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The Dissatisfaction Of Young Voters

The Dissatisfaction Of Young Voters

Authored by Adeline Von Drehle via RealClear Wire,

Four years ago, Generation Z, or those born from 1997-2012,…

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The Dissatisfaction Of Young Voters

Authored by Adeline Von Drehle via RealClear Wire,

Four years ago, Generation Z, or those born from 1997-2012, broke the record for young voter turnout. Their champion? Then-77-year-old Joe Biden. Four years later, less than 50% of 18-29 year-olds “definitely” plan on voting, and only 33% of the age group approves of President Biden’s job performance.

The pressing question is why an overwhelmingly liberal generation – just 21% of Gen Z adults are registered GOP voters – is hesitant to support the Democratic Party incumbent, especially when their alternative option is the deeply controversial former President Donald Trump. Gen Z poses a question in response: Why would we be eager to participate in a system that isn’t working for or with us?

Zoe Romyn, a 24-year-old Wisconsin voter working as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coordinator, put it simply: “Nihilistic might be one of the words I would use to describe my sentiment towards the U.S. government.”

Gen Z (nicknamed the “Zoomer” generation) is largely disillusioned with the state of Washington politics today. About 61% of Zoomers say they do not trust their political leaders, compared to 32% of Baby Boomers. It is worth examining what exactly is going on inside the minds of the nation’s youngest voters.

Immediate gratification, short attention spans, political division, cultural and economic instability – these are said to be the defining factors of Gen Z. But they have their reasons. Zoomers were raised amid the 2008 financial crash and came of age during a global pandemic. Many set up their first social media account by junior high school, where they had unlimited access to footage of natural disasters and police brutality. This is the generation of school shooter drills and school assemblies on cyberbullying and suicide.

Understanding how these factors interact is crucial to our understanding of Zoomers’ political progressivism. There is a longing among these young voters for effective humanitarian-centered public policies.

“It is less about them, than it is about others,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and author of “Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America.”

Millions of young people vote every cycle, not just to protect and expand their rights and their vision of America,” Della Volpe said in an interview, “but to protect and expand the rights of those more vulnerable than themselves.”

This humanitarian bent means young voters are more likely to support initiatives such as gun control, climate change, nonviolence policies, equitable education, and universal healthcare, among others.

I think Gen Z is definitely more focused on human rights as a whole,” said Henry Bradley, a 24-year-old from San Francisco. “Maybe that’s because of the social media culture, maybe sympathy does better algorithmically.”

To many of their elders, this sympathy can take disastrously wrong turns. Taught to graft concepts like “intersectionality” and “anti-colonialism” into global affairs, young Americans are less proud of their country and its foreign policy than any generation in U.S. history and, by their own accounting, are not very “patriotic.”

Zoomers shocked older generations – and sent shudders through the Democratic Party – by taking a pro-Palestine stance in the wake of the unprompted and violent attack perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, in which 1,200 Israeli Jews were killed and 250 civilians were kidnapped. A critical mass of young Democrats has broken with the Biden administration for its funding of the Israeli government’s military response to the attack, which has resulted in the death of approximately 25,000 Palestinian civilians.

The culture of social media is affecting Gen Z in additional and unpredictable ways. Approximately 98% of Zoomers own a smartphone, and the age group averages over four hours per day online. People under the age of 25 are two times more likely to use apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) as their news source than they are to look at traditional news sources.

Emotionally evocative, fast-paced content thrives on social media. This might be like a 30-second rant about bombings in Gaza or a one-page infographic about the rapidly growing housing crisis. Often, content such as this will receive millions of views or be reposted thousands of times. Young people will post donation links, e-boycott large corporations, or virtually plan protests.

“When our attention is brought by the media to something like Ukraine or student loans, we commit a lot of civic engagement immediately,” said Romyn. “We anticipate seeing the changes that we want before the next subject matter comes up. And I don’t think that we’re wrong for wanting to see those kinds of changes. But it’s a bureaucracy and nothing moves fast.”

