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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fearing the Youth Vote

Item from the Statements of the Obvious Department: Barack Obama is trying to get out the youth vote. In my final post yesterday, I wrote about this. Allow me to quote myself for a moment here:

What you're seeing here is the Democrats taking a page out of history. In 1998, Russ Feingold was in a tough reelection fight for his second term. In fact, it looked like he was going to lose to construction company owner Mark Neumann. But Madison's Rep. Tammy Baldwin ran a pretty substantial get out the vote campaign on the University of Wisconsin campus to boost her own election prospects (it was to be her first term) and that brought out dems who also voted for Feingold. After the smoke cleared, Tammy had won a decisive 53% and Russ came out with 50.55% of the vote. A real squeaker for Feingold, but a win's a win.

The moral of this story: turn out the UW and Democrats win in Wisconsin. Ironically enough, Big Red is one of the things that keeps Wisconsin blue. Politically-engaged University of Wisconsin students, faculty, and union members are the party's not-so-secret weapon. Here's hoping history repeats itself.

As I said, faculty and employees are solid dem voters on average, but the bulk of the college vote comes from students. Want to know how terrified Republicans are of the youth vote? Take a gander at this:

Get that? Don't encourage young people to vote, because they're stupid. In fact, discourage them from voting. All those teabagging idiots with the misspelled signs and fumbling grasp of history and the Constitution are fine, though. We'll encourage them to vote. Older idiots are OK, it's the young idiots who are the problem. If Stossel hadn't limited his investigation to young people, he probably wouldn't have had any better luck with his photos of Boehner and Pelosi -- a recent CNN poll shows that while Nancy Pelosi is fairly well-known (and not liked), Boehner is, as CNN put it, "unknown." In any case, those who know the name may not know the face -- I don't know when that Boehner portrait was taken, but it wasn't yesterday. He's put on a few coats of orange since then. Besides, Stossel's wandering around New York, if I'm not mistaken. None of those people are going to be voting for Pelosi or Boehner anyway. And did anyone identify either Nancy or John in that clip? Someone would've had to eventually. Score one for creative editing.

Still, it says a lot about Republican fear of young voters that FOX would produce a segment telling viewers to discourage younger people from voting. It's ham-handed and transparent, sure, but these are FOX News viewers we're talking about here. Ironically enough, they aren't the sharpest pencils in the box. They're going to fall for this crap hook, line, and sinker, because there is no one in the world who so desperately needs to feel smarter than someone else as an fool. You tell them someone is dumber than they are and they'll accept the compliment gladly.

Further, let's consider the sad fact that young voters are in the same boat as other voting demographics -- the minority vote. Can you really grab some random jerk off the street and say, "This represents everyone"? There are college students taking political science classes, organizing political groups, and becoming politically active as we speak. I kind of think they might be a little better informed than average and the most likely to vote in their age demo.

If you're 18-26, 18-30, somewhere in that neighborhood, don't ask who wants you to vote, ask yourself who doesn't.


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