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The Gen Z Midterm Test

The full episode transcript for The Gen Z Midterm Test


Into America

The Gen Z Midterm Test

Trymaine Lee: There are less than 100 days until the midterm elections. And this year, there's a lot at stake.

Archival Recording: The alarming spike in inflation soaring to its highest level in nearly 40 years, casting a shadow over America's entire economy.

Archival Recording: Gross Domestic Product fell slightly by 0.9 percent. The U.S. economy shrinking for the second quarter in a row, fueling fears of a recession.

Archival Recording: Then the largest generation of adults in U.S. history now in their prime home-buying years, but many say the burden of student debt is preventing them from doing just that, from becoming first-time homebuyers.

Archival Recording: Shootings are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. Every day, 22 of them are shot.

Archival Recording: Abortion is no longer the law of the land. It's up to the states.

Archival Recording: We're living in two different Americas.

Archival Recording: Georgia's "heartbeat law" in effect, the measure bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Archival Recording: The Supreme Court limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, the nation's second largest source of the gases driving climate change.

Archival Recording: Many years ago it was a problem to the future. It is a problem for now.

Archival Recording: The House committee investigating the insurrection claims. Former President Trump and members of his campaign were part of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Lee: And with President Joe Biden facing his lowest approval numbers so far, Democrats are scrambling to protect their majorities in the Senate and House this year. So yet again, Democrats are counting on the Black vote to give them the edge they need to retain power in Congress. For years, Black Americans have been one of the most loyal voting blocs within the Democratic Party. Black voters propelled Biden to victory in the 2020 primaries, and were instrumental in his win over Donald Trump.

Joe Biden: I mean it, especially those moments, and especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me.

Lee: Perhaps nowhere where Black voter is so crucial in 2020 than in the state of Georgia. High turnout from Black folks secure Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock's upsets in the Senate, which flipped both of the state seats to blue for the first time since the early ‘90s. And along with VP Harris's tie-breaking vote gave Democrats the majority in the Senate.

Today, Senator Warnock is one of the Democrats at risk of losing his seat to Trump supporter and former football player Herschel Walker. And with Stacey Abrams running for governor against Republican Brian Kemp for a second time, Democrats need Black voters to show up like they did in 2020. But enthusiasm usually wanes in midterm elections, and low voter turnout historically benefits Republicans. So where can Democrats find the energy they need?

William Morris: I think people often know that the road to election goes through the Atlanta University Center.

Lee: The Atlanta University Center is the hub of the city's three prestigious historically Black colleges or universities; Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta University. HBCUs have long been an important site for Democratic politicians to reach the next generation of young Black voters and energize this emerging demographic to get out the vote in their communities especially in Atlanta.

Morris: President Biden was also here, I believe, last January to come and speak as well.

Auriel Goodall: And I think that's why a lot of people come here to show their support for us because at the end of the day, we can decide what's going to happen next. Our vote definitely determines what their next step will be.

Lee: I'm Trymaine Lee and this is Into America. Young people are often the catalyst for social change. They're bright. They're energized, and they're keeping their eyes locked on where we're headed. So today, we traveled to Morehouse College in Atlanta to talk with young Black voters about the issues that matter most to them this election cycle, how they're moving through this political moment in our country, and what they're looking for in this next chapter of American democracy.

So the first big question that I know is probably the most important question, what schools do you all represent?

Monique Vas: I represent the number one HBCU Spelman College.

Lee: That's Monique Vas a fourth year Political Science major.

Goodall: I represent the illustrious Clark Atlanta University.

Lee: Auriel Goodall, who graduated from Clark Atlanta this year, with a degree in Criminal Justice.

William Morris: And I'm representing the magnificent Morehouse College.

Lee: And William Morris, a third year Political Science major. As I got to talking with this impressive group of Gen Z voters, it became clear, they're here to break the stereotype of the politically disengaged youth.

