AS ever when a US election is looming, we spend months hearing from the loudest factions of the Republican Party about how big they’re going to win and all the terrible things they’re going to do with the power they’ll have post-election.

This pre-midterm season, the “Red Wave” was the soundbite of the Republican campaign across the United States, particularly hardline “Make America Great Again” (Maga) Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene or, hilariously, Lauren Boebert – who at the time of writing was still trailing behind her Democratic opponent in the battle for Colorado’s third district.

As much as I find these GOP displays arrogant and almost amusing, I was humbled very quickly on that November night in 2016 as I watched Trump bulldoze his way into the White House, an ambition I had naively regarded at the time as unlikely to be achievable.

During every election period since, I have watched with dread as the results poured in and the ultra-righties took up space in the most powerful chambers in the world. In that time, we’ve seen abortion rights rolled back, gun violence continuing to dominate and an actual violent insurrection at the US Capitol – a harrowing depiction of what happens when right-wing policy takes hold.

READ MORE: What impact will the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro have on Brazil?

This year’s mid-terms, however, have gone in a much different direction, in a way that even the most hopeful of progressives didn’t predict. In what has been a slam dunk for Joe Biden – who’s just secured the best mid-term election result of any president since JFK – the Democrats have not only held on in seats they were projected to lose but have flipped entire legislature control in places such as Michigan, which hasn’t been under Democratic control since 1983.

What is most interesting about this result though is the demography behind it. How did the Dems manage to make up so much ground? It’s only been six years since the birth of Maga and the legitimisation of Trump. The answer is simple – a generational shift in the voting-age population.

Young voters across the United States voted 63% in favour of the Democrats – the only age demographic to have voted more than 50% in favour of either way. And they turned out in their droves to do it. Youth turnout in this election massively shifted the result and saved the US from an even further plummet to the depths of the far-right.

This new generation of voters are young people that have grown up as teenagers through the Trump era, young women and LGBT people who have watched their rights being pulled apart and rolled back by Republicans up and down the States. Importantly, they are young people who have grown up forced to partake in active shooter drills at school because their governments have failed time and time again to protect them.

The key point is, that they are young people thirsty for change and they are typically more progressive than generations before them.

What about in the UK?

The attitudes of this generation of young progressive voters are seen replicated across the world. Typically speaking, Gen-Z and Millennials consistently vote more in favour of progressive politics than they do conservative. We saw it in 2014, when young people resoundingly backed independence, more so than any other generation – and that’s why they are the key to securing a victory for our campaign in the next referendum.

There are many theories about why young people are more politically engaged and ready to vote progressively, but as a young and progressive politically engaged woman, I can tell you the answer is simple.

Conservatism hits young people right in the gut. In 12 years of Tories, young people in the UK have seen their opportunity to work and study in 27 other countries robbed from them, their ambition of being on the property ladder obliterated and the cost of living spiralling well above what their average wage can stomach. Conservatism is not on the side of young people – and they know it.

What’s even more exciting about this is that the typical lean towards conservatism with age is also massively thinning out. Unfortunately for the Tories, this historic trend was based on societal norms that are just no longer representative. For the independence movement, this can only be positive.

Young people don’t want independence just for the sake of it, and it’s no coincidence that these same progressive voters are more likely to back it.

The independence that young people envision is a Scotland rooted in tolerance, compassion, and fairness. The very principles our movement was built upon are the same principles that young people across the globe are voting for en masse, and it is up to us to harness that youth power.

We need to demonstrate to young people what being independent will actually mean for them, how it translates into the kind of progressive policy they vote for and why the Union can’t deliver it.

Young people are disengaged from politics, as always. They want something different, something better – something those of us on the Yes side know this tired Union just cannot offer.

Not only is it up to us to earn their votes, it’s up to us to take them with us on the campaign. Politics is in dire need of youth representation and the systems and processes that have dominated politics for decades are exclusionary and, frankly, dull.

We must disengage from the Westminster way of politics and offer a real alternative to a generation that is thirsty for it.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Future on the line as as Brazil heads to the polls

If we want to win, we have to show this generation why independence is the alternative – and we need to invite them to build it with us.

Give young people a voice and an accessible and representative space to participate in, and you will see an astronomical shift in support for the cause.

The independence movement across Scotland should be watching the US election results and making plans to replicate them here.

We have a whole new wave of voters that we didn’t have in 2014, poised and ready to vote for their future. It’s up to us to prove that independence is the golden ticket to the future they want – if we do, then we win.