Friday, January 11, 2008

The Growing Significance of the Youth Voting Bloc...

...and the Republican Party's disregard for it.

A memo has been circulating amongst Republican National Committee officials. Its subject is the voting trends of young people. Unfortunately, the data indicates that my generation is moving in alarming numbers towards candidates from the Democratic Party.

  • A total number of 65,230 individuals between the ages of 17 (rules in Iowa state that you only have to be 18 by the date of the national presidential election to vote) and 29 participated in the Iowa caucuses. From that number, over 52,000 caucused on behalf of Democratic Party candidates!

  • 37% of the voters in the New Hampshire primary were under the age of 29. This is a significant percentage. Unfortunately, 61% of those individuals voted for a Democratic candidate.

(All numbers via Tech Republican)

Young people undoubtedly decided the winners in both New Hampshire and Iowa!

Discourse could be held endlessly concerning why these noteworthy trends continue to express themselves. My knee-jerk reaction, as a member of the demographic in focus, would be this: my generation responds well and actively to passion, rhetoric, and well-tuned speeches. Like youth movements of the past, suggested “change” (as manifested historically in “counter culture,” “revolution,” etc) motivates mass support. On the other hand, tough policy discussion with less entertainment value finds deaf ears among my peers.

However, these are all insignificant details in comparison to the single largest deterrent prohibiting young people from endorsing Republicans. The G.O.P. doesn’t attempt to engage the youth movement!!

Something can be done to counter these trends. I do all I can. I have interested my friends in politics. They watch the debates. They are informed participants. By showing them how to become informed, I have noticed that they cease their support for the candidates of empty rhetoric.

My observations have proved that the key to swaying young people from the Democratic Party to Republicans is to get these young people truly informed on the stances of the candidates.

Coverage of the campaigns of the individuals from the two parties depicts mirror opposites. Republicans visit coffee shops and town diners. The Democrats are exciting university campuses and other hang-outs of young adults.

If our demographic is going to be taken seriously as a voting bloc (and the data suggest that it should), the candidates have to physically attempt to engage us.

Let’s bring the Republican candidates to university campuses! I encourage each Republican candidate to address student bodies, engage the youth movement personally, inform and, thus, gain the support of this hitherto inaccessible voting community.

In this effort, I am forwarding this message to every individual that I feel can be accommodating to this effort. I encourage you to do the same. A fraternity brother of mine sits on my university’s lecture committee. Most of us receive mailings from our preferred candidates’ national and local campaign committees. Contact the leaders of these forums and encourage them to bring their candidates to the young people.

Let’s engage all of these individuals and bring the candidates to the campuses. I will do my best to coordinate a speech by Senator Thompson prior to the January 29th Florida Republican primary. The coordination should not be difficult. The candidate desires to be heard and requires the support of the under-29 crowd to be successful. Campuses like the University of South Florida (with an enrollment greater than 40,000) are likely to be home to individuals prepared to listen.

What we can do is make this happen. What we can not do is continue to allow Republican candidates to bypass significant support that has been empirically shown to strongly influence the outcome of the early primaries!


membrain said...

You make an interesting point. (Ignoring youth is just one of many things being done badly in the Republican party) However historically, youth do not actually turn out to vote in signifigant numbers which may just nullify the exercise.

I'd be interested to know your success rate in getting your generation to tune in to Republican issues.

BrianFH said...

It'll never fly. University administrations and student councils won't permit slavering war-mongers to sully young minds.