TSWT interview: Maxwell Frost of Gen Z

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Fresh off victory in a packed Democratic primary for Florida’s 10th congressional district, Maxwell Frost, 25 — who is poised to become the first Gen Z member of Congress — is already talking about his plans to recruit a new generation of candidates. to be elevated to national, state and local office.

Why it matters: Together, millennials (born 1981-1996) and Gen. Z (born 1997-2012) about a third of the 2020 electorate, but their representation in Congress has yet to catch up.

  • Millennials make up just 7% of the 117th Congress.
  • 2022 is the first election cycle in which Gen. Z candidates are old enough to meet the age of 25 to be eligible for the House.

What they say: “I’m the first; I certainly won’t be the last,” Frost told TSWT in a phone interview days after his comfortable win in a 10-candidate field.

  • “I’m going to be very involved in the political side of things and make sure that we…not just have young people, but just a whole new generation of people, saying, ‘Hey, you know what? I can run for office. ” said Frost. “Not just Congress either. Like school board—you know? County Commission. Something like that.”
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The political novice did not finish college, but organized for the ACLU and March for Our Lives. He drove for Uber while campaigning.

  • Backed by leading progressives, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Frost defeated seasoned rivals including State Sen. Randolph Bracy and former US Representatives Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown. Incumbent Representative Val Demings is running for Senate.
  • Despite surpassing his closest opponent by more than 2-to-1 with $1.5 million in August, Frost told TSWT that his win was anything but a sure bet. “I know what it means to go to the office with no money in the bank and no support in the beginning,” he said.
  • Frost, who is Afro-Cuban, will take on Calvin Wimbish, 72, a black Republican conservative activist and retired army green beret in November. The neighborhood is firmly democratic, making Frost the firm favorite.
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The Intrigue: Frost believes his generation has a higher shock threshold when it comes to politicians’ personal lives or social media exposure.

Take a look at recent stories that younger politicians like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) or Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

  • Frost said there is “a sense of truth” to case of Cawthorn that many of his colleagues would not be in office if they had grown up in the digital age, although he called Cawthorn’s political views “disqualifying.”
  • The controversy over leaked videos showing Cawthorn in sexually explicit situations is “not really what bothered me about him.”
  • At his own win party on the first night, Frost recalled, “I was dancing onstage and some news outlets were saying, ‘Oh look, he’s dancing, that’s interesting!’ And in my head I’m like, I don’t really see that.”
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It comes down to: Frost doesn’t necessarily see himself as a disruptor in the form of the ‘Squad’, but positions himself with young progressives who want a more combative Democratic Party.

  • “We shouldn’t have come to the table at the compromise already,” he said. “There will be times for compromise… what I’m saying is, let’s not lose sight of the North Star.”

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