Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The youth vote

This article argues that young people will turn out in droves for Obama. They’re not just smitten, but driven.

Our typical response is that history doesn’t favor the Obama hopes, as young people have "never" been great at turning out to vote. The author observes that youth turnout has risen in the last two election cycles. A trend? Perhaps.

I’ve noticed two things on my campus. First, most students favor Obama. (Shocking and surprising, I know.) Second, those who favor McCain are actually beginning to speak up. The tarnishing of Obama’s luster and Palin-genesis have conspired to embolden them.

If Obama starts looking more and more like a loser, he may have a harder time mobilizing the collegiate or millenial vote. His campaign has to hope that people like my students don’t pay too much attention to what’s actually going on in the campaign across the country. They’d like to keep the students living in the past (i.e., March and April, 2008).

Discussions - 5 Comments

This point is hardly original to me but, may I just say that if the election is interesting enough for young people to get up off the couch and show up at a polling booth it's more than probable that theirs won't be the only "group" so motivated. If turn out is up across the board, the impact of young people--in and of itself--is going to be minimal. The real reason the so called "youth vote" matters is not that their numbers are going to make a difference but, rather, that their opinions seem to drive the responses of their parents, the media and the academy. America's slavish devotion to the opinions of youth will never go away. That's part of who we are.

I question Zogby's methodology, but if this is correct, then he losing the youth note.

Anecdotal: there are many young folks who worked for Obama in the primaries who are now disillusioned with him and vow not to vote for him.

This seems representative of a general trend, however. Even if he holds on to them, they are less enthused with him.

The trouble with young people as your base is always that they do have a tendency to grow up.

The individuals who make up "young people" at any give point in time aren't the point. Of course they grow up, although many don't grow up to nearly the extent that they need to, remaining, among other things, in intellectual thrall to college propaganda. The point is that there is always a large sector of young people society, and if they're liberal, they're a problem. Sure, this generation will grow up to some extent. Equally certain is that they will be replaced by more college-age morons of a younger cohort. Saying that people grow up and become more conservative is no answer at all. You're quite right, though, to say in your first post that young people have had some propagandizing effect on their elders in terms of unwarranted and ignorant Obama support. They have pushed liberals who would have been for Hillary, and dimwitted upper-middle class moderate types who wish to be "with it" away from the Reopublicans.

One of the most watched events in recent television programming was the presidential debate, “town hall” style. Like many other Americans, I tuned in to watch despite my disillusionment with American government over the last couple of decades. I watched it without many expectations, knowing that no matter how direct a question was asked, the responses would be somewhat non-committal, and sound bite ready. The major news journals in the United States were certainly taking notes, as the New York Times depicted the debate as “90 minutes of forced cordiality” and the Boston Globe stated that it was “mercifully free” from the personal attacks I was beginning to get used to and tired of. It certainly was full of tension and made for good T.V., to say the least. McCain continues to pursue policies nearly identical to George W. Bush despite his “maverick” status, such as off shore drilling and staying the course in Iraq. (The irony is astounding: what makes him a maverick is that he wants to do the same things as one of the most unpopular presidents in living memory. The BIG joke is that he is rebelling against the American public.) Obama relied heavily on criticizing the Republican Party, stating that they were the ones that created this mess and he’s going to get us out of it. If we had to go by what they actually said, there’s no telling just which one is the best for getting our economy out of these turbulent times. Obama’s position on “predatory lending” is not a good solution – it’s sure to lead to more unemployment - is more a declaration of intent to appease the banking industry.

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