FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Throwing Shade Not Light on Youth Voting

It’s the summer before midterm elections, and the political forecast is already promising heavy showers of skepticism about young voters.

The seasonal downpour is especially important this year because, for the first time, 18-35-year-old “millennials”—and their even younger counterparts, “generation z”—will be America’s single largest voting block with power to swing the result if they actually turn out to cast a ballot. The perennial question is, will they?

I hosted a discussion this week for Free Speech TV that gave me every reason to think the answer might be yes. Energy and enthusiasm are up; whether it’s guns or debts or jobs or just that racist, sexist Trump, there’s certainly no shortage of motivation.

28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an organizer for Bernie in the Bronx, said, “People like me aren’t supposed to run for Congress”; but she’s just the sort who gets people excited. She’s mounting a 100% volunteer, no corporate money drive to trigger the first primary in her district in fourteen years, and if her guts and gusto translate into signatures, she’ll do it.

Young people are running, and voters seem engaged. 56% of millennials polled by CNN this month said they were likely to cast a ballot. In California, 100,000 16-17-year-olds have already preregistered.

Still, as the skeptics never tire of saying, only about half of all eligible young voters actually voted in 2016, and young people traditionally lag even further behind their elders in non-presidential elections.  Two months after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, youth registration was actually down in the Tallahassee epicenter of the protests.

Personally, I’m always impressed not by how few, but by how many young people manage to cast a ballot given how vigorously others try to stop them. As Parkland School shooting survivor David Hogg tweeted recently, if the selective service can register 18-year-olds automatically for war, there’s no real reason the state boards of elections couldn’t do likewise for democracy.

Instead, as the young tend to favor Democrats, GOP lawmakers are doing everything they can to stop them voting at all, such as curbing opportunities for registration and early voting, reducing polling places, and requiring photo IDs with a current address. Exposing voter suppression should be priority number one for journalists, but it’s so much easier to throw shade than light.

You can watch our special on the Millennial vote this month on Free Speech TV and Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and you can see or listen to my interview with Maurice Mitchell, the new National Director of the Working Families Party on the Laura Flanders Show at www.lauraflanders.org.

More articles by:

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv now seen on the new, news channel TeleSUR English – for a new perspective. 

January 23, 2019
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail