Joe Biden supporters at the Liberty and Justice Celebration in Des Moines, Iowa. Photos: Evan Jenkins

Meet the Young Joe Biden Stans

What do these Millennial and Gen Z voters see in the 76-year-old centrist?

Andrea González-Ramírez
Published in
10 min readNov 18, 2019

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Alladin Dafalla is pretty certain he’s all in on Joe Biden. Sure, Dafalla admits the former vice president lacks the Big Ideas Energy of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders or the charisma of Pete Buttigieg. But Biden’s got something else, something far more valuable to Dafalla: 50 years of public service experience and a platform that screams practicality.

That’s why the 20-year-old made the two-hour drive from Cedar Falls, where he attends the University of Northern Iowa, to Des Moines, to see Biden speak at the Liberty and Justice Celebration — one of the primary’s marquee fundraising dinners, held this year at the Wells Fargo Arena. The celebration is best known for springboarding Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2007; the 2020 Democratic hopefuls are hoping their organizing power and soapbox skills will be on full display here. But first, each candidate has a full day of pre-event campaign rallies for their supporters to attend.

“He’s truly a real person. He’s not just some politician.”

Standing in an ornate ballroom inside a convention center that sits across the street from the Wells Fargo Arena, Dafalla’s enthusiasm for Biden is evident in the way he excitedly bounces from one foot to the other as he talks about the former veep. He is a political science major and this is the state party’s biggest night, after all. But when he explains his support for Biden, Dafalla seems to speak more with his head than his heart. “I think he is the one with the realistic [platform],” he says. “I’ll support anyone, but my first choice is Biden.”

A young Biden supporter such as Dafalla is very much the exception among voters in the 18 to 35 demographic. When it comes to the youth vote, polls have Biden trailing behind Warren and Sanders. In Iowa, only 2% of respondents under the age of 45 say they are planning to caucus for him come February, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll.

Alladin Dafalla made the two-hour drive from Cedar Falls, where he attends the University of Northern Iowa, to hear Biden speak.

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Andrea González-Ramírez
GEN
Writer for

Award-winning Puerto Rican journalist. Senior Writer at New York Magazine’s The Cut. Formerly GEN, Refinery29, and more. Read my work: https://www.thecut.com/