Andrew covers recent polls that show Millennials moving away from the Republican party:
Drum chimes in:
[The GOP's] earlier embrace of social fundamentalism was largely responsible for driving away young voters in the first place, and now, left only with a core of middle-aged and elderly voters that they need to keep loyal, they’re likely to pursue policies that push the young even further away. This might produce occasional victories, but no political party can survive this kind of vicious cycle in the long run. Having long since alienated blacks, Hispanics, and virtually the entire Northeast, Republicans can hardly afford to permanently lose young voters as well. The white South and the elderly just aren’t enough to sustain a national party.
Source: Playing the blame game: how is it that women (Shannon, Hillary, Martha) blamed for running a bad campaign? Why is it so hard to be likable?
Shannon O’Brien – former MA State Treasurer, ran for governorship and lost against Romney in 2002.
Hillary Clinton – former First Lady and Senator from NY, ran for President in 2008 and lost to Barack Obama in the primaries.
Martha Coakley – AG of MA, ran for Senate in 2009-2010, lost to Republican Scott Brown.
The issue: How are women blamed for running bad campaigns? Is it because they are not likable?
The problem: The women listed above are blamed for running bad campaigns because they ran bad campaigns (although, I will not speak for Shannon on this issue). Clinton and Coakley ran horrific campaigns – wasting money and time that could have been used to win. Yeah, politicos also argue that these two had problems with the likability factor. But seriously, campaigns mean everything (unless you’re one of those political scientists that assumes that it’s all decided even before the election begins). These two ran bad campaigns and they were not likable – two strikes.
I think it’s a stretch to say that because they were women they were not likable and therefore lost. Women have come a long way in the political arena and while we still have a longer way to go (more Senate seats, more governorships, more justiceships, the presidency), putting ourselves down by deeming likability as the reason we lost is not going to help us gain credibility.
Filed under: BU for Barack, Campaigning, Democratic Nomination 2008, Election 2008, President Obama, Voters, Youth Vote
From FM (in full because it’s so good!):
Those of us in the progressive youth movement have been talking about the importance of young voter outreach for a long time now. We tried to drive home the point that young voters are not apathetic, but disengaged due to that self-fulfilling prophecy of traditional campaign ‘wisdom.’ Youth political organizations kept succeeding, increasing youth turnout in 2004 and 2006. David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Barack Obama eschewed tradition by deciding from the beginning that organizing young voters to expand the electorate would be the key to victory.
“One of [Paul] Tewes’s ideas was to make sure we were working every community, no matter how small. African American, Latino, high school kids, Republicans–we had staff assigned to all of the demographics, months ahead of our competition.” The Obama campaign began by working hard to turn out the potential voters that traditional campaigns write off. While critics of the youth vote claim that 2008 was a fluke and just about Obama, it is clear that the campaign worked hard to organize youth that had never been asked for their vote by a campaign. The campaign knew that they “would win Iowa only on the backs of independents, Republicans, young voters, and new registrants–a scary proposition, to say the least.”
The campaign was able to look at the election through the lens of a young voter. “At least 95 percent of our six thousand employees were under the age of thirty, most under the age of twenty-five.” While it is not uncommon for a lot of campaign staff to be young, what was exceptional about the Obama campaign was the respect for them and the willingness to trust their instincts on what was happening on the ground.
We adjusted accordingly, adding more media and Internet advertising geared exclusively to younger voters; we prepared to do a lot more instructional and informative work with our supporters so they knew how to caucus, while trying not to spook them; and we redoubled our efforts to attract support from conventional caucus Democrats so our newbies in certain precincts were matched with some grizzled veterans.
The campaign invested in “advertising specifically geared toward women, seniors, and younger voters, African Americans and Latinos.” The messaging of the youth advertising reflected an understanding of the generation: “spots for those under thirty were very aspirational, a call to action, focusing on issues like Iraq and the environment, and calling on younger voters to get involved in shaping the future.” Young voters, used to being ignored, were finally being engaged by a campaign with the same effort and respect showed to seniors.
