My1sttoday: Teens expand TikTok playbook to help Democrats win Georgia senate sits. Youth-led groups are drawing on successful campaigns they launched in the fall – leveraging influence from accounts with large TikTok followings and creating memes that mock Republican candidates – to mobilize young voters ahead of the Jan. 5 elections in the Peach State that will decide which party controls the Senate.
“I think we’re really building off of that momentum that we’ve built up and going a step further and really becoming creative with it and letting young people take the lead,” Alicia Novoa, director of engagement at the youth-led Future Coalition, said.
Future Coalition partnered with a group called Gen-Z for Change, previously known as TikTok for Biden, last week for a virtual phone and text banking event in support of Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. The event used Zoom breakout rooms to let volunteers virtually phone and text bank with popular TikTokers who combined had more than 5 million followers.
“This was totally youth-led. It was me, a young organizer, and my peers saying, ‘How can we bring other young people?’ And saying, ‘Let’s bring TikTokers,'” said Novoa, a 19-year-old sophomore at Georgetown University.
“That wouldn’t come up naturally with seasoned political operatives,” she added. “It’s really something new, that’s innovative. Something that’s super niche for young people.”
Gen-Z for Change launched as TikTok for Biden ahead of the general election. The group brought together hundreds of TikTok creators to support Biden and target a young audience. After Biden became president-elect, the group changed to broaden its goals and is now pumping out content to energize voters ahead of the Georgia runoffs, where Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are fighting to keep their seats and the Senate in GOP hands.
The 46th President Biden became the first Democrat since former President Clinton in 1992 to win Georgia, largely driven by turnout among young voters and people of color, voters. Democrats have widely praised voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and her organization Fair Fight in mobilizing Democrats statewide. Sen. Lindsey Graham said lately, Stacey Abrams ‘conned’ Georgia GOP into helping Biden win Georgia.
Recent polls show a tight race in both Georgia Senate races. Young and first-time voters are yet again poised to play a key role at the ballot box, when the makeup of the Senate for the next two years will be decided. If Ossoff and Warnock both win, Democrats will win back control of the Senate.
In Georgia, youth voters made up 20 percent of all ballots cast during the general election, according to the data from CIRCLE.
The majority of voters in that age group broke for Biden, at 58 percent, compared to 39 percent who voted for Trump. That bump was largely driven by Black voters. While just 34 percent of white voters in Georgia under the age of 30 voted for Biden, an overwhelming 90 percent of Black voters supported him, according to CIRCLE data.
Young voters also were more likely to vote for Ossoff, at 54 percent, compared to 43 percent who backed Perdue, according to CNN exit polls.