Friday, 18 Jan 2019

Pushing for a "wave of young people": can democrats channel their dissent to the polls?

Just about every time she looks at Twitter, Madison Campbell, 19, sees someone urging her to vote on November 6th. That's one of the reasons she filled out a mail ballot a few days ago and mailed it to her.

"It was great to see Taylor Swift comment on elections and encourage her fans to vote," said Campbell, a psychology student at the University of Central Florida, who voted for a straight ticket because she did not agree "with what Republicans are doing right now."

Across the country, there are signs that young Americans like Campbell are showing unusual interest in mid-term this year, encouraged by democratic groups and non-profit organizations that have spent millions of dollars urging them to consider legislative and legislative elections as a means of expressing their points of view.

According to a new survey obtained from the Institute, the proportion of voters aged 18 to 29 who declare they want to vote will have gone from 26% on the eve of the last election to 2014, to 40% this fall. of politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A determining factor: widespread support for government intervention to combat gun violence and reduce college debt and health care costs.

The question of whether this will translate into strong youth participation this year remains uncertainty as Election Day approaches. The results will be used to test the costly efforts of this cycle to channel expressions of dissent – and could determine if Democrats are successful this fall.

"From a civic point of view, they have been more engaged" this year, said Guy Cecil, who heads Priorities USA, a super democratic PAC that has flooded social media platforms with advertisements for young voters. "But can we turn their enthusiasm into electoral power?"

For their part, Republicans recognize that the partisan division between young people does not favor the GOP, but they have not given up demographics. The National Republican Committee has launched several programs during this cycle to target them, including high school scholarships, campus team leaders at colleges and universities, and leadership summits to recruit young Conservatives.

"RNC runs a youth program like we have never done before," said Mitch Freckleton, director of youth engagement for the committee.

A national analysis by the data firm TargetSmart Democrat shows that voter registration – and primary voting – has increased slightly among young voters nationally since the shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, in September. last February.

Student 19-year-old Madison Campbell, along with her 19-year-old friend Hannah Bynum, stops at the NextGen pizza stand on the campus of the University of Central Florida at Orlando on October 25th. (Willie J. Allen Jr. / For The Washington Post)

In Pennsylvania, young voters accounted for nearly 60% of new entrants, TargetSmart said in September. The proportion of voters under the age of 30 has increased since 2017 in several key states, including Nevada, North Carolina and Florida, according to registration data of voters registered by L2 society. In Virginia, about 30,000 applications for missing student ballots are about 50% higher than last year's governorship election.

President Trump's dislike and willingness to take action on firearms control, economic assistance, health care, environmental protection, immigration and racial equality has driven many to be interested in the mid-term, according to young voters and strategists in charge of their mobilization.

And they are also under considerable pressure.

Priorities Cecil USA has dedicated much of its $ 65 million campaign to youth advertising, with hundreds of spots on online platforms such as Hulu, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify in the House, Senate and Governors' races across the country. The group is also committed to removing barriers to voting for youth and other occasional voters, winning lawsuits in Florida and New Hampshire to facilitate voting.

NextGen America, the Liberal group founded by billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, has hired 125 staff members who bring young people together to vote on more than 40 college campuses in Florida. And survivors of the Parkland shootout are making very personal calls, urging voters their age to help reduce gun violence by voting.

Meanwhile, celebrities such as Swift urge their fans to pay attention to the mid-term, and Turbovote, a non-partisan app "that facilitates the vote," has claimed the registration of more than 400,000 users of the giant Snapchat social media.

The skepticism surrounding an age group that is generally lamentable at the polls is not without reason. In 2016, it was expected that young Americans would oppose Trump heavily, but the actual proportion of voters under the age of 30 who voted was 43%, which corresponds to roughly in the previous 2012 presidential election and lower than in 2008. (Overall participation rate in 2016 was 60 per cent.)

Mid-term performance is generally much worse: only 16% of young Americans voted in 2014. The highest participation rate in the mid-term among voters under 30 in the last three decades Only 21% in 1994.

Although the youth participation rate has increased significantly this year, the age group has limited scope in the electoral group.

In Nevada, the electorate share of young voters was 18.6% in August, compared to 17.5% in September 2017, according to L2. In North Carolina, it was 18.3% in October, against 16.7% in September 2017. In Florida, it was 16.6% in September, against 15.6% a year earlier.

Nevertheless, the organizers said they saw a particularly strong opportunity in Florida, where Democrat Andrew Gillum's campaign, the first African-American governor candidate in the state, excited young people seeking more diversity among elected and are attracted to Gillum's support for single payer health care, LGBTQ equality and the fight against climate change.

