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What to expect from Gen Z voters in 2020 elections

Voters under age 25 are taking to the streets and to social media to express their opposition to President Trump. But will the political energy of Generation Z translate into votes for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee? Yamiche Alcindor reports on whether there are signs of mobilization among a demographic with historically low voter turnout.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Young voters under 25 are taking to the streets and to social media to oppose President Trump.

    But will Generation Z's political energy translate into votes for former Vice President Joe Biden?

    Yamiche Alcindor reports.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    On Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was a disappointing turnout for President Trump's comeback rally. Earlier in the week, the president said, for the event, the campaign had fielded one million sign-ups.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We're either close to or over one million people wanting to go.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    But come Saturday, just 6,200 of the 19,000 seats were filled.

    Teenagers on the social media app TikTok say they helped fuel false expectations. They claim thousands registered for the rally as a prank on the Trump campaign.

  • TikTok User:

    I got two tickets, but I totally forgot I have to pick up every individual piece of lint off of my room Floor.

  • TikTok User:

    It would be such a shame if all of you did the same.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    As the 2020 campaign nears, America's youngest generation, known as Gen Z, is energized for political change.

  • Woman:

    If you're not registered, I need you to sign up, not now, but right now.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Young voters on average lean Democratic. But, historically, they are less likely than other generations to vote. And in this year's Democratic primaries, the majority of young voters rejected Joe Biden for progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

    In an appeal to young organizers this month, Biden's campaign released a digital ad promising to take action on structural racism…

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden:

    We have got to now vow to make this at least an era of action and reverse the systemic racism.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    … in an appeal not just to vote for Biden, but to address the ongoing lack of enthusiasm for the Democratic nominee among Democratic voters.

    A recent FOX News poll showed 63 percent of Biden supporters said they were more driven by fear of President Trump's reelection than enthusiasm for Biden.

  • Marvell Reed:

    The Democratic best interests right now is Joe Biden.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    One such voter is 18-year-old Marvell Reed from Milwaukee.

  • Marvell Reed:

    He opened his eyes recently to more issues pertaining to younger people, and I feel wholeheartedly that I can support him.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Deana Ayers disagrees.

  • Deana Ayers:

    There is like a slim-to-none chance that I would vote for him.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Ayers graduated college this year and backed Bernie Sanders in the primary. For them, beating Trump isn't worth sacrificing their values.

  • Deana Ayers:

    If he supported, you know, defunding the police, like, abolishing ICE, raising the minimum wage, things like that, but, like, really progressive young people are asking for, then those policies would sway me.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Still, a recent poll by the youth voter group NextGen America showed positive signs about Gen Z's turnout. It showed 50 percent of voters aged 18-24 were definitely voting. That's up 10 percent from a similar poll conducted at this time in 2016.

    Those margins could mean young voters organizing on TikTok and in the streets could also propel Joe Biden to a win this November.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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