How are your family and friends talking about these issues? Obviously, you're not like little silos because this issue just matters to you. How are you all talking about these issues?

Vaz: I think the thing I like the most about attending a school at the Atlanta University Center is we talk about these issues in passing often. So we're always talking about the latest news and how it's affecting us, and how it will affect future generations.

Lee: William, how are you and your friends and your family talking about some of these issues that matter to you all?

Morris: I think mostly, we're just trying to stay informed, right. And as a Political Science major here at Morehouse College, having these conversations almost every day in class, talking about not only the policy implications for ourselves, but you know, the greater United States, Black people, Black Americans, Americans, you know, the entire global scale with these policy implications and how they can affect not only us, but people outside of ourselves, and kind of just talk about these things with as much empathy and awareness as possible.

Lee: Talking to other like-minded young people is one thing, but Auriel says it's important to engage with older generations as well.

Goodall: I think it's about wondering what, like, we take guidance from our older generations. We look to them to tell us what happened in the past, so we can correct it in the future. But we also have to educate them on what's currently going on, so they're not stuck in the ways of the past.

Vaz: I think an example of that would be looking at LGBTQIA issues, and really educating past generations about what pronouns are and what it really means to be a trans Black woman in this country and issues like that.

Morris: These are the people who fought for our civil rights, right? These are people who marched on Selma, you know, marched on Washington. We also have to understand that while there is that knowledge, there's also areas in which older folks might be lacking. As you mentioned, you know, LGBTQIA issues, like these are issues that need to be talked about, right, because older generations are not a lost cause.

I think just having those conversations and being open and honest with people of, you know, past generations, and you know, just having very transparent conversations with them. Because if you don't have conversation, you just write off grandma as a racist. You know, sometimes it may just be time to have that conversation, and maybe her perspective might change.

Lee: You know, I've been around the country and one thing I hear from Black folks, in particular, all the time is that politicians don't engage with the Black community until it's time to get out the vote, right? They're not visiting. They're not making inroads. They only show up when they need that vote. Do you get the sense as three young, smart college students, Black college students in this country, do you get the sense that your voice, your thoughts, your political leanings matter in the big scheme of things? Do you feel like that politicians are addressing your needs and needs of the community?

Morris: I find that more with local politicians. I find my state reps, my county reps, my county commissioner might, you know, have more of an impact and might come, you know, asking me what I want more, as opposed to somebody for governor. But however, I will say that some of these campaigns like Stacey Abrams’ campaign is very, very tapped into the student network here at the Atlanta University Center.

Lee: Let's talk about Joe Biden for a second. You know, a lot of folks voted for Joe Biden because they felt he was a better alternative to Donald Trump, another Donald Trump term. But now, Joe Biden's approvability numbers are really low. Are you all satisfied with the job that Joe Biden has done? And would you vote for him again? Are you hoping that he runs a second time?

Vaz: I think that --

Lee: I can see it in your faces, "Nah, I don't know."

Vaz: I think the President is doing the best job he can. And I really hope that the Democratic Party brings somebody who's stronger. If that is the Vice President Harris, okay. But I want somebody who is more in tune with what the whole country views. And I think that Joe Biden, not to be ageist because I love Bernie, but might just be a little too untouched with what we currently view that needs to take the country for it.

Lee: But you said if that's Kamala Harris, okay. Are you also not satisfied with the role that she's played?

Vaz: I think that a lot of the people in the Democratic Party are playing very moderate because of how Trump polarized the nation into "You’re either this or that." But I think that, personally, we need more liberal solutions to fix the inflation and gas prices, and really the human rights issues that are happening in this country, and I think that they are just bystanders to a certain extent.

Lee: Auriel, what do you think about Joe Biden, a second term, does he have your vote if he runs? Does he have you?

Goodall: Like, if he is to be reelected, are you going to actually enact change, or are you going to continue to make false promises just to get votes? That's the only thing. I am willing to vote for him just to see what he does next. But I'm hoping that I don't regret my vote for him.