The Obama campaign conceived of and executed a strategy to expand the electorate by registering and turning out young voters and other traditionally underrepresented demographics. Here are a few passages from The Audacity to Win on how this strategy became a winning one:
As the returns came in we could see the traces of our strategy’s design: by registering over one hundred thousand new voters, producing strong turnout among African Americans and young voters, and winning college-educated whites thanks to our stand against the gas tax, we had made ourselves unbeatable in North Carolina.
We registered many thousands of new voters in both states, and these voters participated at high rates, defying the conventional view that new registrants turn out in very low numbers. A strong showing from African Americans and younger voters might put both these states in play in the general election.
If we did not register enough African Americans and young voters in North Carolina and then turn them out on Election Day, we could not win. Facing a traditional electorate meant we shouldn’t even bother with a state like North Carolina, no matter how much money we spent.
By focusing their attention on young voters and actually spending resources on research, the campaign learned new things about new and young voters. An example was when their numbers showed that they were not meeting their initial goals for youth early voting:
First, many young voters were so excited by this election that they couldn’t envision doing anything besides voting for Barack Obama in person at the polling location. When we raised with them the possibility of long lines, or the potential to free themselves up to volunteer, they simply wouldn’t budge. This was a big moment for them and they felt it would seem bigger if they voted at the polls. In any case, they were still dead-set on participating, which relieved us.
The second lesson was that there was still some confusion about who was eligible to vote early and how it worked. Armed with these findings, we made sure our communications to younger voters included even more remedial information about the nuts and bolts of early voting. Soon enough, their numbers began to climb. In many states we lowered our expectations for the under-twenty-five early vote (but not for overall turnout), and we eventually hit those numbers in most battlegrounds.
Republicans have spent a lot of effort in previous campaigns spreading misinformation to young voters about such things as early voting, residency, and registration. By putting in the effort to combat that misinformation, the campaign was able to empower and turn out voters who were unsure of the sometimes complex election laws.
As we now know, this strategy of reaching out to young voters paid off, despite the naysayers from the media and the old school political establishment:
Our base–African Americans, sporadic-voting Democrats, and younger voters–was turning out in larger numbers than McCain’s base in most states.
The share of the electorate over sixty-five actually dropped between 2004 and 2008, not because fewer older voters turned out but because younger ones showed up in droves.
Because the Obama campaign was committed to putting effort and resources in registering and turning out young voters, treating them with the same respect as other demographics, they were able to build on the work done by youth organizations since 2000 to culminate with those voters carrying Obama to victory and the presidency. However, culminate may not be the appropriate word. The work in further expanding the electorate by turning out young voters to elect Democrats is far from over. There is more potential for the Millennial generation to not only expand the electorate in an election, but to fundamentally alter the country for the better.
I’ll leave you with David Plouffe’s words on our generation:
I left the campaign extraordinarily confident about the future of the country, because of the talent and drive of the young men and women who made our victory possible. Certainly, we would not have won the primary or the general without a surging youth turnout in any number of states, Iowa most importantly. But their impact on the election goes beyond casting ballots. Most of our staff was under thirty, many of them were under twenty-five, as were a sizable chunk of our most active volunteers. As I witnessed, sometimes in awe, their performance and desire to look beyond themselves and contribute to a better world (and they have a distinctly global outlook) it gave me extreme comfort to know that in the not so distant future they will be taking the reins and leading our companies, campaigns, and institutions. For my generation, the rocking chair beckons–these kids are that good. I can’t wait to experience their leadership and vision in the years to come.
At Netroots Nation:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14TH 4:30 PM – 5:45 PMPANEL, 301/302
Every four decades, America’s demand for change puts in motion a political realignment or makeover. Like all others before it, this realignment results from the coming of age of a new generation of young Americans and the emergence of new online organizing tools. Almost everything about American politics and government—voting patterns, the fortunes of the two political parties, the issues that engage the nation, and our government and its public policy—will change because of these two forces. This panel will feature presentations by Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, and Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, co-authors of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, You Tube, and the Future of American Politics.” Rosenberg will discuss the parameters and implications of this “Dawn of a New Politics” in America, and Winograd and Hais will detail the contours and causes of the country’s five previous political realignments. This panel will examine the impact the Millennial Makeover has on the elections, issues, and public policies that will characterize America’s government and politics in the decades ahead.
Are the Democrats gain? Possibly – do we have a realignment on our hand?
