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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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HomeElection WatchYouth holds the key to Downing Street and White House

Youth holds the key to Downing Street and White House

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IN THE coming weeks and months, both the US and UK face era-defining elections where the incumbent establishment governments look destined for crushing defeats.

While the two elections are different when it comes to timelines, systems and wider economic and societal context, they are united by key themes.

Frustration at the political class over their disastrous handling of the respective countries and two leaders with very little political instinct and skill has led to the contests being largely a foregone conclusion.

However, emerging trends in not just the US and UK but more widely across Europe suggest that, even though Trump and Starmer will be elected this year, it may not be as simple as it seems.

Young people, apathy and turnout will play a crucial role in the outcome of the UK and US elections. In Britain, war in the Middle East is going to be vital. Throughout the past year, we have seen the young distance themselves from parties which associate themselves with Israel and do not declare unwavering support for Palestine. Indeed, this has already been reflected in the statements of Sir Keir Starmer, who in the opening debate was almost identical in his responses to Rishi Sunak when it came to issues surrounding Israel and Palestine.  

This leads us to ask, will the young ditch the Labour Party? Perhaps, but they are extremely unlikely to offer their votes to the Conservatives and, despite gaining significant momentum in the polls, Reform is unlikely to win their support. With that in mind, on July 4 we could witness a scenario whereby the young fail to turn out in their droves. With the Labour Party’s support built on the backs of millions of naïve young voters, it could be disastrous for Starmer’s party and lead to an establishment meltdown.

In the US, with an election much later in the year, there is still time to play out. However, the dithering and increasingly frail Joe Biden is looking likely to hand the White House to Donald Trump. A series of polls have demonstrated increasing support among youth voters for Trump’s Republican Party (should he be allowed to run) and this is surely down to his track record of being a major leader on the global stage and his successes in the foreign policy arena.

European elections this week have seen a significant shift to the right across the continent fuelled by youth votes, with young people becoming tired of the status quo and sceptical about the role of the EU in everyday life.

Whether young people fail to turn up in the UK, or back Trump in the US, it is certain that they will play a major role in the era-defining elections on the horizon. It could be the first time that young people are no longer wholeheartedly left-wing because of apathy or opposition.

Nevertheless, the sentiment that the left will eat itself looks entirely plausible and perhaps inevitable here. Starmer has failed to offer a positive vision for anyone, his electoral campaign filled with no policy and no plan, while Biden is clearly in his final months in office.

It has been labelled as a foregone conclusion, and may end up that way. However, it is evident that there could be a final wag in the tail of young voters should they fail to turn up or ditch their voting history entirely. 

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Simon Dolan
Simon Dolan
Simon Dolan is a British Entrepreneur.

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