Morris: Would I vote for Joe Biden the second time? Maybe. Like, I genuinely can't say that I'm incredibly, you know, upset with him. I understand the situation he's been placed in, with Washington being as polarized as it is. It's hard to reach across the aisle and work. It's not easy. So am I satisfied? No. But I understand the circumstances that are falling to his lap. Do I wish there was more being done? Absolutely. But I understand the reasons why that may not be happening. So would I vote for him the second time? It really just depends on the situation we find ourselves in.

Lee: I think he says something really important there, "It depends on who runs." What if it's Donald Trump, do you think that Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump again?

Morris: I will not be voting for Donald Trump. That's just me, personally. I just can't identify it as politics. That's just not the person that I feel represented by. So I wouldn't vote for Donald Trump. If it came down to Joe Biden or Donald Trump, I would definitely not be voting for Donald Trump. I would vote for Joe Biden.

Lee: Now, one thing that might seem, you know, odd to some of us is that a growing number of Black men in particular are leaning towards Donald Trump. But also here in this race for governor, Stacey Abrams and Kemp, Kemp is polling better than expected with the Black men. What is it?

Morris: That's a great question. I'm not really sure, and I've wondered that since the 2020 election. I'm wondering why Black men’s turnouts for Donald Trump were higher, I've wondered that. There are issues that need to be worked on from the Black community, surrounding masculinity, surrounding our issues around male identity. I think those are issues that often lead us to identify more male, as opposed to, you know, really identifying with our blackness and understanding the ways in which our Black masculinity can affect Black women, Black LGBTQ plus IA people. Like, I think we often identify with our masculinity because it's the most privileged position that we find ourselves in.

Lee: Today, the far right performative masculinity might tap into something, and that's what we're feeling like and we find our manhood through that as performative as it may be?

Morris: Potentially.

Lee: And as a Black woman, the Democratic Party especially in this country relies on the efforts and labor and work of Black women politically, and otherwise. What do you all think is behind that dynamic where a growing number of Black men are leaning right, where Black women are still the most loyal, democratic and lucky voting bloc?

Vaz: Well, Georgia is purple because of Black women. And I truly believe Black women have to think about themselves, their children, their families, and we vote consistently because it is our lives. Roe v. Wade affects us.

Goodall: And Black women kind of hold the Black family together. We're there to be that binder. When you look at Black families, you look to the matriarch. You see that strong, powerful older woman carrying the generations to come. So when we think about voting, we encourage other Black women to vote because we know that if we don't vote, it will be men deciding things. I mean, it still is men designing things for us. But we still hold on to that hope that one day we will have women in powers of position to actually enact change for women.

Lee: That sounds like a lot of weight to be on the shoulders of young people. Grappling with all of that, how does it shape your approach to politics and how you participate?

Vaz: I know that our generation is seen as the 9/11 generation. Our generation has constantly had life-changing issues that happen daily. So it's something that we become desensitized to. I'm just so used to, "Oh, my rights are gone." And so I believe that change can happen. I think that if everyone continues to work on any skill that they can, we can create change. And I do believe we can end all the isms, you know, racism, like sexism, you know, all of them, maybe not in our lifetimes, but we can continue to like push the needle to make sure that it's over one day.

Goodall: Right.

Lee: William, what do you think?

Morris: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the easiest ways to kind of channel any thoughts or ideas you have about politics is to go out and help a politician that you believe in, right? Like, I took last summer and part of last fall to go work in the city council campaign. Like, I found that the issue of a lack of sidewalks in predominately Black neighborhoods, I found that to be a problem, right. Like that may not be on President Biden's radar at all. It's not. Let me just put that.

But it's on the 80-year-old Black woman who can't cross the street because there are cars coming all the time, right. And so enacting that small, it would might seem small, but meaningful change. Like, I know that there's someone out there right now who is now feeling much safer to be able to walk their dog in the neighborhood because I worked and knocked on someone's door and said, "Hey, what issues would you like to see change?" But influencing those small, what may seem small policy issues is how I find myself engaging with the political landscape.

