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First Gen Z Representative, Former March For Our Lives Organizer, Heading to Congress

Maxwell Frost speaking. Image: Maxwell Frost website.

Cuban-American Maxell Alejandro Frost won Florida‘s 19th Congressional District in yesterday’s midterm elections. This is amazing news not just because he’s the first Afro-Cuban (second Afro-Latinx person, period) or Gen Z representative, but because he shows that the progressive wing of the Democrat party is growing. Even in Florida.

From Medicare For All and The Green New Deal to policies that touch on prison abolition, Frost is a reminder that Cuban voters in Florida are not all Republicans. As an activist, Frost was a director for March for Our Lives and worked with the ACLU. In addition to pushing for gun reform legislation, it seems like Frost is most proud of helping get Florida’s Amendment 4 on the ballot in 2018, which restored voting rights for former felons.

While a moderate Democrat (Val Helming) held the seat before him, the district, before 2017, consistently leaned Republican for decades. Because of this, Frost’s win was not guaranteed, least of all by a margin of 20+ points. Unfortunately, Frost’s lack of confidence in what would be a landslide probably contributed to his stance on Israel and Palestine changing dramatically after vote-by-mail ballots were already being accepted. While he previously advocated against Israeli Apartied, Frost switched to a pro-Zionist, “both sides” approach about eight weeks out from the general election date. A friend and fellow organizer of Frost told Mondoweiss that things changed after Ritchie Torres (NY-15) endorsed Frost and he switched to the “progressive except for Palestine” approach.

How this changes Congress

One person doesn’t dramatically change the makeup of Congress (unless it’s one over the filibuster in the Senate). However, Frost’s induction into Congress marks an inevitable shift coming to fruition. That is, Gen Z (ages 10 to 25 as of writing this) is entering the political arena at a national level as more than voters and activists—which is still important. Despite half of Americans being under the age of 38, until this election, we represent only 5% of Congress. While 23% of Congress is over the age of 70, they represent only 17% of the population (2020.)

Now obviously, not everyone 38 and younger is old enough to be in Congress, but there is a massive cultural difference between people born in the 1950s and those born in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. Our problems in the present are different, and our future is very different, even beyond climate change. This, as it’s called, gerontocracy extends to both parts of Congress, where the average (not the median) ages are 59 for the House of Representatives and 63 for the Senate.

The former youngest person (in a century) to sit in Congress, one-term loser Madison Cawthorn, lost his reelection primary and is a millennial/Gen Z cusper. Because (thankfully) pro-Trump candidate Karoline Leavitt, a few months younger than Frost, lost her race in New Hampshire, there is one sole Gen Z representative between the 535 seats of Congress, and he is looking towards the future.

(featured image: screencap)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)