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EDITORIAL: Generational change of politicians, leaders needed to strengthen democracy

In the aftermath of midterm elections, serious discussions need to be had about who would serve best as political leaders

In a time of pressing concerns, we need to see a generational shift of our political leaders to empower new voices and new ideas.  – Photo by Jose Fontano / Unsplash

One of the enduring challenges in our political system is how to reach out to and empower young people. So many of the issues we face, from climate change to student debt relief, will affect the youth the most. Questions about how to excite a new generation of voters to get involved in politics and how to best represent young people have been perennial questions.

These questions have seemed to stir responses, as this year’s crucial midterm elections saw amazing turnout from Generation Z and Millennial voters. Young people decided to take matters into their own hands and vote for the change they wish to see. It was refreshing to see young people flex their political power to say that a new strong, vibrant voting bloc is here.

In fact, this year’s elections also saw the first politician from Generation Z to be elected to Congress: Maxwell Frost, a Democrat from Florida, made history. Not only are young people showing our commitment to voting, but we are also stepping up to actually govern — something that should be more widely supported. 

Yet, despite all of these accomplishments for young voters, this past week also saw the return of former President Donald J. Trump who formally announced his candidacy for president again. This campaign will be the third consecutive run at the White House Trump has made: 2016, 2020 and now 2024. 

There are plenty of reasons Trump is running, but it is perhaps mostly to avoid his many legal problems and to attend to grudges and resentments from the 2020 election. Trump, it seems, wants nothing more than to use his old playbook of sowing division and sparking outrage. 

Trump’s politics is of chaos — chaos that we remember all too well. Ask any college student how they feel about March 2020 and Trump's handling of the pandemic. 

We cannot go back to that sense of unnerving disarray. The chaos is not sustainable, and we deserve better from our government. Young voters and new politicians represent the future: In their policy ideas, their rhetoric and their personal investment in the issues at hand.

Trump is 76 years old. While his age is not in and of itself disqualifying, a 76-year-old would have a different level of investment in student debt relief than a 25-year-old. 

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. similarly is about to turn 80 years old and many people suspect he will soon be announcing a run for reelection. While Biden has made in-roads with young voters, he also stands in contrast to the power of young people that is coming from the bottom up.

Both Trump and Biden are entitled to run and if they want to, they should. But it would be in the best interest of the country — especially the country’s young people — for there to be a generational shift in our leaders.

Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), announced yesterday that she would not seek reelection to leadership in the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. Pelosi has been a mainstay in Democratic politics for the past two decades.

Despite her accomplishments, Pelosi has recognized that the time is for her to step aside so as to usher in a new era of leadership. In her speech announcing her decision, Pelosi said, "The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus."

It is past time that many politicians from Pelosi’s generation — whether in the federal government, the state government or even the local government — take her cue and begin to bow out gracefully.

It might be difficult, but sometimes the best decision politicians can make is stepping aside and allowing new voices to take charge. Our country would benefit greatly if both parties saw new leaders emerge, who could take the country in new directions with up-to-date ideas and a fresh commitment to governance.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 154th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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