Bridging the Gap Between Old and Young Democrats
A recent piece by Eitan Hersh in Politico posits that for a Democratic presidential nominee to find success in a general election, older and younger Democrats need to start seeing eye to eye. Hersh argues that Democrats are amid a stark generational divide that has divided some in the party. “If Democrats want to win in November, activists who are young and old will need to get out the vote among their peer groups,” he writes. “They’ll also need to buy into some shared vision, which will be hard considering the gulf in their preferences.” In Davidson, North Carolina, a group of local Democrats has bridged this gap, first by forming a Democratic committee in the town, and then by adding a rule that would ensure participation across generations. “The president of the Davidson College Democrats chapter has an automatic seat on the precinct committee’s board,” reports Hersh. By fusing the Davidson College Democrats with the Davidson Democratic Committee, local Democrats introduce a variety of perspectives on the Democratic Party. Across the spectrum, PRRI has found differences in how older and younger voters, not just Democrats, plan on voting this election. According to PRRI’s Ian Huff, “55% of the younger Americans say they are absolutely certain they will vote in 2020, compared to 87% of baby boomers who say the same. Millennials and Gen Zers are also less confident that their peers will turn out to vote (14% say all of their friends will vote, and 43% say most of them) than baby boomers (32% say all of their friends will vote, and 53% say most of them).”
Highlighting the Black LGBT Barbershop Experience
Aaron Randle, writing in The New York Times, chronicles the unique experience for a generation of black LGBT New Yorkers, and embracing a barbershop as a safe space. Randle explains the importance of barber shops as a ground zero for community and culture. “Over generations, barbershops have become so culturally integral to black communities that they have been the setting of a blockbuster movie franchise, the focus of rigorous academic study, the stage for popular music videos and comedy skits and, most recently, the backdrop for an HBO talk show from the N.B.A. superstar LeBron James,” he writes. Despite these instances, for many LGBT customers, the barbershop has not been a traditionally positive experience. For Derrick Middleton, sharing this experience and helping other LGBTQ individuals in the black community has become a full-time job. Middleton’s documentary “Shape Up: Gay in a Black Barbershop,” highlights his experience coming out, and finding his safe space. Now, Middleton is creating an app of the same name that will make it easier than ever for members of the LGBT community to find a place to get their hair cut. Khane Kutzwell, who owns a barbershop in Brooklyn and identifies as queer, says that the importance of a welcoming space for the LGBT community can’t be overstated. “People walk in here with their heads down,” she tells the Times. “They walk out with their heads up.” According to a PRRI report from 2018, almost eight in ten (78%) black Americans say there is a lot of discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the United States, making them the most likely racial group to say this.