It appears there is a potentially huge problem for Democrats going into the 2010 election cycle: young people simply are not voting. Part of Martha Coakley’s problem in Massachusetts was the incredibly low turnout among voters between 18-29. The findings of a Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement poll state:The optimist in me says we need to give the younger generation a reason to vote. All they have known is the post-1994 Republican Party of partisan stupidity, bigotry, hatred and racism. They reject it soundly. They are the embodiment of hope.
This was not a one-time event. Youth turnout in the 2009 gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey was similarly very low.About 15% of Massachusetts citizens between the ages of 18-29 turned out to vote.* For citizens age 30 and older, turnout was about 57%.
For comparison: 25% of young citizens (age 18-29) voted in the 2008 Massachusetts presidential primaries, and 47.8% of young Massachusetts citizens voted in the 2008 presidential elections, according to CIRCLE’s analysis. Seventy-eight percent of under-30 voters in Massachusetts chose Barack Obama in the 2008 general election; 20% chose John McCain.
Of course, the cynic in me says all they have known of the Democratic Party is the spinleless losers who fail to get things done even with huge majorities, only to get crushed at the polls and leave us with the Republicans running the show. In the end, the greedy bad guys win, and the alternative is a bunch of losers. Why bother?
Here at 34, my entire adult political experience has been watching Clinton's '92 election in high school turn into a nightmare in college as the Republicans decimated them in 1994, six years of triangulation followed by impeachment, the dot-com bust, then Bush's stolen election, 9/11 and eight years of suck, and now Obama's Democrats are falling apart again after one year in power.
Literally any time anyone in my generation has seen a green shoot of political hope, it has been beaten with a sledgehammer and set on fire, then the ashes collected and rubbed into the wounds of puppies flayed open with strips of dead baby seal leather studded with broken glass.