Tag Archive: Yale on the Trail: The Youth Vote

  1. In ‘defining moment’ for country, young Dems encouraged to run

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    By Thomas Kaplan

    DENVER, 1:49 p.m. — Every once in a while as he walks through the United States Capitol, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio is pulled aside by a security guard. “They say, ‘Who do you work for?’” Ryan said.

    But the 35-year-old Democrat doesn’t mind. His relative youth, he says, is a political advantage — and something that should encourage other young Democrats to seek public office.

    “A young candidate brings certain intangibles to the table,” he said. “A million people told me, ‘You’re too young to be corrupt; I’m voting for you.’ It could be that simple.”

    Ryan was among several prominent young politicians, including Nebraska Senate candidate Scott Kleeb GRD ’06, who urged their fellow young Democrats to consider public office at a panel discussion at the Democratic National Committee’s Youth Caucus.

    “In our lives, for our families, for our future and for this country … right now is our defining moment,” Kleeb said. “We have to get involved.”

  2. Sugar, we’re going down voting

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    DENVER, 2:20 a.m. — On stage before a throng of sweaty youth, Representative Kendrick Meek of Florida pulled a microphone close to his mouth. He had already emphasized the importance of registering to vote. Now, he said, it was time to welcome “the Fall Out Boys.”

    Close enough. The hundreds that filled the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for the Rock the Vote Ballot Bash did not seem to mind Meek’s flub.

    I managed to secure a credential to “report” on the concert, which featured Jakob Dylan, N*E*R*D and Fall Out Boy. But I don’t know anything about music, regrettably, and thus have little to add as far as critical analysis. Photographs are after the jump.

    Rock the Vote has already registered one million young people to vote this year alone, according to the organization. They hope to reach two million by Election Day.


  3. The story behind ‘Yes We Can’

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    By Thomas Kaplan

    DENVER, 2:23 p.m. — This winter, the musical artist known as will.i.am was feeling blue. His single album had flopped. He had a falling out with his manager.

    Then came the song that changed it all.

    Six months after the Black Eyed Peas frontman gave the campaign of Senator Barack Obama a shot in the arm with his widely-circulated music video adapted from one of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s speeches, will.i.am reminisced Monday about how it all began.

    Heading into the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8, the 33-year-old said he was genuinely undecided between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73. Then he watched Obama’s concession speech, delivered to a raucous crowd in Nashua.

    “It was inspiration,” he told a crowd of reporters and young Democrats gathered for an event about youth involvement in the presidential race. “I was like, ‘Wow, this man can inspire me when he lost. How is he going to inspire me when he wins?’”


  4. McCain aide to Elis: Stop swooning over Obama

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    By Thomas Kaplan

    DENVER, 11:14 a.m. — This may be the Democratic National Convention, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few Republican interlopers in town. And one of them has a message for Elis.

    Former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina (left), a senior aide to Senator John McCain, convened a press conference Monday with four supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 who have recently thrown their support behind the presumptive Republican nominee.

    And in an interview afterward, she said Elis should think about making the switch, too.

    “I understand that Obama is an exciting and impressive figure. He certainly is,” Fiorina told the News. “He is a celebrity — there’s no question —and I understand how intoxicating that is to many people.”

    But Fiorina, a Stanford and M.I.T. alumna, said Elis should be smart enough to look beyond that effect.

    “Yale students in particular are taught to examine the facts and not let their emotions run away with them,” she said. “And I think the facts around his rhetoric versus his record are quite stark, and I think the facts around these two candidates’ service and track record is quite evident as well.”


  5. A Day in South Carolina

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    By Nick Bayless/Staff Photographer

    Traveling to such a political hot spot as South Carolina, I expected to run into fellow reporters covering the campaign trail. However, I wasn’t really expecting to run into them in line at “Five Guys Burgers” at 7:30 a.m. in the Washington, D.C., airport.

    That’s where I met Kevin and Sreya, a reporter and cameraman working for Reuters and also traveling to South Carolina. After demolishing my burger (and after Karan similarly disposed of his breakfast burrito), we sat down with them to talk about what it was like to cover the primary season for a news service like Reuters. Because Reuters focuses mainly on an international audience, their angle is significantly different than that of the traditional American press. According to Kevin, “When the primaries started, we had to explain what a primary is. The international audience is pretty much concerned with who’s going after Bush. They don’t care about health care … they care about Iran.”