Take a look at what Gallup‘s recent poll says and make your own conclusions:
And those Millennials that I am so obsessed with:
As was shown earlier, the GOP’s loss in leaned support over this time is evident among nearly every subgroup. The losses are substantial among college graduates, which have shown a decline in GOP support of 10 points. (The losses are even greater — 13 points — among the subset of college graduates with postgraduate educations.) This may reflect in part Barack Obama’s strong appeal to educated voters, a major component of his winning coalitions in both the Democratic primaries and the general election.
The Student Voter Act was reintroduced in the House today – the same day as the official start of SAPP, we’ll take this as a good sign.
Here’s SAVE’s press release:
Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, and Steven LaTourette, R-OH, along with the Student Association for Voter Empowerment and distinguished guests will hold a press conference to discuss the impact this legislation will have to expand the right to vote to more Americans…
Barriers in the voter registration process are the most commonly cited reason that young people (18-29 years old) do not participate in elections. According to a study by CIRCLE, a combined 32% of 18-29 year olds did not vote because of uncertainties, confusion, or difficulties in registering. Similarly, a report from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics noted that nonvoting youth are “more likely [than any other group] to cite registration mistakes or a lack of registration knowledge as a reason why they did not vote.”
In response to the current problems with voter registration, The legislation will require all colleges and universities that receive federal funds to provide their students with an opportunity to register to vote as they enroll in classes. The Student VOTER Act builds off the successful model of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and like Department of Motor Vehicles, will designate colleges as “voter registration agencies.
Here’s what the bill does:
Student Voter Opportunity To Encourage Registration Act of 2008 or the Student VOTER Act of 2008 – Amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require states to designate federally-funded institutions of higher education as agencies for the registration of voters in federal elections. Requires such schools to provide mail voter registration application forms to students registering to enroll in their courses.
Do you have any ideas about how to increase voter registration on college campuses? – Make a comment, let me know!
So the NYT ran an article called “Generation OMG” a couple of days ago.
Here’s my favorite part:
So while today’s high school and college students will be the ones creating the new public agencies and Internet infrastructures, Mr. Howe predicts, those who follow “will come of age wanting to participate in a system they trust and take for granted” — the next Silent Generation.
A distinction made between us Millennials (of which my littlest brother is either right on the cusp of or not even in, where as Aaron and I and the rest of our peers are solidly in) and the generation younger than us is striking. I’ve noticed that there is something different between my peers and the kids that I babysit for.
This recession / depression will only further this distinction. Most of the Millennials are now 18 or older – we, like Strauss and Howe predicted will change the world because of the time that we came of age – terrorism, 9/11, war, recession. The younger generation, they’re the next Silent Gen.
Via FM (like I’ve said before, the lifesaver for my work for distinction).
Upon opening this site… “Whoa” was my response.
James Carville is writing a new book about the changing demographics of the Democratic party – aka the incoming Millennials
The book — whose title is “40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation” — is largely a tract about how demographic shifts portend a lasting Democratic ascendancy, Carville said. But Carville — a longtime close friend of both Clintons — offered some tantalizing hints about other parts of the book, confirming that he’d also delve into sensitive aspects of the Hillary campaign.
Hurrah! More research for my thesis! And from James Carville no less – circa 1992 hott, circa 2009 not!
This election has done wonders for my thesis, as was expected.
While the final numbers have still yet to be complied and while more analysis still needs to be done with the politicos higher up in scheme of things that me, it is certainly clear that we came through and did it.
Don’t let anyone tell you that “you didn’t come out in force as was expected”. We did and we did it for one man in particular. This alone, our 2/3rds split towards the Democratic ticket does wonders. We are going to drive this nation towards change- a progressively-centered change – as one of the largest voting blocs this nation has ever seen.
Why does this matter? Where was the youth vote significantly felt during the 2008 election? Let one little Russert explain:
In swing states, the youth turnout greatly helped Barack Obama beat John McCain. Latino youth went for Obama 76%-19%, showing that Democrats have firmly entrenched themselves with the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc. And Obama’s margin of victory in the 18-29 demographic was astronomical (66%-32%), and suggests that the Millennial generation is convinced by the policies and direction of the Democratic Party.
Only one more to go, I can only imagine what 2012 will hold.