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Biden’s Reversal of Fortune

Will young voters who are currently sour on Biden vote for him anyway in 2024 because they understand the stakes of the election?
Will young voters who are currently sour on Biden vote for him anyway in 2024 because they understand the stakes of the election? Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
December 18, 2023

After I wrote last week about Joe Biden’s slumping poll numbers—still slumping as of today, according to this new Monmouth poll—Democratic strategist Amanda Litman seized on an idea buried near the bottom of my piece. It offered a glimmer of hope for Democrats—the idea that the young voters who are currently sour on Biden will vote for him and the Democrats anyway come 2024 because they understand the stakes of the election. “A reminder that especially for young voters, reverse coattails will be THE story of 2024,” Litman tweeted. “They’ll show up inspired by state & local races and, yeah, also vote for Biden.”

Litman, who worked on the digital side for the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, is the founder of Run for Something, a progressive group that recruits young people to put themselves forward for local offices down ballot in all 50 states. Like, wayyyy down the ballot from Biden—school board, county commissioner, state legislature, etcetera. Her theory of “reverse coattails” jumped out at me because it jibes with much of the polling and focus-grouping I’ve seen about Gen Z. They’re overwhelmingly progressive, they hate MAGA politics, and even if they aren’t enamored with Biden, they still show up to vote. For young voters, too, local races often feel more relevant and consequential than national ones.