Lee: William, you made a connection between the sidewalk, right? All politics is local, and politics and political participation. But when you're talking to your Black friends who might not be as plugged in as you are, do they see that connection? How is it trying to get them to understand that you know what, all of this is politics, your trash getting picked up, your grandma not being able to access her health care? It's all politics.

Morris: For my friends who may not be as plugged in, it's just saying, "Okay, well, your trash not being collected on time is kind of a piece of a bigger issue, of a bigger issue, of a bigger issue." So I think just explaining that politics is all kind of building on top of each other, and that everything is in fact connected. So I think just trying to have those conversations and those dialogues with people in your circle is incredibly important.

Vaz: Right.

Lee: And I hear time and again, folks who say, "You know what, I just vote for president," but they're midterms, let alone all these local races. Why do the midterms matter?

Vaz: I definitely think that midterms matter especially in Georgia in November because so many Congress people are up for reelection, such as Senator Warnock, like Senator Ossoff, one, and he has five more years in office.

Goodall: Right.

Vaz: And Senator Warnock is up for reelection now against someone who does not care about women, who does not care about queer people, who does not care about anyone other than him. And that's going to affect the lives of thousands of millions of people if people don't vote in November, even though Biden is not running.

Goodall: Right. I think with this midterm election, the most important thing for people to do is do your research. Me, personally, I am really looking forward to see what Stacey Abrams can do. Just from her past platform of Medicaid and the expansion of that, it's crazy to think that in 2018, she started off with the expansion of Medicaid and it's still as prevalent as it was then today. That's something that is really important because when it comes to healthcare, are minorities being taken care of? Are they adequately covered? Especially when you look at Roe v. Wade, where people are going to be kind of forced into having children, how are they protected?

Lee: Auriel, we keep coming back to Roe, right? We thought it was baked into the law and the rights of this country, the right for a woman to have an abortion, and Roe was overturned. And I wonder if you think Roe would be a pivotal issue that may shape who wins not just the midterms and Congress, but also in 2024. Do you think it's that kind of issue?

Goodall: Yes. Because it doesn't just affect abortion, it affects birth control, it affects emergency and preventative care. Like, with Roe versus Wade, it opens up opportunities for states to say, "Okay, well, now we're going to make limited access to birth control." So now you're not only saying that I have to have a baby. Now, I can't even have preventative measures to not have one. So how was that fair? How is that right? And that doesn't even account for the toll that it takes on your body. Pregnancy is never easy, especially for Black women, with the highest mortality rates. So how is this person going to be taken care of?

Vaz: I think that that Friday definitely devastated a lot of people who have uteruses and really confirmed that, you know, the belief the government doesn't care about us. But I do think it's going to galvanize people in November to go vote. I think it was a hard day, but it made us realize if what happened in 2016 hadn't happened, you know, maybe we would still have Roe. And like how it really empowered people to know that if we don't bring it back, so many people will die.

Lee: You know, abortion isn't just a women's issue, though. And so I wonder when you're talking to young brothers, you know, brothers in your age group, how are you connecting abortion to an issue that that men should care about?

Morris: Well, I will say I don't think we should have to connect issues to male rights to understand and empathize with women, I think we should be able to say, "This is an issue for you. Let me be here for you and support." Not to say that your question is wrong, but I think it is a problem for men to not only have empathy when things fall to their feet. Men should be able to care about women's issues. And if you're not a queer man, queer issues, like we should be able to have these issues be important to us whether it affects us or not.

So I think having this conversation with young men who say, "Oh, it doesn't affect me," it doesn't matter whether it affects you or not. When white people say, "Oh, well, Black issues don't affect me," we are very honored by saying, "It doesn't matter because these are people whose lives are going to be impacted." I think going to young Black men and saying, "Hey, it doesn't matter if it affects you. Women's issues don't have to affect you, for them to be important. They're important because women are people, not accessories of maleness." So I think that's generally my stance on it is you have to care about women.

