Don’t blame Elizabeth Warren. Don’t blame the establishment. I wouldn’t even blame Bernie Sanders, because Sanders — like so many Presidential candidates before him — put his faith and his Presidential prospects into the same group of people, and for like the 25th time, a Presidential candidate got screwed by them.
I don’t mean to get all, “Old man yelling at the clouds,” but the goddamn YOUTHS are killing us. Again. The 18-29 year old demographic is overwhelmingly Democrat (and progressive!), but it’s also the voting bloc least likely to vote. Every youth-oriented candidate thinks they can change that. No one ever does. Yes, in 2008, Obama managed to turn out the biggest percentage of the youth vote since 1972 (when 18-year-olds were given the right to vote), but even with Obama, it wasn’t decisive (the youth vote put him over the top in North Carolina and Indiana, but he could have won the Electoral College without either).
The broad, grassroots coalition that Bernie keeps talking about absolutely exists! They just don’t turn up at the polls. They’ll go to the rallies. They’ll tweet until they’re blue-in-the-f**king-face. But stand in line? F**k that!
Yesterday, Bernie conceded that he didn’t fare as well as he’d have liked with young voters. “Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing in young people in?” he asked. “And the answer is ‘no’. We’re making some progress but historically everybody knows that young people do not vote in the kind of numbers that older people vote.”
Bernie was actually downplaying how bad it was. On Super Tuesday, turnout overall was greater than in 2016, except with 18 to 29-year-olds, who turned out in larger numbers in 2016. Not only that, but in most states, Bernie was seeing a slightly smaller share of the youth vote than in 2016. Despite four years under the Trump Administration, young people were even less interested in voting than in 2016.
That is insane to me.
Again, I don’t think it’s Bernie’s fault. Eighteen to 29-year-olds love Bernie, just not enough to stand in a line. You know, back in my day, we had to stand in line without a smartphone. We had to take a book. Made out of paper!
The overall turnout on Super Tuesday, however, was up significantly over 2016 in most states. Why is that? Because 96 percent of Black people hate Donald Trump, and they recognize the existential threat he poses enough to stand in a line that is almost certainly much longer than the line more young people will have to stand in. They showed up. The people yelling on Twitter did not. Like so many candidates before him, Bernie bet on the Youths, and just as they have in so many other elections, they let him down. They let us all down.
“I think [low turnout among youth voters] will change in the general election,” Sanders said yesterday. Nah, Bernie. Until we make voting a lot easier and more convenient, too many twenty-something people will continue to sit on the sidelines and complain. The path to the Presidency will never run through the 18-29 year-olds, no matter how many times we Rock the Vote.