Young people won Ed Markey his election, they should be taken seriously


Luis Gomez-Alfaro

 Sen. Ed Markey recently beat his younger challenger to keep his incumbent sport as senator of Massachusetts. Markey who is 74 was being opposed by Kennedy who at 39 wasn’t even born when Markey began his political career. Joe Kennedy has served as serving as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district since 2013, a member of America’s biggest political dynasty in their home turf of Massachusetts many political analysts had him as a favorite even as a challenger. Ironically young voters had Markey’s back.

Joe Kennedy never decided what was his role in toppling Markey, Kennedy proclaimed himself a progressive but that was a tough sell when Ed is one of the most unabashed progressives in all of congress. Kennedy’s message was that new and younger leadership was needed, hoping to gain favor with those who felt congress needed to get younger and specifically young voters but Ed was already ahead of him. 

Markey has taken a more contemporary look at campaigning. His campaign paid special attention to social media sites. They were on Twitter, Instagram, and even Tiktok. This was clearly a push to be heard by young people and they listened. Being on Twitter and Instagram is now a necessity to be connected with constituents but being on Tiktok that is new. On Markey’s Tik Tok there are clips speeches mixed in with videos made by young people in his campaign specifically for Tiktok. The outreach worked with the Markey account garnering 12.8k followers and 146.7 likes as opposed to Kennedy’s 146 followers. Markey’s Tiktok spurred other fan or stan accounts and the attention of politically aware young people on Tiktok. Similarly Bernie Sanders who is notorious for his support in young people pushed heavily on Tiktok.

It wasn’t just Tiktok though, Markey received endorsements from many unions, progressive politicians and progressive organizations by the most notable one for many was his endorsement from representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She said in a video posted to the Markey Tiktok she was “proud to enthusiastically support and endorse senator Ed Markey.” AOC is part of the young movement of progressive left leaning members of congress so it is notable that she would endorse this 74 year old career politician. AOC’s endorsement has weight especially among young voters.

It was apparent even before the primary that the special attention to the young voter was working. A JMC Analytics poll from late July showed Markey with a 50-26 lead over Kennedy among likely Massachusetts primary voters aged 18 to 34. Another poll byUMass Amherst/WCVB poll conducted in early August showed that voters 18-29  favored Markey over Kennedy on loads of issues, from the economy (65 percent to 35 percent); to taking on Donald Trump (60 to 15).

When it was all said and done Markey won the primary with 55.4% of the votes and is now more than likely going on to win the election in the solidly liberal state. Markey later said “Tonight is more than just a celebration of a movement; it is a reaffirmation of the need to have a movement — a progressive movement of young people,” 

This is another example on how young people can be a powerful, progressive, and blaring group when mobilized correctly and will only get more influential in upcoming elections. 


Works Cited

Weiss, Joanna. How 74-Year-Old Ed Markey Is Stealing the Youth Vote from a Millennial Kennedy. 18 Aug. 2020, 

Mullins, Lisa, and Anthony Brooks. “How Ed Markey Earned The Vote Of Young People.” How Ed Markey Earned The Vote Of Young People | WBUR News, WBUR, 2 Sept. 2020, 

Rogers, Alex. “Sen. Ed Markey Defeats a Kennedy in Massachusetts.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 Sept. 2020, 

Swasey, Benjamin. “Markey Fends Off Kennedy Challenge In High Profile Mass. Senate Primary.” NPR, NPR, 2 Sept. 2020, 

Image : Kelly, Makena. “Ed Markey’s Stan Army Is Taking Politics by Storm.” The Verge, The Verge, 31 Aug. 2020,