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Old 03-04-2020, 09:04 AM
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Is Bernie's failure to get young people out to vote the fault of Bernie or young people?


One of the big takeaways from Super Tuesday is that, while turnout overall was higher than 2016, youth turnout was lower and this hit Bernie hard.

If Bernie had managed to turn out young people in the numbers he promised, then this would have been a blowout race for him and he would have solidified his role as the front runner and been well on his way to locking in the nomination.

My question is, as someone who isn't too familiar with the inner workings of his campaign, there are two equally plausible explaination to me for this:

1. Bernie is great at soaring rhetoric but is weak on the nuts and bolts tactical organizing required to mount an effective GOTV scheme.

2. An irresistible force met an immovable object and there's simply no degree of political circumstance that can motivate the youth to actually turn out and vote.

I've seen both being put forth in discussions but mostly as wild guesses with little empirical backing supporting them. Can anyone else shed light on how the above factors and others played into the youth turnout for Super Tuesday?
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:27 AM
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The youth in our household (youth = ages 18 - 23) voted, but only because we got on them like it was homework. We didn't tell them whom to vote for, but we did sit them down in front of the interwebs to research their choice. Once they got into even that superficial process they showed some interest and made a choice, filled out the ballot, etc. Colorado is a early/mail in state so there's really no excuse to not do it apart from inertia.

The reason the kids were disinterested at first is because politics and pretty much any official establishment to them is a "hurricane of fuckin' lies" they'd rather not grace with their attention. They don't naturally understand that the roar of the storm is made up of many millions of tiny voices just like theirs, and they really don't have a concept of just how different opinions can get. None of it makes sense, and none of it seems to want to make sense, so they prefer to just do their daily good deeds and hope that's enough to make the world a better place.

All the soaring rhetoric and energy in the world fall on deaf ears until potential voters see how they fit in to the election process, and the world that election process hopes to build. In that regard, politicians consistently and uniformly fail to reach young adults who are still prioritizing their lives and pondering how abstract and ungratifying (in the short term) things like voting fits into their worldview. They just see a big mess of ugliness they'd rather not feed.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:32 AM
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It's the kids.

Bernie was very popular among my daughter and her friends, but only Sophia bothered to actually vote (of those eligible to do so). And Sophia only went because I insisted.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:33 AM
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Its young people's fault, but its built into the nature of the system. Young people just don't vote as much as older people because they don't have the life experience to understand that civics is important.

Voter age and turnout

In presidential elections, youth turnout is generally in the 30-40% range while middle aged people are around 50-60%, and seniors are in the 60-70% range.

However, the youth voters of 1986 are the elderly voters of 2018.

This does worry me. Youth voter turnout is the main reason the democrats won so big in 2018.

https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...ations2018.png

No matter who is on the democratic ballot, if youth turnout isn't up in 2020 its going to be an uphill battle.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:43 AM
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Youth turnout was low because "Pickle Rick" Sanchez didn't promise Chicken Nuggets with Szechuan Sauce to everybody who voted.

I wish that was as much of a joke as I made it sound like it was.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:00 AM
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However, the youth voters of 1986 are the elderly voters of 2018.
Uh, they are in their 50s. Not exactly elderly.

But yeah, for the first time in a long time we had a mainstream candidate talking about their issues and they had the numbers to move the needle. Sorry kids, you lost your griping privileges.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:06 AM
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I don't know what Bernie could have done differently to get the youth vote to turn out. If he couldn't do it, I don't believe it's possible. If there is a secret formula for doing so, whoever discovers it will have a huge advantage. I personally voted in every election and primary since turning 18, but that is far from typical.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:15 AM
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Maybe it’s generational for the liberal leaning young people. I grew up with Reagan and Bush Sr. being the face of the system. That means I don’t have youthful memories of being disappointed in a Democratic president. On the other hand, the youngest voters today’s think of Obama as “the man” and thus may be less likely to be engaged in supporting his fellow Democrats.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:26 AM
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Young people.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:32 AM
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All the young people in our office voted in the primary, because it was mailed to their house. We are in Colorado. The people in our Texas office largely didn't vote at all in the young category. They all had to work and by the time they got off (5:15 PM) the lines were down the block, according to the teleconference call we just had. It was the Houston area.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:38 AM
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Back in 1969-70 I participated in rallies for passage of the 26th Amendment. It was ratified in time for the 1972 elections. 52% of eligible youth voted in that election, but after the novelty wore off, the youth vote dropped significantly. It was only 39% in 2016.

