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.
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.
Cross-posted at Roosevelt Institute at Boston University (RCN):
n 1993, the National Voter Registration Act (commonly known as the Motor Voter Law), was signed by President Clinton. The Motor Voter Law allow for voter registration to occur in a place where most Americans spend an ungodly amount of time waiting – the DMV.
The goal of the Motor Voter Law was to increase voter registration by allowing citizens to register to vote when they renew their licenses, apply for plates, or any other activity that takes them into the offices of the DMV.
However, one area where the NVRA has failed is in the registration of teenagers. Most teenagers in the US will troop down to the DMV to pick up their first driving license sometime around the ages of 16 and 17. Unfortunately, US law notes that citizens must be 18 years old to vote, and 18 years old at the time of the election in order to register to vote (effectively, one can register before he or she is 18 so long as during the upcoming election cycle, that voter will have turned 18 on or before election day). The Motor Voter Law, designed to make it easier for people to register to vote – does nothing to help the scores of teenagers receiving their licenses for the first time. The law does not apply to them. They do not qualify because they are too young.
California is currently working on changing the way their system works, following in the footsteps of states like Florida, Louisiana, and Hawaii. AB 30 – a bill that has been passed through the California legislature (on strictly partisan lines, all Democrats voting for, all Republicans voting against) – is currently sitting on the desk of Governor Schwarzenegger, waiting to be signed.
The bill allows 17-year-old to preregister to vote at the DMV at they time they get their license. This preregistration will ensure that all new teen drivers will have the opportunity to fully use the resources of the DMV (that have been provided with federal funds through the Motor Voter Law) to register to vote while receiving their license and be able to vote in their first election once they turn 18 without having to worry about trooping down to town hall to fill out the necessary forms.
AB 30 and similar plans already in place in other states allow for the full application of the NVRA to all citizens using the DMV – young people, just like everyone else should be able to use the DMV’s voter registration resources to register to vote, even if they are doing so a year or two before the election in which they will actually vote. The NVRA was designed to make the process of registering to vote easier – except, state law and procedures exclude many teenagers from pre-registering, effectively excluding them being able to register at the DMV. California should pass this law and other states should follow suit. Young people are the voices of the future- isn’t it important to get them involved in politics at a young age, so that they can begin to exercise their right to vote?
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.
We all know that Alex first called it- way back when during primary season. But here’s his latest update:
Understanding the Historical MomentWatching Obama’s appearance on PBS News Hour last night, I got the sense once again that Obama very clearly understand the moment he finds himself in. Once every generation or so, events conspire to open the American people, and by extension the American political system, up to change. Throughout the 2007 and 2008 campaign, I argued that Obama understood that we were living through one of those rare moments in which a true political realignment was possible. Now that he’s in office, I’m thrilled to see he’s making the argument much more explicit. From the interview:
I think that we are at an extraordinary moment that is full of peril but full of possibility and I think that’s the time you want to be president. I think there’s a sense that right now we are having to make some very big decisions that will help determine the direction of this country – and in ways large and small the direction of the world – for the next generation. And I won’t lie to you. I wish that they weren’t all having to be made at once. It would nice to be able to stage them on one another…
I meant what I said in my joint address to Congress. I think that there’s – there’s something about this country where hard times, big challenges bring out the best in us. This is when the political system starts to move effectively. This is when people start getting out of the petty and the trivial debates. This is when the public starts paying attention in ways that they – you know, when things are going well, you know, they’ve got better things to do than to think about public policy, you know. So I am – I am invigorated by the challenges.If I was thrilled by that last night, I’m absolutely overjoyed by this today:
Its not quite FDR’s second nomination acceptance speech, but its definitely moving in that direction:
For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me‹and I welcome their hatred.
