Voting Good. Apathy Bad.

The Justice has an editorial out that calls for more youth participation in politics, specifically focusing on the February 5th primary. That’s good. From my vane point as a progressive Democrat, youth are the key to the long-term health of the party. A presidential primary is among other things a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. A victorious party nominee traditionally chooses the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, embodies the principles of the party, and hires ideologically aligned people to fill posts in the Cabinet and so forth. Therefore the more we “youth” vote in the primary, the more the national party will share our values and our agenda.

While I don’t disagree with any part of the piece to a large extent, there are a few thoughts I’d like to share:

  • Voting in the February 5th primary is important for a reason the editorial neglected to mention:  party elections. The Democratic Primary on February 5th has you vote for Presidential nominee, but also for Delegates for the Democratic National Convention, as well as local party leaders. I know a few people from Brandeis were trying to get on the ballot to be Delegates for Obama and Edwards.
  • On February 5th, vote for me. Both Alex and I (as well as three other students) are on the ballot to be members of the Waltham City Democratic Committee.
  • Waltham is watching us. There are people who check the participation rate of Brandeis Students. The more we vote (in the General Election but in the Primary as well) the more inclined elected officials, party members, and so on will be to take Brandeis seriously and to spend resources on us.
  • In the Iowa caucus, the ‘youth’ (Ages 17-24) turnout rate tripled:
    Youth vote Iowa
  • In the New Hampshire Primary, the ‘Youth’ (Ages 18-29) Turnout Rate more than doubled:
    Youth vote in New Hampshire
  • The Justice may have said this,

    With just over three weeks to go until Super Duper Tuesday, now is the time to get active, and to do so in person. Join the Brandeis Republicans or the Brandeis Democrats, go to Brandeis Students for Barack Obama meetings, canvass with Brandeis for Jonathan Edwards, or start up Brandeis for Huckabee (if you dare)

    but please, instead of starting a Rudy Guiliani fan club, consider joining Democracy for America instead. In fact, there are many ways to participate in the primary season beyond Brandeis Democrats or candidate-centric clubs. You can join SEA and create a youtube ad applauding Edwards for his early embrace of green issues, or you can team up with BLC to spread the word that Clinton’s longtime pollster and advisor is union-busting Mark Penn. Or you could be part of DFA, the Brandeis hub for progressive activists.