Take a look at the drop in the youth vote from 1992-1996 and 2008-2012. Clinton and Obama were the two most youth-appealing Presidents in my lifetime, and even they couldn't maintain passion.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:38 AM
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Young people.
It's always young people and I was no exception when I was young. Enthusiasm doesn't necessarily translate into concrete action and surges in the youth vote tend to be brief and taken in isolation, modest. I've been seeing people chatter about engaging the youth vote my entire life and it never pans out the way boosters hope. It's not insignificant of course and it should never be ignored. Every little bit helps.

But you can't rely on it.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:48 AM
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It's partly the young of course but it's also Bernie in that he is obviously very old himself and isn't entirely comfortable with woke identity politics. Someone like AOC would probably do a better job of attracting young voters though she would be weak with the rest of the population which ultimately matters more.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:57 AM
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Young people don't vote because they're still idealistic enough to hope for a genuinely good candidate. When you get older, you're more willing to settle for "least awful."
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:58 AM
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But the old, uncomfortable Bernie is the one who is polling best with younger voters. You can't start blaming that for turnout.

Basically, Bernie failed to do what most politicians fail to do. He just hitched more of his pitch on it.

Last edited by CarnalK; 03-04-2020 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:09 AM
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It's the Youtes. My son's g.f. was all meh, and my son was all, "no, this is important".
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:10 AM
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Its young people's fault, but its built into the nature of the system. Young people just don't vote as much as older people because they don't have the life experience to understand that civics is important.
I think you're on to something. I think it's mainly becaue to young people, a lot of the issues are abstract- politicians talking about capital gains taxes might as well be two people reciting lines from Aristophanes in the original Greek, because few young people have investments enough to even have capital gains in the first place. Same for a lot of other issues.

So it seems to me that what fires up the young are more abstract issues- inequality, environmental issues, etc... and the few that are pertinent, like student loans.

How you actually translate that into increased participation, I don't know. I've voted in every general election that I've been aware of since I was 18, but didn't start voting in primaries until I got to about 40, as I rarely had any particular affinity for either party, nor did I want to end up on their lists.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:14 AM
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Young people tend to be apathetic about politics and no matter how much talk of "revolution" happens I just think not enough are that motivated or true enough believers to vote. Most people young and old don't consume political grievance and just go about their daily lives. I suspect a portion of the population couldn't name the Vice President and that included old voters.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:14 AM
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I suspect there are events that could motivate very high youth turnout, but apparently this didn't qualify. A piece of this may be that voting isn't always and everywhere trivially easy -- for some it's essentially an all day chore, or several hours at least. But that's only a piece.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:23 AM
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The reason the kids were disinterested at first is because politics and pretty much any official establishment to them is a "hurricane of fuckin' lies"...
Well, I wouldn't exactly say they are wrong.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:28 AM
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I think you're on to something. I think it's mainly becaue to young people, a lot of the issues are abstract- politicians talking about capital gains taxes might as well be two people reciting lines from Aristophanes in the original Greek, because few young people have investments enough to even have capital gains in the first place. Same for a lot of other issues.

So it seems to me that what fires up the young are more abstract issues- inequality, environmental issues, etc... and the few that are pertinent, like student loans.

How you actually translate that into increased participation, I don't know. I've voted in every general election that I've been aware of since I was 18, but didn't start voting in primaries until I got to about 40, as I rarely had any particular affinity for either party, nor did I want to end up on their lists.
I don't think I voted until I was 25, and didn't start voting in primaries until I was around 30. I've consistently voted since then though. But I assume patterns like that are failry normal, it takes time to gain the life experience to understand civics is important, and understand how it affects you.

