Democrats & Liberals Archives

Will Young Voters "Rock The Vote" in 2004?

In the early ’90s, the “Rock The Vote” campaign did the unthinkable - deliver young people to the voting polls. Some attribute the high turnout to voter frustration with the first Bush administration, while others believed Perot may have been the reason for the surge. Others still would like to believe that a sax-wielding Bill Clinton may have somehow connected with the young’ins like, as some out-of-touch columnists have stated, “an Elvis Presley for Gen-X.”

Will young voters care enough about the 2004 election to have their voice heard? Are they the pivotal swing votes this time around, or is it just a lost cause to chase the under-30 vote?

In the 1992 presidential election, 43% of younger voters turned out (as opposed to 36% in '88) thanks, in part, to a campaign that featured artists like Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. MTV played a vital role as well, supporting "Rock the Vote" by airing PSAs about the importance of the electoral process.
Remember Madonna draped in the American flag? This was the same campaign.

This year, "Rock the Vote" is back; MTV has focused its attention on the "Choose or Lose" program and MoveOn.org has joined Music for America and Barsuk Records for the release of Future Soundtrack for America, a CD with music from artists like Blink-182, The Flaming Lips, the late Elliott Smith and Tom Waits.

Over the past four years, a number of organizations have been created to bring young voters back into the fold, including PunkVoter, the WWE's "Smackdown the Vote"; the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, and The New Voters Project which is aimed at delivering 2 million 18- to 24-year-olds to the polls in Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin - all pivotal states this year.

There are a number of crucial issues that will affect the 18-29 crowd in the next four years: the war in Iraq, the draft, the economy, reproductive rights, outsourcing, terrorist threats, and on and on. Will an influx of young votes help the Dems, as the polls indicate?

Are either Bush or Kerry doing enough to convince young America to take the initiative and cast their ballots?

Posted by Ivan at July 26, 2004 7:06 PM