NextGen has registered more than 50,000 new young voters through the state of this cycle, according to NextGen spokesperson Maya Humes. (In total, nearly one million voters of all ages have registered in Florida since 2016, according to state records.)

Legal victories have also helped Democrats in Florida. Priorities USA has funded and won Florida's case to compel the state to let local governments create early voting sites on university campuses, which had been blocked by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who defies the US senator Bill Nelson (D) this year. . According to Priorities USA spokesperson Josh Schwerin, new advance voting sites are now operational on 11 campuses in Florida, reaching more than 450,000 students.

The result of these efforts was exposed last Thursday at Central Florida University, where NextGen was organizing a pizza takeaway evening in front of the vote in front of the campus library, about 200 meters from an advance polling place.

The first election, Alex Zamora, was born in New Orleans to Nicaraguan parents who moved to Miami after the passage of Hurricane Katrina. He said he probably would not have voted otherwise because he did not have a car.

Zamora said that he supported Democratic candidates and considered climate change as an urgent issue, especially for his generation. As an immigrant son, he wants the Congress and the nation to move towards more constructive, evidence-based immigration policies, he said.

"We need more diplomacy, not stereotypes, not only against people of Latin American descent, but also from the Middle East and Africa," he said. backpack worn on the shoulder.

The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left 17 dead and 14 wounded, also appears to have boosted youth interest at the mid-point.

Young voters accounted for about a quarter of Florida's new registered voters in the two and a half months before Parkland, but their share rose to 34% in the two and a half months after the shooting, according to the Miami Herald.

"When you come home or at home, you do not want to sit and do nothing," said Campbell, the psychology major, who attended Stoneman Douglas and who knew some of the victims. "I do not say to remove all firearms. But something has to change.

March for Our Lives, the non-partisan Parkland student organization created in the wake of the gun battle to defend the gun restrictions, visited all congressional districts in Florida during its tour of Bus Road to Change. She then traveled to more than 24 states for 60 days. registration of young voters. More than 100 local chapters have formed in the county.

On Friday, the group tour "Living for Life" was held in Minneapolis. Parkland students knocked on the dormitory door of the University of Minnesota and prepared to hold a public reception and a party today. They spend most of their time talking about measures that can be taken to combat violence, such as the more regular publication of protection orders and the disarmament of those at risk for themselves or others. . Voting is the first step, they say, to build like-minded people.

"The real test will be election day," said David Hogg, founder of March for Our Lives, in a phone interview from Minneapolis. "Young people and Americans in general are angry. Americans are inspired to go out and make that change. And this is just the beginning for many young people.

The Harvard Institute of Politics poll, released Sunday by the Washington Post, highlighted the widespread opposition of young Americans to Trump, which received only 26% approval from this demographic group. In addition, more than six out of ten young voters reported being in favor of single payer health care, financial assistance to the government and a federal employment guarantee; More than half of potential voters said they support "democratic socialism" – a potential generation change that pollsters say could have significant implications for the upcoming elections.

Some Republicans admit that Democrats have the advantage over young voters.

"Do they favor the Democrats? Absolutely, if we want to be honest about it, "said 34-year-old Jason Emert, president of the Republican National Youth Federation, which encourages 18- to 40-year-olds to get into politics. "But the truth is that we do not show ourselves. And this concerns Republicans and Democrats. "

Chandler Thornton, who heads the College's National Republican Committee, said his group was providing a huge army of young Conservatives who were knocking on doors, working in telephone banks and collecting signatures. The group has recently crossed the million doors hit this cycle, he said.

Emert said his volunteers had made more than 5 million contacts with voters during this cycle (targeting all voters, not just the youngest). "We have never had so many deployments," he said.

This activity can also bear fruit. Although the Harvard Institute of Politics poll has excited the Democrats, it has also seen a slight increase in the participation of young Republicans.

According to the survey, 54 percent of Democrats said they would vote next month, up three points since the institute's spring survey in April. For the Republicans, that number was 43%, up seven points from April – and from 2010, when the Republicans won the election. That year, 38% of young GOP voters said they were in danger of voting.

"People ask:" Will there be a blue wave and how big will it be? " Said Teddy Landis, 21, a Harvard junior, who helped write questions from the 19-year-old youth survey conducted by the institute. . "But we think there is going to be a" wave of young people. "

Saundra Amrhein in Orlando and Emily Guskin in Washington contributed to this report.