Tag Archive: Young Voters

Millennials Will Stay Home and It’s Our Fault

Enough of Ryan for this morning. On to a different discussion of our challenges. John was elected Chair of  Keansburg Dems at age 18, making him the youngest municipal chair in NJ. He cross-posted this from Huffington Post at my request.

– promoted by Rosi

There has been an awful lot of conversation this election cycle about “the youth vote.” Traditional wisdom suggests that young people will head to the polls for President Obama, others suggest widening margins for Governor Romney. All of these questions miss the real problem at hand: what if young people just don’t show up? Even worse — what if it’s our fault?

Think about it — if you go to any local political organization they are struggling to get more young people engaged. Ask any elected official how many young people showed up to their last town hall — you’ll be shocked to hear how low the numbers are. Campaign after campaign lacks concentrated efforts to target young people on the same scale as ethnic or gender groups. This is a serious misstep for anyone looking to seriously organize young people and a massive threat to our democratic system.

Some Big Issues for Young Adults

The issues that are most prevalent among young voters today are; affordable housing, costs for education, gas prices, and the Iraq War. Their concerns over their ability to get an education and start lives have become a hot topic when I go out in the area. I am approached by young voters in Monmouth County all the time. They ask me questions about what is happening in the political world when it comes to the problems that we face.

These issues are in a large way tide together. Affordable housing is a problem for anyone of our generation that is attempting to start their lives after school in our area. The debt that the ones who go to college have accumulated over their time in school is a huge burden. Gas prices rising with no end in sight. Low starting salaries, if they are even able to find decent jobs. Concerns about their friends, and family serving their county in the war. These have all made our generation wake up to the reality that this generation faces a real test to the way we live our life.

With less and less money being devoted to education. Many young adults and their families are facing the fact that they may not be able to afford to go to collage. This is a scary concept to many families. It is a known fact that in the 21st century college has become a prerequisite for having the ability to enter the middle class. Many young adults elect to take loans to pay for their college education. The range of the debt that they accumulate is from $25,000 – $100,000 depending on the degree that they obtain.

Starting salaries have not risen anywhere near the rise in costs that these young people face. The rapidly rising cost of education and transportation has become oppressive to young adults. This along with a shrinking job market makes the prospect of building a life in the communities that they grew up in look less likely to happen.

With average rents in our area ranging around $900 – $1,100 for a one bedroom apartment and houses going for around $300,000 many young adults have come to the reality that they can not afford to live here. Many of the young adults that do try to live in this area have turned to communal living. In reality we are turning to a quality of life that traditionally has been that of migrant workers. In many communities in our area resident have been trying to pressure town leaders to take steps to end the practice of communal living. So what is the next step? When college educated people are forces to except a lower and lower quality of life just to survive we are not heading in the right direction.

Weather you agree or disagree with the Fair Housing Act of 1985. It has made it a constitutional obligation to provide a cretin percentage of a towns housing affordable. This is rentable and owned housing.

With elected officials in our area standing in opposition of affordable housing and funding education they have shown that they do not stand with their younger constituents. I feel that they will find the folly in this on Election Day with the ever growing feeling of desperation among younger voters combined with the overwhelming feeling of a need for change.

Democrats 2000 reaches out to Young Professionals

In 2004, young voter turnout was up 10% over 2000, yet most of the campaigns still target seniors or soccer moms while often overlooking the votes of young professionals.  You can debate whether young voters turn out as pundits tend to do, but it was a nice surprise to open my mailbox the other day and see that Democrats 2000 is trying not to let anyone fall through the cracks this year.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI learned that since last Friday, young Democrats (25-38) across New Jersey have been receiving mail from Democrats 2000 encouraging them to join the group’s efforts “to set our nation back on the right course.” In total they sent this mailing to more than 45,000 voters.

According to Democrats 2000 President Steve Lenox, “we believe that the GOP wants young voters to stay home on Election Day because once members of our generation study the important issues of the day, there is no doubt that they will vote Democrat.”

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe mailer gives a thumbs down to George Bush, Tom Kean Jr and the GOP on issues of concern to young voters and includes a pre-paid response card so that Democrats 2000 can continue to communicate with these voters.

The release of this mail coincided with the launch of their new website and the naming of their recommended candidates list for the 2006 election cycle including Blue Jersey’s own Dana Wefer.

Do you think the young professional vote is overlooked in campaigns as they focus on other voters? If you are of the mindset that young people don’t vote, is there a reason you think they don’t?