Lee: We have to take a quick break. But when we come back, William, Monique and Auriel talk about whether the Democratic Party has done enough, what alternatives are out there for Black folks, and why they have faith in their fellow young voters.


Lee: We’re back with more of a roundtable discussion with young Black voters; William, Monique and Arielle on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta. Are you all consistent Democratic voters? I don't make any assumptions.

Goodall: Yes.

Vaz: Yes.

Lee: Have the Democrats in Congress especially, and President Biden done enough to address your concerns around these issues?

Morris: I think no party can reach everyone. I will say that. I want to be fair. I understand that you cannot reach everyone. But I think understanding that Black voters being one of the strongest bases of support, our issues have to be at the forefront of what the Democratic Party is talking about. The Democrats need to reach out to Black people, understand that, "Hey, we understand these are national issues, but we understand that these issues will hit your communities harder." And do I think they've done a good enough job of that? I don't believe so.

Vaz: I think that there's certain Democrats who are really trying their best to push the envelope forward and like really create a change. But I think that there's some Democrats who are just comfortable staying silent and truly just being in the background. And I think that they ran on these platforms, so they need to really be acting on them. If not, they will see what happens in November.

Lee: Why aren't they doing more, especially when it comes to issues affecting the Black community? Because as we know that, you know, the Black voting bloc is really the base. And if Black folks don't show up, they're going to say, "Here's why we lost, they didn't show up."

Goodall: Right.

Lee: Why aren't they doing more?

Goodall: And I hate to say this, but it's a harsh reality, when something isn't directly affecting you or your family, people turn a blind eye to it. The thing is that we put you in office to help us. We put you in office to advocate for us. And I think that's the attitude that our representatives need to have moving forward. You have to feel like this is personal because it is. At the end of the day, it really is.

Vaz: But I do feel like a lot of times we place the blame on the minorities and like things like that. Like, Black people are voting. We've been voting ever since we've gotten the right to. But it's almost like what changes and I feel like when things don't change, people are blaming us and I don't think that's fair.

Lee: When I think about this moment, right, we're still dealing with COVID. You got monkey pox. You have mass shootings. You have a rise in a lot of just regular everyday shootings that happen in urban communities every single day, right? You have health care fallout. You might be in a recession. You got to wait for a bunch of, you know, thinkers to figure out if we're in a recession or not. As young voters inheriting these issues, are you frustrated? Are you worried? Does it beat you down? How are you feeling about inheriting all this in this moment?

Vaz: I think for me, it's very stressful because I know that I will be graduating college and entering the workforce. And I think about things such as COVID, when if we had the right leadership at that time, it could have been so different. But when these issues occur, they happen to lower class people. They happen to Black people. They happen to queer people. And it hurts because there's so much we could have done to prevent it. But I think that I'm still hopeful because there's so many people around the country and the world who are doing the necessary work.

Morris: I personally don't want to enter the job market in a recession. That's not something I want to be a part of. So how can I impact that, right? Like, what ways that I can get myself involved so that we can change one of these policy issues? For me, it's more fuel for the fire.

Lee: So I can imagine these kinds of conversations happening with you and your friends here on this campus, right? But what are the conversations like when you go home? Are you having these kinds of conversations with your people?

Vaz: Yes.

Goodall: Yes.

Morris: Definitely.

Lee: Oh, yeah.

Vaz: I think to be a Black person in this country, to talk about these issues for the moment, you're like tricked (ph) because they're affecting you and you have these talks as a Black person, how to talk to the police, you know, as a woman, how to be in public around other men. And I think that these are just conversations that have always been around, and they'll continue to be around until like we really fix things.