In my 20s I thought I was invincible. By my mid 30s I realized health care was deeply important and who won an election had a major effect on whether I could get health care or not.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:16 PM
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Well, I wouldn't exactly say they are wrong.
Indeed, the only argument you can really reach for after that is "Well, voting is about controlling who tells which lies that appall you least of all." If I'd known parenting was really a long-term sales gig I'd have been more careful.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:24 PM
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I suspect there are events that could motivate very high youth turnout, but apparently this didn't qualify. A piece of this may be that voting isn't always and everywhere trivially easy -- for some it's essentially an all day chore, or several hours at least. But that's only a piece.
Which events? Hell, I hear you can't even get them to turn up to a rave anymore.
Would be interesting to see comparative turnout rates in states that have legalized pot. Maybe Timothy Leary's message is experiencing a resurgence.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:32 PM
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Which events? Hell, I hear you can't even get them to turn up to a rave anymore.
Would be interesting to see comparative turnout rates in states that have legalized pot. Maybe Timothy Leary's message is experiencing a resurgence.
War and a draft, perhaps? Maybe legalizing pot (and I think it's nuts that the Democrats aren't campaigning on this, but obviously they're not consulting me). Maybe some degree of poverty and homelessness beyond the current levels.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:34 PM
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Itís just youth in general. No idea where I read it, but there was a line in a book on the 1972 McGovern campaign about two students walking through campus, there was an anti-War protest and then they passed by a building which had been Ďoccupiedí by student demonstrators for some cause, and they proceeded to their buddyís dorm to listen to Hendrix and smoke some weed.

As much as you hear about youth activism, it really only applies to a small minority.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:38 PM
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As much as you hear about youth activism, it really only applies to a small minority.
We should encourage such folks -- like the young Barack Obama, like AOC, and other passionate and talented potential future leaders of the party.

Right?
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:42 PM
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You forgot energetic! I thought you had your AOC description hot keyed.
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:25 PM
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You forgot energetic! I thought you had your AOC description hot keyed.
Can't leave that part out! Thank you sir!
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:51 PM
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13% of "young people" bothered to vote yesterday, yet so many are freaking out about what happens if the "young voter" isn't galvanized to vote if Bernie doesn't win.

My response: Guys, if the 'young voter' couldn't support Bernie yesterday in the semi-finals, why do you think they're going to support him in the Finals come November?
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:05 PM
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I think the problem is that voting isn't dramatic. You have to fill out some form to register. Then you drive to some building, you stand in line, you punch some buttons on a machine, and then you drive home. The most exciting part of the whole process is getting a sticker.

It doesn't appeal to people who want their politics to be exciting. They want to march in the streets and go to protest rallies. Or at least to argue with people online. That's the kind of political activity you can get worked up over.

Then they're shocked a few months later when the candidate that people quietly voted for somehow beat the candidate they loudly demonstrated for. It's almost like the volume of the passion wasn't taken into account.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:11 PM
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All the young people in our office voted in the primary, because it was mailed to their house. We are in Colorado. The people in our Texas office largely didn't vote at all in the young category. They all had to work and by the time they got off (5:15 PM) the lines were down the block, according to the teleconference call we just had. It was the Houston area.
This is pretty important stuff right here. Republicans who currently control narrowly red states (like Tejas) know what kind of small but legal impediments they need to place in the way of voters who go against them by large margins.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:14 PM
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My response: Guys, if the 'young voter' couldn't support Bernie yesterday in the semi-finals, why do you think they're going to support him in the Finals come November?
Yeah, I've been hearing noise about getting out the youth vote, and how important it is, etc... since I was one of the youth voters in the early 1990s.

And for the most part, it hasn't done a hill of beans worth of difference. And I suspect it won't in November either.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:23 PM
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It's the Youtes. My son's g.f. was all meh, and my son was all, "no, this is important".
Something significant to remember for whoever wins the nomination: there are a lot of people out there who donít see Trumpís regime as a big deal, and not all of them are or generally vote Republican.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:23 PM
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This is pretty important stuff right here. Republicans who currently control narrowly red states (like Tejas) know what kind of small but legal impediments they need to place in the way of voters who go against them by large margins.
That's nonsense. Polls are open from 7 am straight through until 7 pm, and are typically at nearby schools, churches or other civic facilities (I early voted at a library once).

And employers are required to give you up to 2 paid hours off to go vote on election days if you don't have two consecutive hours off already within the voting hours.

