Predict Some Gen-Y Questions to Dem Candidates on CNN/MTV's Rock the Vote Debate

Tonight, (11/4/03) CNN, in conjunction with that bastion of high-brow political debate, (otherwise known as MTV),will host a debate between 8 of the 9 Democrat Presidential Candidates in Boston.

According to the linked CNN article:
Hip-hop and R&B fans (28% of 18-29 year olds) Vote Democrat
Country and pop fans (27% of 18-29 year olds) Vote Republican
Rock fans (40% of 18-29 year olds) Are Independent Swing Voters

Even though I think those ‘findings’ are completely bogus, I got to thinking, What will the youngest generation ask the candidates tonight:

Hmm, let me think about this for a second[ul][li]Senator Edwards, Trojans or Lifestyles?[]Governor Dean, After the debate, can I have your autograph? Or better yet, will you sign my tits?[]Reverend Al, Where’d you get that cool Mercedes Benz emblem necklace? Where can I get me’s one?[]Senator Lieberman, A recent poll in Europe showed Israel is the greatest threat to world peace. Who are we to believe, a pro-Israeli Jewish Senator from Ct. or the more enlightened Europeans?[]Senator Kerry, What would you do to prevent another Enron debacle? Why can’t we just tax the corporations out of existence?[]Ambassador Moseley Braun, What would you, as President, inclued acne medication in your Naational Health Program?[]General Clark, Dude, what guarantee can you give me that I won’t be drafted by a President that hails from the military-industrial complex?Congressman Kucinich, As President, will you re-open the Blue Book files and confirm the existence of UFO’s.[/ul][/li]
Gephardt, to his credit, won’t be in attendance.

This reminds me of the MTV debate before the 1992 election, in which Bill Clinton wowed the audience by answering the question, “Do you wear boxers or briefs?” And played the sax.

There are bound to be questions about college loans and the job market, as well as the all-important “Britney or Christina?”

Yeah, how dare Democratic candidates try to reach out to young adult voters?! MTV might not be the most credible host, but at least they’re trying.

If the Democratic Party wants to get back in power, they need to appeal to eligible voters who don’t usually cast ballots. Including voters in the 18 to 29 age range. Although I vote faithfully, many of my peers don’t. And why should they, when the rhetoric focuses so heavily on Medicare and Social Security? It’s a nasty cycle–young people don’t vote, so candidates ignore them, so young people don’t vote.

In my experience, the issues that concern folks my age (mid-20s): Iraq, jobs, and health care. Not too different from the rest of the country. Plenty of young adults are worried about finding jobs, keeping jobs, etc.–much like older adults. And, among my friends who have jobs, most of those jobs don’t come with health benefits. I work full-time for a small non-profit and receive no benefits. Other friends work as waiters, gardeners, retail clerks, or are self-employed. Do we talk about health insurance among ourselves? You bet. I spend a good chunk of my take-home pay on insurance, and it hurts.

I’ve been looking around to see if there was a thread to discuss the forum (I wouldn’t call it a debate) last night. It was the first interaction with the candidates that I’ve seen, since I don’t watch much TV and have usually only found out about these things after the fact. I missed some significant chunks, but there were several open-ended questions, and here are the questions/topics that I recall (hugely paraphrased):

  • Position on gays in the military (directed to Wesley Clark)
  • War in Iraq.
  • GBLT rights in general.
  • Lots of questions at Dean about his Confederate flag comment.
  • Question about hunting (directed to John Kerry
  • PC or Mac? (to everyone)
  • Which other candidate would you party with?

IMO Al Sharpton, of who I’ve previously held a very negative opinion, was far and away the most interesting candidate to hear speak. John Kerry spent a lot of time attacking Howard Dean. Wesley Clark still seems pretty green. Carol Mosley Braun seemed like she’d make a nice aunt. Dennis Kucinich looked dressed for a gallery opening, and was a bit out there, but had the most refreshing ideas. Lieberman seemed liked the most rational. Edwards was the most telegenic. And Dean seemed a bit stiffer than I expected but generally stuck to his principles. The 30 second spots that they showed were generally a bit embarassing, like when big companies try and advertise in a “hip” way and don’t quite get it.

Sharpton took the hardest shots at the current administration, although Kucinich was close. They need someone out there with a little more name recognition to just continually question the Republican’s mean spirit, lack of ethics and outright lies, although Halliburton and other similar things were mentioned several times. All in all it was fairly high energy and the discourse was pretty civil.