Biden’s TikTok, oil moves test the loyalty of young voters

(AP) EMPE, Arizona — Young people, who have generally supported President Joe Biden, are being put to the test by recent actions he has taken, including pressuring TikTok over its Chinese ownership and approving oil drilling in an unexplored region of Alaska.

Since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, youth turnout has increased in all three elections, aiding Biden in squeaking by in battleground states in 2020, winning a Democratic Senate seat in 2022, and averting probable losses in the House.

But the younger liberals eager for a new era of American leadership have never favored the 80-year-old president. A prospective TikTok ban and the Arctic drilling might be burdensome for Biden as he prepares for an anticipated reelection campaign.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court is considering whether to block his plan to erase billions of dollars in student loan debt. In an effort to fulfill a promise he made after beating progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race for president in 2020, Biden unveiled the initiative just before the midterm elections last year.

The risk for Biden is less that young, liberal voters will support the Republican party and more that they will stay home during a dull election.

Mark Buehlmann, a 20-year-old Arizona State University student, declared, “I’m a Democrat, but I’m not voting for Biden.” If Biden ends up being the Democratic nominee, as predicted, he stated he will probably abstain from voting. He might be able to perform well, but he lacks the leadership skills needed to marshal the troops and inspire the populace. especially among Democratic supporters. He’s not a strong candidate, in my opinion.

TikTok users, of which 150 million are in the US, may post quick, original films for friends and complete strangers. Its algorithm has a remarkable capacity for determining what interests its users and presenting relevant movies to them. It has grown to be a wildly popular—some would even say addictive—location for young people to find entertainment and connection.

Western countries are growing more concerned that ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok and is located in Beijing, may provide browser history or other information about users to the Chinese government or spread propaganda and misinformation. TikTok has been prohibited from government-owned devices by the US, other countries, and a number of states.

According to a Wall Street Journal report last month, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, a division of Biden’s Treasury Department, has threatened to outright ban TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t divest itself of its ownership of the app.

Trump attempted to outlaw TikTok in 2020, but the motion was thwarted in court and later overturned when Biden became president and mandated a thorough investigation of the matter.

Joe Biden has long been known in American politics, according to Ortega. “I believe that people are simply ready for something different.”

The massive Willow oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope was approved by the Biden administration, which infuriated environmentalists and young people.

Youth activists have been particularly active in their campaigns to end the use of fossil fuels and dramatically restrict oil drilling. Before the president made his choice, a TikTok campaign called #StopWillow that urged Biden to veto the project had millions of views.

“This is not the proper path to take on this topic,” said Cristina Tzintzn Ramirez, president of NextGen America, a youth advocacy organization. “He has delivered a lot for young people.”

AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

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