They could have gone in at 9 and voted early, or told their bosses that they had to go by 5, and their employer would have HAD to let them go or face a fine.

https://twc.texas.gov/news/efte/voting_time_off.html
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:38 PM
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In this 2004 thread, I posted the following about the collapse of the Dean campaign. The point is still valid in 2020.



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Dean is only the latest casualty of the old "we'll energize the young people, and they'll make a real difference in this election" canard. Gene McCarthy, George McGovern, John Anderson, and now Howard Dean have all found out the hard way that the 18-24 year old demographic in this country is the LEAST politically active group around. The few who ARE politically active tend to be very enthusiastic, which gives an exaggerated impression that the press picks up on, but when you comes right down to it, the bulk of the 18-24 year olds have other things on their minds...
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:53 PM
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That's nonsense. Polls are open from 7 am straight through until 7 pm, and are typically at nearby schools, churches or other civic facilities (I early voted at a library once).
I'm seeing reports of people waiting 3 to 6 hours in some places in Texas, linked to the strategic closing of hundreds of polls especially affecting minority areas

https://www.motherjones.com/politics...primary-lines/

There are probably a lot of reasons for poor youth voting in general, but I also suspect there is an additional element of disconnection from the idea of voting in primaries specifically.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:56 PM
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I think the problem is that voting isn't dramatic. You have to fill out some form to register. Then you drive to some building, you stand in line, you punch some buttons on a machine, and then you drive home. The most exciting part of the whole process is getting a sticker.

It doesn't appeal to people who want their politics to be exciting. They want to march in the streets and go to protest rallies. Or at least to argue with people online. That's the kind of political activity you can get worked up over.

Then they're shocked a few months later when the candidate that people quietly voted for somehow beat the candidate they loudly demonstrated for. It's almost like the volume of the passion wasn't taken into account.
There are some who think their vote should count more because itís an enthusiastic vote. It should be similar to Olympic diving where a Bernie vote gets a 1.7% score differential based on degree of enthusiasm.
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:54 PM
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That's nonsense. Polls are open from 7 am straight through until 7 pm, and are typically at nearby schools, churches or other civic facilities (I early voted at a library once).

And employers are required to give you up to 2 paid hours off to go vote on election days if you don't have two consecutive hours off already within the voting hours.

They could have gone in at 9 and voted early, or told their bosses that they had to go by 5, and their employer would have HAD to let them go or face a fine.

https://twc.texas.gov/news/efte/voting_time_off.html
I don't know the schedule that they work down there, other than they are on 10 hour days. We all did the "Election day was yesterday, did everyone vote?" thing on the conference call. They said that some went and stood in the line and didn't get through, and that the lines were long and they didn't get out of there until 5:15 or so. Take that for whatever you want. It didn't sound like anyone there got to vote for whatever reason. It would have been in somewhere in Harris county in Texas. I know a lot of them live pretty far away, so I don't know if that means that they couldn't vote in the area where they were working. I want to say that some live in different counties.
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:56 PM
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I'm seeing reports of people waiting 3 to 6 hours in some places in Texas, linked to the strategic closing of hundreds of polls especially affecting minority areas

https://www.motherjones.com/politics...primary-lines/

There are probably a lot of reasons for poor youth voting in general, but I also suspect there is an additional element of disconnection from the idea of voting in primaries specifically.
Thats the county, I didn't catch it before. Holy shit that one guy waited 7 hours to vote? What the fuck is that?

I am so glad my ballots come in the mail.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:02 PM
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I'm seeing reports of people waiting 3 to 6 hours in some places in Texas, linked to the strategic closing of hundreds of polls especially affecting minority areas
I think the Democrats should make voting rights a very high priority if they win power in the upcoming election. And that means we have to play the game by the rules the Republicans have set up in order to have the power to change those rules. It's not fair but refusing to play won't fix the problem.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:07 PM
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Young people. However, banking on young people voting and setting your strategy accordingly is definitely Bernie's fault.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:27 PM
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13% of "young people" bothered to vote yesterday, yet so many are freaking out about what happens if the "young voter" isn't galvanized to vote if Bernie doesn't win.

