Young voters, along with everyone else, are by now very familiar with all the leading contenders in both the Democratic and Republican Presidential campaigns, with many getting intricately involved in the nuts and bolts of fundraising, door-to-door solicitations and getting the public to turn out at various campaign events.
The “under-thirty-crowd” seems especially attracted to the campaign of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL); and on the Republican side, the Internet-fueled bid of physician turned Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX).
Obama is a hit on college campuses because he is new, good-looking, articulate and rather young himself. His campaign is directed against the status quo politics that so many of our young people seem disenchanted with right now.
And as a consequence, Obama has been able to attract and deploy a highly motivated bloc of younger voters who are making themselves available, more than in any other campaign, for caucusing, collecting cell phone numbers and email addresses.
Congressman Paul has been able to tap into the Internet and is all over YouTube. His organizing dynamo for college-age and younger voters from around the country is 24-year-old Jeff Frazee, who commands his troops with the ease of a seasoned campaign veteran.
Frazee, a graduate of Texas A&M, spends his days figuring out how to deploy the legions of Paul’s youthful supporters by dispatching buses of block-walkers and organizing phone banks,
“I live on the road,” Frazee said. “I became a Ron Paul fan when I looked at his record and then heard him speak. It absolutely blew me away.”
In addition to the Obama and Paul campaigns, both Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former Senator John Edwards have also enjoyed strong organizational support from potential younger voters.
Senator Clinton’s daughter Chelsea may become one of her principle ways to reach younger voters. In recent days Chelsea was in San Francisco to hit the campaign trail for her mother, attending church services at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church before visiting her mother’s campaign headquarters on Howard Street, where she was thronged by supporters and well-wishers.
Many younger voters like John Edward’s now anti-war message. After initially voting in favor of the war, he has repeatedly stated that he made a mistake and would not have cast his vote for the war if the U.S. intelligence community had not given Members of Congress incorrect information on the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities.
According to Edwards, “Young people made the difference during the Civil Rights movement and with protests and demonstrations help bring an end to the Vietnam War. Young people helped to champion the cause and promote Anti-Apartheid movements. And today . . . each of us has, as an American, as a duty to our troops and to each other, to do everything single thing we can to support our troops and end this war.”
Edwards went on to say, “It’s time for you—all of you—to take responsibility for your country, for your government and for your community.”