Youth Vote: The [dot] Org Boom (Beyond Obama)

Michael Connery of Future Majority and Youth To Power has been doing some slick posts over at Talking Points Memo‘s TPM Cafe:

Obama may not have clinched the nomination last night, but he continues to ride a wave of youth support. Last night young voters in Ohio chose him 61 to 35 percent over Sen. Clinton. In Texas, he won the youth vote 58 – 42 percent. The youth vote is up in every contest thus far – sometimes double, triple, and even quadruple the levels we saw in 2004.

He uses this as a launching pad to dissect the recent history of youth organizing (in a political sense).

On the whole, the organizations of the first stage of the [dot] Org Boom, as disparate as they were, had two things in common: they worked hard to push the idea that peer to peer organizing was the gold standard for reaching young voters; and they understood that culture was an ally and culturally relevant programming was the key to reaching previously apathetic/disenfranchised young people.

This is a big theme I’m seeing this year… and in a lot of ways its the kind of “well, DUH!” common sense that the political machines often lack. Recent reports from CIRCLE are showing that there’s a voting gap between young people in college and those who are out of school. At its heart its a social thing: if the people around you believe politics matter you are more likely to do the same.

Sometimes its just a simple matter of wanting to be in on the joke. How many people other there–young and old alike– get their news from John Stewart and Steven Colbert? How many work at staying up on the race just so they can keep up with the humor? [Ed. note: I know that’s how I started being interested in politics. I was 8 when I started watching Saturday Night Live.] That’s the social fabric coming into play… and if politics isn’t part of your culture, then you are far less likely to show up at the polls on election day.

Connery also breaks down the rise of the Millenials and the “Conservative Youth Factory” at Table for One this week.


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