An Obama Youthquake: Great Pumpkin or Great Bet?
By Andrea Tantaros
Republican Political Commentator/Foxnews.com Contributor
Each year Democrats anticipate the youth vote as eagerly as Linus Van Pelt prepares for the Great Pumpkin. On Halloween night, Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin to appear. On Election Night the left waits for the young to appear. Invariably, the Great Pumpkin fails to show up and a humiliated but undefeated Linus vows to wait for him again the following Halloween. Similarly, the left predicts every presidential election cycle that the demographic will storm the polls in massive numbers resulting in a tidal wave of support, but like Linus their existence exists only in their imaginations. Will this year be any different?
Rewind to 2004: turnout among young people was, as a proportion of the whole electorate, almost identical to 2000’s weak showing. My generation was supposed to win it for John Kerry, so when George W. Bush defeated him in 2004 many Democrats blamed us for failing to show up in greater numbers.
Fast forward to 2008: in state after state, Obama has drawn more young voters than any of his competitors. According to the Associated Press an estimated nine million new voters of all ages have registered to vote this year, with a majority registering as Democrats. However, registration doesn’t always translate into votes.
According to The Wall Street Journal, voters under 30 have not widely participated in early voting this year. “In Florida, they account for 8 percent of cast ballots, though they make up 17 percent of voters. In North Carolina, voters under 30 make up 11 percent of cast ballots, but make up 19 percent of voters.” In addition, a poll conducted by The Journal showed that “only 54 percent of new voters said they would definitely vote on Nov. 4.”
So is Obama is simply a trend? And like most trends (parachute pants, barbed wire tattoos, and poufy bangs) will the Obamamania fizzle as quickly as it fired up?
Young people haven’t been screwed by government. Until they have, their level of intensity can’t be on par with those who are paying out the whazoo in taxes, healthcare and energy costs.
Worse yet, if the mainstream media continues to predict a landslide for Senator Obama on Election Day many youth, who for years have shown that interest doesn’t exactly equal action, could stay home. “Why bother when adults can do it for you?” is already a slogan of the millennial generation. College campuses are reported to be so saturated with Obama propaganda that fatigue has crept in. Without students on the other side to inspire competition, the extent of tween Obama support could end up resulting in the slapping of a bumper sticker on a dorm window.
“In many ways, our fate is in their hands,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said on a recent conference call with reporters, a risky bet for such an unreliable ballot box bunch and perhaps the reason for McCain’s continued optimism and perseverance.
Next Tuesday my eyes will be glued to the election results to see if for the first time in memory this voting block proves fruitful, or if Democrats are left disappointed, once again, by their Great Pumpkin.