This is the major disconnect between Gen Z and Washington, D.C. It is no wonder that the same generation who grew up with next-day delivery would desire next-day policy implementation. Unfortunately for the instant gratification generation, Congress was designed to move at a glacial pace.

Are progressive Zoomers taking out their frustration with the government on Joe Biden? Or is there separate and passionate discontent with the president himself, too? It would seem that both are true.

During Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, “He made us feel heard and he made us feel seen,” said 23-year-old Chicagoan Jessica Rinaldi. “I feel like since then, it’s been radio silence.”

Many left-wing Gen Z voters feel that Biden has underdelivered on the issues most important to them, including their inability to meet economic milestones, gun control, abortion rights, the war in Gaza, mental health, climate change, and racial justice.

For instance, 72% of 18-29-year-old Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. The fact that Roe v. Wade was overturned during Biden’s presidency and abortion law was returned to state choice left a stain many Zoomers haven’t been able to wash out.

“Biden definitely could have done something to help women and our rights,” said Amanda Koenigstein, a 21-year-old college senior. “Or, he tried, but he just didn’t do enough.”

Biden and Democrats in Congress pushed to codify the protections of Roe at the federal level in 2022, but partisan divides in the Senate made legislative efforts on that front impossible. Biden’s response was to urge voters to “elect more pro-choice senators this November and return a pro-choice majority to the House.” Democrats held on to the Senate and lost the House.

“Both in rhetoric and policy, Democrats have fallen pretty short on abortion,” said 25-year-old Nashville resident Chase Mueller. “There was a two-year span where we had an all-blue federal government, and they dropped the ball.”

In fact, Biden backed a rule change to the Senate filibuster, which would have allowed the codification of Roe (and other legislation) to pass by a simple majority instead of a 60-vote supermajority, but the change was blocked in a bipartisan vote.

Biden’s failures, not his efforts, went viral on the TikTok ‘For You’ page, and he is remembered as the Democratic president who let reproductive rights go by the wayside while tweeting about how women deserve the option to choose.

There are those Zoomers who recognize the limited power of the president. Romyn points out that she isn’t “discontented with the Biden administration, other than realizing that there’s not really a lot that he can do. There’s just so much that you have to play politics around.”

In 2020, Biden’s five decades of political experience was offered by the Democrats as a virtue – an antidote to the chaos of novice politician Donald Trump. Four years later, Biden’s politics-is-the-art-of-the-possible approach has left Zoomers dissatisfied with the president.

“If you have no faith in the political system, you’re not necessarily going to want a president who’s working through the system and trying to go negotiate and compromise and work with the other party,” Daniel Cox, director of the Survey Center on American Life at the American Enterprise Institute, said of Gen Z voters.

Even though frustration with Washington and the Biden administration abounds, many progressive Zoomers who spoke to RCP remain committed to casting a ballot. For some, it’ll be less of a vote for the Democrats and more of a vote against Donald Trump.

I feel like right now, we have a criminal, and we have a disappointment,” Rinaldi said, referring to Trump’s 91 felony charges. “I’d rather vote for a disappointment than a criminal.”

Another facet of Rinaldi’s decision-making process harkens back to the humanitarian impulses of the Zoomer generation. Rinaldi told RCP that if she was voting solely for the impact the president would have on her, she wouldn’t vote at all.

“My biggest thing with voting is, sometimes it’s not about you. It’s about who’s gonna do best for the general population,” Rinaldi said, suggesting that another Biden administration would have a better impact on the American public than a second Trump term.

The Biden campaign and its Republican counterpart could stand to acknowledge the intricacies of those factors informing Gen Z tendencies, as well as the plain-and-simple, bureaucracy-transcending criticisms of young voters.

Morally, I don’t think I could vote for either [Biden or Trump],” said Amanda Koenigstein. “I feel like we need someone younger, who understands where we’re at and what we’re going through. We can’t find jobs, the housing market is insane, cost of living is up. They aren’t helping enough.”

Adeline Von Drehle is a rising senior at the University of Missouri studying American history. She will spend the coming year as an Oxford fellow at Corpus Christi College.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/04/2024 - 12:50

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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