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Youths Say: What’s Democrat, Republican?
By Kelly Mahoney, Associated Press
Published November 15, 2007

AP – Visions of Republican elephants and Democratic donkeys are out. Today’s young adults don’t think red or blue either when they describe the two major political parties.

To them, Democrats and Republicans are about bleeding hearts, no souls, opportunity for the future.

A YouTube video posted Nov. 8 by Medill News Service catalogues an informal political attitude check of 18- to 29-year-olds, and invites their input on the Internet.

There’s plenty of attitude—with descriptions like “dead weight,” “gay bashing” and “my parents” among the responses. Young viewers can post their own short films at.

The initial participants—two dozen young people who were stopped on the sidewalks of Washington, D.C.—were asked to play a simple word game: Blurt out the first five things that come to mind when hearing the word Republican, then Democrat.

The off-the-cuff interviews sparked references to economic status, geographic locations, race and moral character—or lack thereof—to describe the parties.

“Moral” and “closed-minded” were among the adjectives used to describe Republicans. Democrats were pegged as “liberal” and “elitist.”

Daniel Hoefling, a 19-year-old politically unaffiliated student from Glastonbury, Conn., used the word “bleeding” to describe the Democratic Party. Allison DeMartino, a 21-year-old politically independent student from Hopewell Junction, N.Y., said Democrats “need to get their act together.”

Laura Minicucci, a 21-year-old independent from Syracuse, N.Y., said Democrats have led a “pathetic Congress” and Republicans are “closed-minded.”

Others associated a specific person with a party. Democrat Martha Hanna, 18, of Buffalo, N.Y., said former White House political adviser “Karl Rove” when asked to respond to Republican. Marissa Friedman, 22, of Denver, an independent employed in marketing, said “Bill Clinton” for Democrat.

The 2008 presidential candidates, especially Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, were frequently named.

Many participants had trouble finding words to describe the parties. Democrat Nick Marino, 21, of Atlanta, said he tries to avoid stereotyping them. “Parties are really only important around election time,” he said.

“I think it’s generally a cool idea to do the word association,” said Peter Levine, director of the Maryland-based Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

“Essentially you’re trying to go a little bit deeper into people’s thinking.”

Any negativity in the quotes is typical and not likely to change, Levine said.

“It’s been going on for generations,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean people won’t vote.”


Categories: Education

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