Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Voting is for old people

It's an open secret that ingrained politicians, particularly incumbent Republicans, do not like high voter turnout. The nation got to see how black and Jewish voters were targeted as people to ease off the rolls or not to count at all last election. This election, it's all about the young people.
I realize this is part of a larger campaign of laser-like targeting of extremely small voter groups and trying to get some out (Jesus freaks) and some in (college freshmen), but that will be effective in a tight election. But targeting young people and discouraging them from voting might be a particularly effective for keeping Republicans in power for a longer time. Poll after poll shows that the young are not falling for the cultural conservatism crap, for one thing, and those are attitudes that are unlikely to change. And it's becoming harder and harder for the Republicans to get a foothold with young men, as the traditional lure of woman-fear isn't working so well anymore.
But more importantly, this war is on the brink of energizing the youth vote. My guess is that young people are most likely to be the ones switching their votes away from Bush once they realize that it's their generation that will be paying for this war, not just with their taxes like everyone else but with their lives. So, in a way, a push against youth voting is really to be expected.
The thing that worries me is this--in the Vietnam era, youth had to be disenfranchised to keep the military overseas just like now. But back then they only knew one way to disenfranchise a vote--by the force of law. Age limits set at 21, armed teardowns of protests, we all know what happened. And it backfired big time. So while force will be used, it will be subtle, like these "confusions" about where exactly young people get to vote. (This "confusion" thing sounds like utter bullshit. There were people registering us to vote as we walked into my dorm. Did everyone lose their minds in less than a decade?)
Instead, young people will be discouraged through stuff like this. It wasn't just racism that caused the bizarre outpouring of fake conservative rage against Outkast's support of John Kerry; it was the fact that things like that might actually prove to be effective in keeping young people interested in politics. They need politics to seem like Codgerville.
My suggestion is to keep up recruiting popular musicians and MTV. Yes, some of us stupid hipsters will roll our eyes but at least it will get youthful attention. And once that attention is there, speak to them directly. Luckily, Kerry is catching onto that by talking up college tuition plans. We can't be discouraging to his plan of action. Young people may not be a huge voting block (yet), but in a close election college kids may swing it.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home