Letters to the Editor: Gen Zers aren’t here for compromise. They’re progressive, and they want action

People hold up signs at a protest. One sign says: Do not be a fossil fool
People take part in the Youth Climate Strike in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 1, 2019.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As executive director of the country’s largest youth vote organization, I share political scientist Samuel J. Abrams’ hope that Gen Z’s optimism can help push the country toward progress, but our feelings diverge there. Abrams misleads the reader into thinking Gen Z is a politically moderate, compromise-driven generation; his evidence is a single poll of incoming college freshmen from 2019.

In reality, the vast majority of data suggest that Gen Z (including those who can’t afford to go to college) hold some of the most progressive opinions in our country on issues that the American Enterprise Institute, where Abrams is a visiting scholar, has lobbied against for decades, including bold climate action, a wealth tax and a strong government role in jumpstarting our economy.

I’ve seen firsthand the “resiliency” and “engagement” of Generation Z, but its members are demanding more from our leaders than kumbaya and compromise. They want action, and as they grow into a larger share of the Democratic Party base, they will need to see some results from their leaders, or they may just lose some of their “confidence in the democratic process.”


Ben Wessel, San Francisco

The writer is executive director of NextGen America.