Goodall: Right. When are we going to stop having tough conversations as Black people? When are we going to be able to have easy conversations, like what do you want for dinner, or where should we go next week, stuff like that; not, okay, so rights are being taken, how are we going to fight this?

Lee: Our existence is political inherently in this country.

Goodall: Yes.

Morris: I'd rather choose to be a part of it and you know, be involved as opposed to just kind of letting policy issues hit me. Because if I don't vote, I don't get to complain.

Goodall: Right.

Morris: So you know, me and my family definitely have conversations around what are these candidates doing? Like, I'd go vote with my dad. Like our last time, me and my dad went to vote together. And that was my first time voting because I, you know, recently just turned 18. So like, this is my first time going to vote. We're having these conversations at home. We're having these policy conversations and issues around, you know, what does it mean to be a Black voter in America today?

Goodall: And when it comes to voting, it's important that people understand what they're voting for.

Lee: Absolutely.

Goodall: Because honestly, some of these laws that are written are written in a way to trick people. It's written in a way for you not to understand it at first glance. So personally, when it comes to voting for officials and laws, I like to read them as soon as I can, because I don't want to leave any room for misinterpretation. So it's always important to be open and teach people and say, "Okay, this is what this means, and this is what this means." So when it comes down to voting, they feel confident in their choices.

Lee: William, Monique, and Auriel, all identified as Democrats. But as they kept expressing hesitations over President Biden and the Democratic Party. I wanted to know if they believe a significant number of Black voters could be swayed over to the Republican Party. Williams answer, "Absolutely not."

Morris: I don't think that the Republicans passed in the past six years of, you know, courting white voters, courting white supremacist, kind of according that anti-Black rhetoric is possible. I don't see "Make America Great Again" as a pro-Black slogan. And the fact that our president was, you know, courting those white supremacists and saying, "I love the undereducated," and appealing to those white voters who may not be the biggest fans of Black people, I don't see that there's a way for the Republican Party to kind of make a complete 360 and say, "Now we're the party of Black people." I don't see that happening, at least not the modern Republican Party and some of the more important figures in the party. No, I don't see that being possible.

Lee: But Monique, she had a different take.

Vaz: I agree to that only to a certain extent. I don't see, you know, in 2024, Black people turning out in droves for a Republican president. And I've never personally voted like split the ballot. But I do think that if local representatives come with real issues that might be more moderate, they could potentially sway the Black vote. And I think about states such as like Massachusetts who have Republicans in office, but they're not as extreme as Trump.

Morris: Absolutely.

Goodall: Right.

Vaz: But they are kind of in the middle more. And there's a lot of Black people in this country who are especially older, who are moderates. They wouldn't consider themselves Democrats nor Republicans. So I think that if Republicans really came in a moderate way, they could possibly be swayed.

Lee: But some of the messaging wasn't so insane, like a Marjorie Taylor Greene kind of extreme by any standard.

Vaz: Exactly.

Morris: Yeah. Right.

Lee: This is me being, you know, I'm still objective here, but there is an extreme. But what about Herschel Walker? Here we are in Georgia, Herschel Walker, clean air, moving around. Herschel, he can run a football. I've seen him run a football.

Goodall: Go down.

Morris: Yeah.

Lee: Well, what about that kind of thing? Every once in a while, you'll have these Black Republicans who emerge, who get some support from the Republican Party machine. Do you think that has some appeal to Black folks?

Morris: I don't think Herschel Walker does.

Vaz: Yeah. Because he reminds me of Ben Carson.

Goodall: Yeah.

Morris: I think there are certain Black Republicans like Herman Cain, for example. He was able to kind of garner a fair amount of support. But I don't think Herschel Walker has that kind of same moderate conservative appeal. I think he's very much in the Marjorie Taylor Greene camp, that kind of camp of, you know, the "Make America Great Again" group of people who don't really appeal to Black voters.

