Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Indepen-Dunce Week: We're The Kids In America

The big question in November is if the record number of voters under 30 that powered Democrats to wins in 2018 and 2020 will bother even showing up in 2022, and they demand that Biden and the Democratic leadership be as passionate about defending abortion rights as they are, or else they will stay home and the country over to the GOP.

A debate is raging inside the Democratic Party about whether it’s giving its base — especially those under 30, the generation that most strongly supports abortion rights — enough motivation to keep voting for the party, as federal Democrats struggle to meaningfully push back against the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The fear is that an already deflated Democratic base won’t show up in November, particularly the youngest voters, who smashed participation records in the last two elections and backed President Joe Biden by a 25-point margin in 2020. Some Democrats stress that the Biden administration and Congress need to do more to show their rage — and willingness to take significant action — to mirror the passion seen among young people, three-quarters of whom support abortion being generally legal.

“There’s a fine line between the recent events pushing someone to never vote again or pushing someone to vote with that righteous anger and bring friends with them,” said Maxwell Frost, a 25-year-old Democrat who is running for a Florida congressional seat. “It’s up to our leaders to decide which direction that’s going to go in. When they show they’re in the fight, using all the resources to fight for the most vulnerable in our community … but we need more right now.”

That sentiment was echoed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted that Democrats “cannot make promises, hector people to vote, and then refuse to use our full power,” ticking through a list of potential actions the party could take, including moving to expand the Supreme Court, opening abortion clinics on federal lands and repealing the Hyde Amendment.

Days later, Vice President Kamala Harris pushed back on that frustration in front of a room full of donors, defending Biden’s urging to vote in November: “I know some people are saying, ‘stop talking to us about the elections. We know.’ Don’t trivialize the significance. We can’t afford to,” because Democrats’ margins in Congress are razor-thin.

A big step in defusing the disagreement came when Biden confirmed last week that he would support a carveout to the Senate filibuster rules in order to codify in federal law the same access to abortion that was previously protected by Roe v. Wade. That move was a “step in the right direction,” said Carmel Pryor, senior communications director of the Alliance for Youth Action.

“However, ensuring momentum in the fight for control of Congress requires more action,” Pryor continued. “There’s a lot of talk about Roe strengthening the multigenerational coalition and, sure, there’s potential, but we need to see action taken now. This is an emergency that can’t wait until November.”

To be clear, the chances of a filibuster exception actually coming to pass are slim. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) both indicated they don’t plan on backing such a carveout.

Even so, Democrats said this kind of “political theater” is what voters, especially Gen Z, need to see to “value signal” that they’re “willing to fight for them,” said Terrance Woodbury, a Democratic pollster. He cited Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to bus migrants from the Texas border to Washington, D.C., in the absence of federal action on immigration, calling it an example of a vivid action that effectively riles up the Republican base. Democrats, Woodbury continued, could be considering their own version of such attention-grabbing actions now.

“Can you imagine seeing hundreds of mobile clinics deployed from Washington to [the] states?” Woodbury added.

Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist who focuses on Latino voters, a demographic group that skews far younger than most racial groups, echoed those concerns, noting that he’s “found in focus groups that just saying, ‘[I’m] fighting for it,’ is not enough any more.”

“They are tired of us saying, ‘we’re fighting,’ but not delivering shit. What can you do tangibly to make a difference to do something about this?” Rocha continued. “We are good at bringing a policy book to a fist fight, and I worry about young people not showing up to vote because of it.
If there is anything that the "DO SOMETHING" kids have learned from the GOP, it's that those who are willing to burn down the country in order to play the long game usually end up winning, no matter how many folks get hurt in the process. If you're 25, you figure you have time to wait out the 70+ something Dem leadership and the 70+ something Republicans and then take over when they're gone.

They figure they have time for a 20+ year fight on civil rights, abortion, and climate change, but sacrifices have to me made. The article basically asks if these kids are already so cynical that they're willing to let the GOP go literally scorched earth for the rest of the decade, and then try to fight them when they can gather a coalition of survivors.

It sure looks like it. If AOC's performative, legislation-free approach is what under-30 voters demand, and that they won't lift a finger otherwise at the voting booth, then maybe it's time for a dog and pony show to rally the troops.

If everything Biden tries from an executive order standpoint is immediately shot down by the Roberts Court, and it will be, the Biden White House still has to, you know, try, is the argument.

Is it better to go down swinging, even if you keep hitting foul balls into the crowd and take a few folks in the crowd out and that's the best you can hope for?

I don't know. All I know is I still plan on voting, in a red state without abortion, in order to try to change things. Maybe that's the real foul ball analogy, swinging in the vain hope you connect and hit a home run, but at long as I get a chance at the plate every November, I'm taking it.

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