I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.In a moment where Americans are demanding change, nothing is more powerful than successfully painting your opposition as agents of the status quo. Nothing. And fortunately, Obama is going to get a serious assist on this one…
Damon Linker sees it:
…will the country really stick with Obama as he attempts to enact his stunningly ambitious agenda? They just might. But not because the 44th president has reawakened the liberalism that’s been slumbering in their souls since the summer of 1968. As National Review’s Rich Lowry noted in a brief post last week, Obama is defending his agenda not in ideological but in pragmatic terms — saying, in effect, “Hey, I’m not a big-government guy; it’s just that the Republicans made such a wreck of the place that I have no choice but to do some big things to clean up the mess.” And as Lowry recognizes, that’s an argument that just might just persuade the American people to go along for the ride, shifting the political spectrum to the left for a generation, while also managing at long last to bury Reaganite conservatism.
Welcome to the realignment.
I saw it coming.
Filed under: Voters
A very interesting article by James Q. Wilson on the relationship between family inherited genes and political views – the are not-surprising, correlated. But the question remains, to what extent? Further, how much does individual family environment or even the differences of being a social liberal and an economic conservative correlate between this inheritance.
Maybe an interesting topic for a dissertation?
As HuffPuff reports, via the New York Daily News, Ann Coulter is currently under investigation by the CT State Elections Enforcement Commission for vote fraud.
Apparently, the Republican voted in CT while registered in NYC – obviously apparently illegal, but needs to be proven.
Interesting how I will start an internship at the SEEC at the beginning of May. Very interesting.
A system of automatic voter registration should contain five components:
Affirmative registration - States automatically or affirmatively add people to registration rolls. Similar to the selective service, upon reaching the age of registration, the state will automatically add any eligible citizen to the voter rolls and notify him or her. (He or she can opt out if so chosen)
Permanence - Once a voter is on the rolls, s/he will remain permanently on the rolls even if s/he moves. (Currently, a voter must re-register every time s/he moves, even if it’s just across town.)
Failsafe – The system should include an Election Day registration component so that eligible voters mistakenly left off the rolls can register and vote on that same day.
Funding – Sufficient money must be appropriated and allocated to states taking steps to implement this system.
Pre-Registration - Include a system whereby eligible 16-17-year-olds may be “pre-registered” to vote. This would bring young people into the voter registration system before they leave public school to begin work or college and are more difficult to track down. Upon turning 18, they would receive a notice they had been added to the voter registration rolls.
This is what Rock the Vote thinks needs to be done to get more Americans registered to vote and to make the whole voter registration process simpler. I agree. Vote for this issue on Change.org.
Ambers notes something that many political science majors like myself learned in PO101:
Alan Gerber and Donald Green, Yale profs who study turnout, have written that robocalls “might help you to stretch your resources in ways that allow you to contact the maximum number of people, but don’t expect to move them very much, if at all.”
Generic robocalls — those not targeted at specific constituencies — are worse.
Do you know what’s been quantitatively proven as better than robocalls. Phone banking calls where voters call fellow voters to encourage them to vote for a select candidate or issue. And do you know what else? Canvassing is even better. Out of 12 undecided voters that a canvasser talks to (that’s a out of 12 contacts, not 12 knocks, slackers!), at least one will decided to vote for your candidate.
Sound good to you? Want to help get Barack Obama elected? Need some activities to do so? Come join BU for Barack in phonebanking and canvassing activities this next week:
Phonebanking on Tuesday from 5-9: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=39672762118
Canvassing in NH on Saturday from 9-5: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=14081909945
Canvassing in NH on Sunday from 9-5: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=39804933798
Please come help us out. Just one day. Just a couple of hours. It will make a huge difference. Become a part of a great group of students here at BU. Meet some friends for life. Have fun and change the world in the process.
Dual political socialization:
Our parents political socialized us towards a certain political party.
However, in this election, many young adults have been convincing their parents to vote for the Democratic ticket. Why?
This is a process of duel political socialization. We are socializing our parents, incorporating the racist-free, individualistic, accepting, and fearful era that we have grown up in.
This era has influenced us towards overwhelmingly supporting Barack Obama. We are now getting our parents to vote for him as well.
What will this mean for the future of American politics? Has this occurred in the past with other candidates that had strong youth followings?