and many people are starting to take notice.
Several news sources and studies indicate that Generation Z is considerably more right-leaning than the millennial generation. Some go as far as to say “The Next Generation of Americans (Gen Z) May Be the Most Conservative Since WWII.” Generation Z is becoming more conservative. However, young conservatives are not your stereotypical Republican. It appears that a large portion is libertarian in several aspects, particularly when it comes to social issues.
The 2014 “Generation Z Goes to College Study” by Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace surveyed 150,00 students across the United States, determining certain characteristics about Gen Z. What they found was “78% of Generation Z identifies as liberal to moderate on social issues and 83% identifies as moderate to conservative on fiscal issues.” Congruently, the Washington Examiner claims that “Generation Z, while liberal on social issues are conservative about money, scarred by the Great Recession under which they grew up.”
Why are young conservative socially moderate/liberal?
The millennial generation made a huge push for equality and acceptance with the LGBTQIA movement and pro-choice feminism. Growing up in millennial coattails, the majority of Gen Z is accepting of personal choice.
What this means for political ideology is that young conservatives have adopted the idea that, “I may not agree with how you choose to live, but we are a nation where individual freedoms are celebrated, and the government should not interfere with your personal livelihood.” Conservative opinion leaders have broadcasted the idea that government should stay out of personal livelihoods. For example on the issue of gay marriage, opinion leaders including Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, and Dana Loesch have ruled that government should not interfere with personal matters. Some conservatives have even admitted they are pro-choice, such as political commentator, Tomi Lahren, which is not uncommon among many young conservatives.
The Great Recession and its effect on Generation Z
During The Great Recession, the majority of Generation Z was in elementary and middle school. Goldman analysts Robert Boroujerdi and Christopher Wolf write, “Raised by Gen X parents during a time marred by economic stress, rising student debt burdens, socio-economic tensions and war overseas, these youths carry a less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world.” It has become apparent to many individuals of Generation Z that Democratic fiscal legislation simply does not work well for the prosperity of the country. Conservative laissez-faire policies allow enough structure to prevent chaos, but enough competition to persuade economic growth. Jim Edwards from Business Insider writes, “Gen Z is more conservative, more money-oriented, and more entrepreneurial than the millennials were.”
Generation Z is setting a new standard for conservatism. And as a young conservative myself, I find that the future of the United States is very bright.