Monday, April 28, 2014

Youth Vote: A Cheap Date

Nate Cohn writes this article in the April, 28 NYT’s Why the Democrats’ Turnout Problem Is Worst in NorthCarolina. The issue for Democrats is that young voters tend to sit out midterm elections. Sen. Kay Hagan is up for reelection this year and this situation is bad news for her. Hagan’s margin of victory in 2008 came from voters under the age of 30 — a voting bloc that gave her 71 percent of their vote that year. The Obama-mania of 2008 responsible for this turnout is long gone. Cohn makes this point and how it will be tough for Hagan to achieve these numbers with the youth vote this year.

Hagan is a Democrat, and like the GOP, these "state parties" are basically soft money conduits around individual campaign contribution limits. A party is supposed to be a group of likeminded people who pull others into the arena of elections. Instead, the two state parties cling to voting rules that push people away. And they use social media in accordance with their top-down group structures. It is an exclusive system that never follows up when constituencies like youth show up to vote.

Democrats have been doing this for too long. I recall the 1992 election with the big Rock The Vote effort that helped elect the Clinton / Gore ticket. There was a huge youth turnout and all the Democrats could do for this constituency was the Motor Voter Bill. My point is that there was no real effort to keep these voters engaged. The 1992 and 2010 midterms had a similar dynamic and, by what Cohn is reporting, we’re set to see it gain in 2014.

I am not a youth voter. I want a democracy for all ages. Part of making this happen is a willingness to abandon the two state parties for new forms of association. This is why I am interested in using new political social networking platforms. I want to associate with people who want to engage elections with new tools to challenge the current broken paradigm. This means advocating reforms and running candidates outside of the state party structure in 2014 and 2016. 

With the right tool, we can build a democracy for the ages.


  1. Too many people think the right tool has a trigger and a barrel attached... I agree the two party system is broken. Its hard to not be apathetic when the legislation passes that enables the super rich to give excessively grotesque amounts of money to campaigns. We are lost voices. The youth (which I guess I no longer am at 33 years old) have such a narrow scope on life and are so inundated with distractions that aren't of any value that it's hard to keep them engaged. This is the problem...the solution I don't know as of yet but I appreciate the dialogue to find it.

  2. The better tool in my opinion - is the guitar...or the microphone...or the drum - you and the other members of Nirvana reached my ears at age 11 (and still to this day your music does) and that message opened my mind to rebellion and freedom of thought. It was more powerful than any politician could have ever have been to me in my youth. Thank you for that. Perhaps it starts with getting the youth to express themselves through these mediums of art and expression and finding politicians who actually understand the importance of the arts to the human race and their capacity to emotionally connect to the experience of life vs. the abundance of lawyers and bankers that hold office now.