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This time, they're REALLY going to vote. For real this time. Seriously.

Every election, the media breathlessly proclaims that this time, the youth are really, really going to matter. They're going to show up in record numbers! They're going to make a difference! And then, Election Day rolls around in November and... nothing.

But this year, this year!, it's going to be different. This year, "the youth" actually are going to vote!

Election after election, when all the obvious story lines are exhausted, the media tend to turn to an oldie but goody: "Will this be the race where young people finally start voting?" Youth vote advocates insist that young people are more dialed in than ever this year, while political hacks who have been in the business for decades roll their eyes at the notion.

Given that, The Fix recognizes the danger in making the following statement: The youth vote will matter in 2008. A look back over the last few months shows a massive increase in youth (people ages 18 through 29) voting; the number of young people voting quadrupled in Tennessee and tripled in states such as Iowa, Missouri and Texas, according to a new study by Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

The report goes on to say that the growth in young people's participation in the electoral process is not a "one-time phenomenon" but, rather, represents a "civic reawakening of a new generation."

A civic reawakening? Were 20-year-olds "awake" to politics before and somehow "fell asleep"? Um... ok. And, you know, there's the teensy problem of this poll being conducted with MTV's help, which automatically dampens the prospect of it becoming a reality.

Look, if "young people" vote, then that's fantastic. If they don't, then oh well. They aren't going to make or break elections, no matter how much the media fawns over them. Every election season its the same old song and dance, and it ain't a different tune this time around.

Hat Tip: E.M. Zanotti


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Comments (10)

IF they can get teanagers a... (Below threshold)

IF they can get teanagers and young adults to strongly commit politically, the chances they'll become a Democrat are greater and chances are a little better they'll stay a Democrat (or stay one longer).

I don't know about youth in... (Below threshold)

I don't know about youth in general but for college kids the idea of casting their first ballot for the progressive black candidate is a romantic proposition that will be hard to resist.

I expect it will affect sentient kids working the dayshift at FYE and Target the same way.

My oldest daughter and her ... (Below threshold)

My oldest daughter and her hubby, early/mid twenties, have voted every election they've legally been able to. My youngest daughter will turn 18 just in time to register to vote for the NOV election and can hardly wait to vote. For now, she'll be voting against Hillary or Obama. I'm trying to teach her about voting for only the truly conservative candidates, but the beatings don't seem to take.

Even if all the legal teens and 20 somethings vote responsibly, I don't think they would outweigh the combination of Middle agers and Baby Boomers.

Both of my kids (18 and 20)... (Below threshold)

Both of my kids (18 and 20) are voting this year, both are voting Republican which is interesting as their mom is a Democrat and their dad is a libertarian.

My 22 year old daughter, fa... (Below threshold)

My 22 year old daughter, fairly astute at most things in the world and mildly active in politics has never voted. Always seems to have a "good reason" to have forgotten.

My 19 year old son will vote for President for the first time. He has voted in a couple of local elections so far. He doesn't delve into the political arena much, but he is generally aware of the major issues and exercises his right.

I've never missed a vote since turning 18.

That's great, guys, but her... (Below threshold)
Scott in CA:

That's great, guys, but here in California we just saw a study that tracked voter turnout among age groups. It was in the SF Chron but I don't have the link here. The reality is among voters under 25, the average percentage voting is far less than 40%. Among voters over 60, it's above 70%. California's elections are dominated by white homeowners over 50.

I just don't buy that the "youth vote" is going to be any more important than it's been for the last 30 years.

And if Barry is not the nominee, you can kiss even more of the "youth" goodbye on election day.

Yep, we've been hearing thi... (Below threshold)

Yep, we've been hearing this nonsense about the youth vote for decades now.

Wasn't it screamin' Dean th... (Below threshold)

Wasn't it screamin' Dean that counted on all the youngin's voting for him after they coughed up so much cash (that he pissed away)?

How did that work out, I seem to remember come election day they all stayed home with their IPods and X-Boxes.

I turned 18 in 1971. The v... (Below threshold)

I turned 18 in 1971. The voting age dropped to 18 in time for the presidential election in 1972. Nixon won in a landslide. The "youth vote" exists. However, it does not exist for liberals until it goes for liberals.

Didn't Ronald Reagan win the youth vote in 1980?

I seem to remember a black ... (Below threshold)

I seem to remember a black female candidate running for my first vote on a Democratic ticket. I believe she garnered over 150 delegates to the convention. There's no way Obama even begins to meet the chutzpah and verve of Shirley Chisholm. She was a liberal democrat for sure, but bucked the system of good 'ol boys in the Congress and wasn't afraid to speak her mind.






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