    The pair also discussed the implications of the youth vote. In reference to the primary two weeks ago, they said, “In Iowa, the youth vote definitely mattered. People are out voting who have never voted before.” We also talked about the difficulties of covering a subject that is so often changing at the last moment. For example, while covering Iowa, “The media didn’t even realize Huckabee was going to come out on top. We had to react to that.”

    Upon our arrival in Charleston, we dealt with a plethora of transportation difficulties. It was our original intention to proceed to Aiken, S.C., the site of a supposed GOP rally featuring the prominent Republican candidates. However, after two hours of failed attempts to secure transportation to the 140-mile distant Aiken, we got in touch with Abi Nicholas, a news clerk at the Charleston Post and Courier. Abi offered to let us cover the rally with them down at the newsroom, as well as interview key members of their news staff.

    When we realized that the rally in Aiken was not all it was cracked up to be, and the only candidates in attendance were individuals who were only running in South Carolina, we took Abi up on her offer and headed off to visit the Post and Courier in downtown Charleston. A 20-minute cab ride (and an unexpected stop for fuel) later, and we were in the foyer of Charleston’s most prominent newspaper. We were greeted and escorted up to the newsroom by our host, Abi, a recent graduate from the College of Charleston and former news editor of their student newspaper.

    She introduced us to Robert F. Behre, the politics editor, who talked to us about the influence of the students on the race, and on the candidates’ differing approaches to swaying that segment of the vote. According to Behre, “Ron Paul and John McCain are the only Republican candidates to even acknowledge students.” He also made mention of the striking differences between this race and the S.C. 2000 primary. Behre said, “This primary is different: In the GOP eight years ago, there were only two candidates: It was a much bigger deal. Bush’s win got him the nomination. This time, there’s not a front runner, and it’s all very up in the air. There’s not as much media, and we’re all try to cover four or more campaigns.”

    Robert Behre

    We then talked to Douglas Pardue, a former political correspondent, and current special features editor. Pardue used to enjoy politics, but was moved to special features after covering a heart-wrenching tale of a young girl’s tragic death. He believes, “People is what journalism is all about, not politicians … what makes people happy, and mad, and sick.” This didn’t stop him from commenting on Obama’s “star power” and the fact that “Iraq is a big deal to people, but when it comes down to it, people are going to vote for the economy.” He concluded his mini-speech with the prophetic statement, “Humans beings don’t exist in news coverage … only people with titles.”

    Doug Pardue

    When we were done at the Post and Courier, Abi put us in contact with the student media at the College of Charleston. There we were shown around by Sam Tyson, the editor-in-chief of the George Street Observer, the main student newspaper at the college. We saw the media building, encompassing the student radio station and television studio, as well as showing us the offices of the newspaper. We talked about the local “Bully Pulpit” series, in which presidential hopefuls are invited to come speak to crowds of 1000+ students. McCain was one of the most prominent candidates to take part in the series, and according to Tyson, it garnered him a great deal of support among the student body. Barack Obama also held a separate rally on the campus last week, drawing a large crowd of both students and townspeople. Tyson said many students are very concerned with promoting diversity on campus and they “look at the Obama candidacy as a way to be put on the map as far as being listened to.”

    College at Charleston

    While briefly touring the school, we got into a fascinating discussion with an outspoken campus security guard who had opinions on every candidate and something to say about almost every happening of the election so far. When she was in school, she said, she had been a journalism major and had enjoyed covering politics and elections then. Though she is now in her second career, she still enjoys keeping up with politics and discussing it whenever possible.


    On our way off of the campus, while saying our goodbyes to Tyson, a brightly colored Suburban pulled up to the curb outside of a FedEx/Kinko’s, and energetic man sprang out. We quickly determined his candidate affiliation from the veritable mural-sized portrait of Dr. Ron Paul on his vehicle, and his T-shirt sporting the phrase, “Who is Ron Paul?” The man was dashing into Kinko’s to make 700 copies of his homemade survey which he plans to conduct tomorrow himself, because he “doesn’t feel he can trust any other poll.” After introducing himself to us as W.A. Riley, he shared with us his story of traveling from primary to primary, spreading the word about his favorite candidate. In the last few weeks, the Philadelphia resident has been to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and plans to visit New York and New Jersey on Super Tuesday. He then proceeded into an impassioned tirade extolling the virtues of Dr. Paul, while giving us armfuls of pamphlets, papers and informational DVDs guaranteed to make us understand and agree with Paul. When he completed his spiel, he politely excused himself (after inviting us to a Paul rally Friday evening) to rush off to make his copies and prepare for his one-man protest against modern statistical methods.

