Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

How The Democrats Can Reclaim The Youth Vote

By       Message Paul Rogat Loeb       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 3/10/10

Author 1894
Become a Fan
  (6 fans)
- Advertisement -

If the Democrats don't get the youth vote, they're toast. That happened in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, where young Obama voters stayed home in droves. It's an ugly conceivable future portended by a new Harvard poll that shows forty-one percent of young Republicans planning on voting in November, compared to 35 percent of young Democrats and 13 percent of independents. A recent Pew poll showed a similarly disturbing pattern: Young voters still prefer the Democrats, but their margin is slipping and their enthusiasm level is worse.

- Advertisement -

Some reasons and some solutions:

- Advertisement -

The Democrats need to tackle youth joblessness. They've passed important changes in student financial aid, like income-contingent loan repayment. Most students and recent students don't know about them, and they need to. But with youth unemployment at near-record levels, it's understandable that young men and women would feel angry and frustrated. If the Democrats want to keep this generation, they need to pass major jobs bills, probably through reconciliation, since the Republicans seem to be only too eager to leave young voters demoralized and unemployed. It would be nice if the Obama administration were leading on this more strongly, but since aren't leading strongly enough, the push to make jobs the top priority has to come from the grassroots. This happened in the 1930s under Roosevelt. Seventy-five years later, I can visit a Works Progress Administration-created library or go for a run on a Works Progress Administration-created boardwalk, and reap the benefits of programs that also gave millions of people desperately needed jobs. We need to make equivalent investments now, targeted at those who need jobs the most. It also wouldn't hurt to address the drastic lack of health insurance among all but the most affluent youth, and to avoid a further Afghan quagmire.

But we need more than specific programs and policies. We need to give people a renewed sense of why involvement matters. Absent a sense of how social change has occurred in the past and can again, it's tempting to give up when you've barely begun, all the more in an instant attention and instant gratification culture. Given that few of us know the stories of how previous citizen activists persisted and prevailed, it's understandable that many who were acting so passionately just over a year ago feel adrift and unable to make an impact. That's true of more experienced activists, but it's particularly true of those for whom the Obama campaign was first step into trying to create a more humane common future. Those of us who've been involved longer (including veteran youth activists) need to offer this perspective, to help those more recently involved avoid cynical resignation and withdrawal.

- Advertisement -

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time, and The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear,winner of the 2005 Nautilus Award for the best book on social change. See (more...)
 

Paul Rogat Loeb Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Republican War on Reality

The Election Needs You, Broken Heart and All

Life Lessons From a Dying Friend

Soul of a Citizen: What Cynicism Costs Us

Stop the Anonymous Hit Men: Make Shadowy Campaign Money the Issue

Letter to Obama from a Dying Friend