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How did Gen-Zer Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old part-time Uber driver, reach the US Congress?

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaNov 10, 2022 | 19:15

How did Gen-Zer Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old part-time Uber driver, reach the US Congress?

Maxwell Frost is the only Gen-Z member of the US Congress at the age of 25 (photo-DailyO)

A major highlight of this year's US midterm elections was Maxwell Alejandro Frost's victory as the Representative elect of Florida's 10th Congressional District. The 25-year-old Democrat defeated 72-year-old Republican Calvin Wimbish and has been making the news for being the first Gen-Z member of the Congress. 

What makes Frost a unique winner? Not only is Frost the first Gen-Z Congress member but he is also its first Afro-Cuban member. Even his pre-election campaigns found him displaying his multi-ethnicity with Spanglish (the hybrid of Spanish and English) advertisements. 

To quote one of his Spanglish ads, "Latinos are in a place where their first language is Spanish but they speak English as well, and quite frankly that's me ... We speak Spanglish in the house, and I know that's the same for a lot of Latino families in the district."

What led to his popularity? Like many young activists, Frost stood out from the older candidates with a stress on social media campaigning. He has been an active part of anti-gun violence movements ever since he was 15, starting out after 2012’s Sandy Hooks Elementary school shooting that led to the deaths of 20 children and six adults. 

Before winning the midterm elections, he served as the national organising director for anti-gun violence collective March for Our Lives. With 351k followers on Instagram, the popular youth group emerged in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland in which a 19-year-old armed boy shot down 17 students in 2018. 

Who supported his campaign? As is obvious, gun violence was a chief point of discussion in Frost’s campaign, gaining the support and endorsements from prevention groups such as Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Giffords, and activist Fred Guttenberg. 

While Frost represents the American youth’s fear with guns, Guttenberg is the epitome of the other end of the spectrum: the concerned parents. When his 14-year-old daughter Jaime passed away in the aforementioned Parkland massacre, Guttenberg emerged as one of the most popular parent activists in the country today. 

Other vocal endorsers and supporters include activist Jesse Jackson, former NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) President Ben Jealous, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
 
Frost’s youth makes him relatable: In an age when celebrities and politicians have to delete their old tweets lest they be “cancelled”, Frost’s social media presence has been a chief factor in making him relatable to the public. Just take for instance, a 2009 photograph from his Twitter account that finds him posing next to a much-younger and tween-y Harry Styles (who was still in the boy band One Direction back then). 

“Ariana Grande at Starbucks !!! IM SO HAPPY SHE IS SO AMAZING TALKING WITH US.” This is what he tweeted when he met the popstar back in 2013. His takes on pop culture and music is what makes his social media presence more genuine. 

But when it comes to serious issues like gun control, he is at the forefront of both social media and on-ground movements. This balance of keeping up with trends and talking about issues that matter made him stand out in the campaign. 

Views beyond gun control: Frost’s other issues in his campaigns also connect with Gen-Y and Gen-Z voters along with the general Democrat crowds. 

Addressing unlawful arrests and sentencing of minorities in the States, Frost wishes for “a future with no prisons”, stressing on rehabilitation instead of just sentencing. He has also been quite vocal when it comes to decriminalising sex work and cannabis use. 

His support for gig economy workers also comes out beyond tokenistic claims as Frost is also a part-time Uber driver!

Maxwell Frost driving a cab (photo-Mehmet Safak Sari on Twitter)
Maxwell Frost driving a cab (photo-Mehmet Safak Sari on Twitter)

“I drive Uber to pay my bills. It’s a sacrifice, to be honest,” he told the outlet. “But I’m doing it because I can’t imagine myself not doing anything but fixing the problems we have right now,” Frost told the American publication Politico

Lastly, Frost has “an underdog story”: Frost’s opponent was 72-year-old Calvin Wimbish, a former Green Beret who describes himself as “Christian, conservative, and constitutionalist”. While his military experience might appeal to older demographics, Frost arguably has a more “trend-able” story. 

Having survived a gun attack himself in 2016 and being Maced (mace being the toxic gas used by riot police) in several protests, his fight against gun violence and police brutality seems to stem from a personal space. His dual identity as Hispanic and an African-American man makes him stand for a new-age America’s diversity. 

The part-time Uber driver also never went to college, committing himself towards advocacy of issues like abortion rights, environmental justice, along with his usual crusade against firearms. 

Bottom line: It is yet to be seen how the Gen-Z representative would actually fight these issues on an electoral level but his victory alone marks a watershed moment in American politics. Given that the minimum age to contest for a US Congress seat is 25, Maxwell Frost represents a new era of decision-making, one that will most probably be followed by similar young activists who were born between the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Last updated: November 10, 2022 | 19:15
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