Goodall: Right, right. Because they could put a mascot out there. It doesn't seem like something they couldn't do, right? They just select this Black person and say, "Hey, we want you to be our face. Like, you're going to be our forefront, but we're going to be pulling the strings in the back. And so that's the thing that we don't want. I don't want our people to see Black and say, "Oh, we're just going to pull Black because I see Black isn't always correct."

Lee: As they say our skin can’t fool, right?

Goodall: It can’t fool, honestly. So --

Lee: Let me ask you all this, though. So if you have one party on the right who isn't putting forth a good faith effort, right. They're ungenuine. Their impulses seem a little extreme. But then you have a Democratic Party who many Black folks say, "Take us for granted," right? And they come around when they want to get the vote, but they're not really plugged in communities. Should Black folks have another alternative? Should there be a third party? Should Black folks be looking beyond Republican and Democrat for something more, something different?

Vaz: That's not realistic based on the way this country was created and our Constitution. And there's not enough Black people. There's not enough Latino people, people of color, that if we created our own third party, we would get significant representation. So we kind of just have to keep pushing the Democrats to represent us.

Goodall: Yeah.

Lee: You know, the former President is accused of trying to steal an election. We saw the deadly riot on January 6th. In places like Georgia, the right to vote is being attacked, right? And those freedoms are being limited. And I want to ask you all today, how confident you are in American democracy, is your faith and trust in it weathering it all, under the weight of it, or how you're feeling about it?

Vaz: I think we don't have any other choice than to be confident in it, and just to continue to vote and continue to donate our time to our representatives, because if not, there's nothing else we can do.

Lee: But there are people who say, "Young Black people, they don't care. They're not plugged in. They they're not part of this process."

Goodall: And I think those people are ignorant, to be quite frank with you. I think when it comes down to it, they don't want to give young Black people the power, because once they see us and they know that we realize our power, there's nothing you can do to stop us. There's nothing that you can do to put a pause to what we're trying to change. And I think that goes back to just not letting Black people recognize the power that they have within because we are invincible, magical beings, and anything that we put our mind to, best believe that we’ll achieve it. And I think that's why they like to downplay our generation. But we're the future leaders. We're leading in this moment. We're making changes every day.

Morris: And I’d say even us sitting here right now is a sign that somebody is paying attention.

Vaz: Yeah.

Goodall: Right.

Morris: Somebody is recognizing the power of young people and the power of young voters. 18 to 24 voting bloc is one of the most active voting blocs in the entirety of American demographic. So I think even us sitting here right now is a sign that someone is picking up on the fact that we're very politically active.

Goodall: Right. Definitely.

Lee: Do the party gatekeepers, are they paying attention? Do they hear your voices?

Morris: I hope so.

Lee: They better.

Morris: We're not going to stop.

Goodall: I’d say that we're loud. They're going to hear us. Eventually, they're going to hear us

Lee: I know for me and for all of us here at Into America, we're definitely going to keep listening to these young people, because it's young Black voters like Auriel, Monique and William who are helping to shape America's political future. With that in mind, we'll also be hitting the road this fall to learn more about the issues that matter most to this voting bloc. We're busy planning a tour that will take us to HBCUs throughout the south, including Morehouse, to talk about education, the environment, student loan, debt, and more.

Keep tuning into the podcast to learn more about the tour over the next few weeks. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the handle @intoamericapod, or you can tweet me @trymainelee. That’s @trymainelee, my full name. If you want to write to us, our email is That was intoamerica@nbc and the letters

Into America is produced by Sojourner Ahebee, Isabel Angell, Allison Bailey, Mike Brown, Aaron Dalton, Max Jacobs, Olivia Richard (ph), and Joshua Sirotiak. Original music is by Hannis Brown. Our executive producer is Aisha Turner. Special thanks to NBC producers. Stefanie Cargill and Lori Daniel on this story, along with Randy Brown, Derek Debowski and Doug Suttle for their technical work this week. I'm Trymaine Lee We'll see you next Thursday.