My response: Guys, if the 'young voter' couldn't support Bernie yesterday in the semi-finals, why do you think they're going to support him in the Finals come November?
The primary is not the general. Not voting in one does not presage not voting in the other.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:30 PM
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That's nonsense. Polls are open from 7 am straight through until 7 pm, and are typically at nearby schools, churches or other civic facilities (I early voted at a library once).

And employers are required to give you up to 2 paid hours off to go vote on election days if you don't have two consecutive hours off already within the voting hours.

They could have gone in at 9 and voted early, or told their bosses that they had to go by 5, and their employer would have HAD to let them go or face a fine.

https://twc.texas.gov/news/efte/voting_time_off.html
Yeah, and were they being told that by the Texas Democratic Party? Even knowing that, would they be willing to risk being disciplined or fired by an employer that doesn't care?
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:39 PM
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This tweet from a crybaby Bernie Bro sums up perfectly why they donít vote. ĎVoting is hard, waaaahhh!

https://twitter.com/paco_jrmr/status...146945031?s=21
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:41 PM
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I think the Democrats should make voting rights a very high priority if they win power in the upcoming election. And that means we have to play the game by the rules the Republicans have set up in order to have the power to change those rules. It's not fair but refusing to play won't fix the problem.
Hard agree; as Buttigieg would say "it's the issue that affects every other issue."

Generally, while I wouldn't say I "blame" Sanders, the Super Tuesday turnout is a pretty big deal - a big part of his pitch to Democrats is that he can turn out the youth vote. If he's no better than everyone else it absolutely hurts his electability.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:44 PM
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This tweet from a crybaby Bernie Bro sums up perfectly why they donít vote. ĎVoting is hard, waaaahhh!

https://twitter.com/paco_jrmr/status...146945031?s=21
Finding random strangers on twitter to mock is an interesting hobby! Is it more fun when they're struggling young minorities?
  #47  
Old 03-04-2020, 04:53 PM
frognot is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I think the problem is that voting isn't dramatic. You have to fill out some form to register. Then you drive to some building, you stand in line, you punch some buttons on a machine, and then you drive home. The most exciting part of the whole process is getting a sticker.
This is the problem. Let them vote online and their numbers will soar.
  #48  
Old 03-04-2020, 05:06 PM
dalej42 is offline
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Finding random strangers on twitter to mock is an interesting hobby! Is it more fun when they're struggling young minorities?
Random stranger? You mean a mutual Twitter follower?
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  #49  
Old 03-04-2020, 05:07 PM
John Bredin is online now
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Originally Posted by frognot View Post
This is the problem. Let them vote online and their numbers will soar.
You're not plugged into the zeitgeist: voting should be as low-tech as humanly possible, no computers involved at all, strictly pen and paper no matter how many races, questions, etc. are on the ballot or how many hundreds of thousands of votes must be counted.
  #50  
Old 03-04-2020, 05:36 PM
Kimera757 is offline
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I have to blame the potential young voters.

There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers, but more Boomers vote.

In the UK, young people heavily supported Remain, but Brexit won because fewer young people voted. Young people turned out to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 but not in 2019, so the Conservatives went from a slim minority to a huge majority. Quebec separatists are generally young (at least they were in 1995!), and separatists lost the last referendum because their supporters didn't turn out to vote.

The trope that "young people don't vote" is so pronounced that when said trope is averted, it's called a youthquake. Obama seems to have pulled that off twice (while much is made of his appeal to people of color, they're younger on average too). Twice in a row was enough to cause people to forget voting patterns and assume that the Democrats would always get the support of young people.

I have always been interested in politics but I used to vote only about half the time until six or so years ago. I used to work part-time, so it's not like I was too busy to vote. I also had no understanding of the economy. Getting a good job (with pension and benefits) really changes your outlook, and a lot of young people are struggling even to move out of their parents homes so they can rent.

A lot of this youthful enthusiasm seems to be based on social media echo chambers. "I'm a Bernie Bro but I didn't vote" probably comes up a lot. (Jeremy Corbyn made the mistake of investing heavily in social media, unaware that instead of extending his reach he was just talking to the converted.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by frognot View Post
This is the problem. Let them vote online and their numbers will soar.
Instead of flimsy accusations of fraud there would be actual fraud. "Putin... er, young people... voted for the Republicans this year. That was surprising."
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