“With just two days until Pennsylvania kicks off the final round of primaries, political observers say there’s clear evidence that the election of 2008 represents a new universe — and a new generation — when it comes to White House contests,” writes SF Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci. “And the political phenomenon of Barack Obama is symbolic of the game-changing attitudes and growing influence to be wielded by the upcoming generation of ‘Millennial’ voters — the largest and most diverse generation in American history, born between 1982 and 2003 — who already are helping to shape the race.”
Barack Obama is right outside her screen door and that pudgy woman leaning against the doorframe with her arms folded and her dog next to her can’t be roused to even step outside? What could be the explanation? Indifference? Laziness? Medication? I have witnessed this sort of American Somnambulance all my life among semi-educated people, and despise it like nothing else on this earth.
That’s fine, but can Millenial voters be trusted to stand up and do the thing? A greater percentage of them has voted in primaries and the ’04 election, which has been great, but an awful lot of them — the 21-and-unders — are subject, it seems to me, to the usual hormonal distractions and the old fiddle-while-Rome-burns routine. I hope and pray that I’m wrong.
Authors Morley Winograd and Michael Hais, who just released “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics,” a book that examines the seismic generational and cultural realignments at play on the political stage this year, “say the political pileups of the past week represent a perfect example of how the 20-somethings have managed to reshape conventional politics in the current race for the White House.
“There was Obama’s brouhaha over the ‘bitter’ comments in San Francisco — fueled by Clinton, McCain and the media — followed by a rough Philadelphia debate in which Clinton got tough and ABC moderators got tougher, peppering him about his recent stumbles and gaffes.
“That looked to be a perfect storm that might have swamped a first-time presidential candidate, but it wasn’t Obama who took the body blows. Instead, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson, the journalists, were publicly pummeled for “gotcha games,” and Clinton came away with nary a new superdelegate in her pocket.
“Meanwhile, Obama literally brushed it all off as the old way of doing things, while both Pennsylvania and national polls appear to suggest that none of it has stuck to him. Indeed, he looks even stronger, said Winograd, a former senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.
“Twenty-somethings ‘are driving the presidential race in a huge way,’ said Annemarie Stephens, an organizer for the youth-oriented ‘Nation for Change’ rally to celebrate Obama’s campaign today at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. The event, which will star gospel, hip-hop and ethnic musicians — like similar rallies planned in nearly all 50 states today — has been put together almost entirely on the internet, she said.
“‘People are concerned about the well-being of this country,’ she said. ‘It’s no longer politics as usual; we’re not going to stand for the pettiness.'”