    Ron Paul ‘burb

    While South Carolina certainly isn’t as charged as it has been in primaries in past years, it’s definitely an exciting time in a primary season where a win in the state could shift the deadlock that the leading candidates are now in. With only a short time remaining before the polls open, the rallies and last-ditch efforts on behalf of the Republican candidates and campaigns will certainly provide a great test of the organizations and efforts of the candidates and their supporters. But we certainly can’t discount the efforts and impacts of maverick campaigners such as Mr. Riley.

    W.A. Riley

  6. For all Washington’s ills, what is change’s real roadblock? Gidoudavote, of course!

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    By Amanda Eckerson ’07

    In the last few days of any campaign, regardless of your party, a virus passes around the volunteers and organizers on the ground. It isn’t the flu, because they’ve been working hard. It isn’t strep, because they’ve been phone banking for hours. It’s a vicious case of Gidoudavote (pronounced Get-Out-The-Vote). Common side effects include cold feet, amnesia and a tendency to repeat the same motions over and over.


  7. Despite the hype, Paul draws just 8 percent in New Hampshire

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    NASHUA, N.H., 12:38 p.m. — Excitement is growing over a candidate who once didn’t seem to have an ice cube’s hope in hell of getting a vote in New Hampshire.

    “A saying that a lot of Ron Paul supporters have,” says Pennsylvanian Ron Paul campaigner Jim McDaniel, “is that ‘Dr. Paul cured my apathy.’”

    Paul’s support on Tuesday was unprecedented, as supporters mobbed the streets of Concord with signs and chants. Indeed, his presence was just as visible as any of the other candidates’ — particularly among the youth.

    Says a BBC cameraman, “They’re absolutely everywhere. I’m fed up of Ron Paul signs.”

    Ron Paul CampaignRon Paul Campaign 2


  8. For New Hampshire fourth graders, it’s voting booths over Game Boys

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    NASHUA, N.H., 11:42 a.m. — Typically, fourth graders are more interested in their Game Boys than the world of politics, but here in New Hampshire, even the young’uns get a chance to vote.

    Virginia Drew, the Director of the Visitor’s Center at the Concord statehouse for more than twelve years, has pioneered a voting scheme which gives interested children the change to flex their political muscles in the voting booth.

    “Fourth graders here in New Hampshire are very savvy,” she said in an interview Tuesday, “and so they came in and they cast their ballots today and yesterday — we allowed them to be first of the first in the nation.”

    160 students cast ballots in the primary elections and, although the results are not officially released, “it’s always fun to see how close the kid’s results are to where the state’s are,” she said.

    – Nicolas Niarchos

  9. Live: Young crowd ‘fired up, ready to go’

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    JERSEY CITY, N.J., 4:22 p.m. — We’re in! All it took was flashing the YaleID. No questions, no being subjected to bomb-sniffing dogs.

    First observation: There are nearly 100 video cameras here. Are there even that many stations?

    The crowd, mostly, is young and Hispanic or black. “Fired up, ready to go!” they are chanting.

    – The Yale Daily News

  10. INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Clinton, not Obama, improves with the ‘youth vote’

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    NEW HAVEN, Conn., 2:31 p.m. — In New Hampshire, Senator Barack Obama seemed to be the darling of students, who flocked to his rallies and cheered for him as if he were a rock star. To young people, he was supposed to be a candidate who represented a new generation of politics, a voice for change standing up for them in a way no other candidate could, or wanted to.

    And, sure enough, young people in the Granite State turned out en masse for Obama yesterday. But an analysis of exit polls reveals that while Obama indisputably dominated New Hampshire’s youth vote, he captured significantly less of it then he did in Iowa. And as Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 enjoyed heavy support from women across the state, a much larger demographic, there went the primary.