What’s next? After Biden win, young progressives prepare for the fight ahead


Mary Logan Woolsey '22

RE students attending a Biden rally in October.

In the 2020 election cycle, the U.S. saw unprecedented youth engagement on the political scene, both among liberals and conservatives. From campaign canvassers to poll workers to social justice advocates, students across the nation— including RE students — worked to boost turnout and make sure that the election was free, fair, and safe. Now, the ballots have been cast, votes have been tallied, and winners have been declared. President-Elect Biden’s victory was one for Democrats across the country- but what’s next for this generation of future progressive politicians and activists? 

Lauren Gregorio ‘22, a left-leaning student at Coral Gables Senior High, was originally concerned by Biden’s centrist views, and still recognizes that much work for her branch of the political spectrum remains to be done. “I think [Biden’s centrist views] will become more of an issue once problems such as climate change, and other controversial things are brought up… but Biden was really the best we could do,” said Gregorio.  

For the past year, Gregorio has been an active member in an organization called “New Voters,” a non-partisan organization that registers high school and college students to vote. During the past election cycle, New Voters registered 15,000 students across the nation.  

However, the organization’s non-partisan stance prevents Gregorio from “speaking her truth” on issues she feels passionately about, most notably climate change and Planned Parenthood. While continuing to work for New Voters, she plans to become a member of the Sunrise Movement, which emboldens left-leaning activists in the fight against climate change. And with concerns over the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade emerging after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Gregorio plans to become an even stronger defender of her belief in abortion rights. 

For Alex Dray ‘21, a Democrat who previously worked as a canvasser for Miami-Dade County Mayor-Elect Daniella Levine Cava, the fight ahead should be about pushing the incoming administration to reverse the decisions made in the past four years, which he thinks will have lasting effects on American democracy unless addressed.  

“Even though Trump might be gone, the policies and politicians he created are still in our government,” he said. A real concern for many liberals is the difficulty undoing all the work of the Trump Administrationwhich will be difficult in part because Trump’s base of support is stronger than ever. While he was pleased with increased voter turnout and believes that everyone’s voice should be heard, he also pointed out that Trump brought out a new group of voters to the polls who will not disappear overnight. 

“This base [of voters] will have a lasting influence on American politics… they are the ones voting in elections that determine many representatives in both state and federal legislatures,” he said.

Other RE progressives, however, maintain that Trump’s voting bloc will be diluted by a continued increase in voter turnout from youth. “Since so many people really emphasized [voter turnout] during this election, more people will go out and vote and try to get involved with educating themselves and learning about elections after the chaos of this most recent one,” said Lucia Font ‘22. 

Font, who is 16, was unable to vote in the past election. but made her presence on the political scene in other ways. She attended multiple campaign rallies for President-Elect Biden, became informed about his policies, and advocated for them on social media and in real life. “I wanted to be handson when it came to involvement,” she said. For the near future, Font’s role on the political scene will be related to increasing voter turnout numbers and helping people understand why exercising their right to vote matters. 

Throughout the Trump era, Alex Prio-Touzet ‘21 participated in many forms of activism for the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights. Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in late May, she was also present at numerous BLM protests across Miami. She considers Biden’s victory a victory for activists, too, since the Trump administration stoked fear in the LGBTQ+ community by rolling back on several Obama-era protections, and Biden has promised to restore such protections. But she also noted that “ideally he’ll do that without pressure.” 

For social justice advocates such as Prio-Touzet, holding President-elect Biden accountable for all he has promised on the campaign trail will be key. “I’m going to hold Biden accountable and continue protesting when we need change — just hope that we won’t need to do it as much anymore,” said Prio-Touzet. 

At the same time, she also feels exhausted by the constant fight to achieve justice, and by the sense that activists’ concerns are being ignored by the government. In Prio-Touzet’s eyes, some of the issues she is going to protest for are simply facts that “shouldn’t even be argued over,” she said. “’Black lives matter’ shouldn’t be an aggressive statement.”  

With 2020 drawing to a close and the era of Trump almost behind the United States, fatigue is plaguing left-leaning political activists. But they recognize that their fight is long from over. “I actually don’t like having political debates. It stresses me out,” said Prio-Touzet. “But I can’t let something that I find morally wrong just slip by me.”