Apparently, the lessons learned by young people who voted in the 2008 presidential election have not been picked up by their younger brothers and sisters.
In 2004, Barack Obama claimed the presidency with 70 percent of first-time voters saying they had cast their ballots for him, according to The New York Times.
The Pew Research Center found that 66 percent of voters aged 30 and younger voted for Obama.
This bucked years of trends in which young people largely stayed home on Election Day.
Traditionally, the Baby Boomers and the AARP generation have made up the bulk of Americans exercising their democratic right to vote for the candidates of their choice.
The elderly, despite their physical infirmities or lack of transportation, somehow find ways to get to the voting booths while millions of mostly able-bodied young adults turn their attentions elsewhere.
Obama’s 2008 campaign resonated with young people in a way that previous campaigns did not.
Slate of slate of old white men versus other old white men just stirred up more feeling that the same old B.S. was being peddled.
However, not everyone who aspires to public office is as dynamically appealing as Obama. Still, the work of government goes on and not just at the federal level.
A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics finds that only 23 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 will cast ballots in this year’s midterm elections.
Of course, midterm elections generally have a much smaller percentage of the electorate going to the polls anyway.
Somehow the office of county court clerk doesn’t carry the glamour of the office of president of the United States.
In a society in which the cult of celebrity factor is as large as ever, that doesn’t bode well for local elections.
If young people are to have any clout in electoral politics, they have to continue voting in large numbers regardless of how mundane they consider the candidates or issues to be.
To dissect the Harvard poll further, those who self-identify as young conservatives are more likely to vote in the midterms than those who self-identify as young liberals.
Young whites are more likely to vote than young African-Americans or Hispanics. Young men are more likely to vote than young women.
Those who voted for Mitt Romney for president in 2012 are more likely to vote in the midterms than those who voted for Obama in 2012.
John Della Volpe, director of polling for the Harvard Institute of Politics, said in a statement that this year’s midterms represent the “lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000.”
If the interest young people showed in the democratic process in 2008 is to become more than just a statistical quirk to be studied by scholars as part of history, they will have to mobilize in the midterms and prove Harvard wrong.
Agreeing with Jon Stewart’s biting satire isn’t enough. Those who sway societal opinions have massive influence, but they can cast no more than one vote per person.