Young Obama Backers Twist Parents’ Arms

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Nov 22, 2006
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    Have your children ever influenced your perception of or decision on politics, religion, sexuality, an automobile purchase or even just a vacation?

    April 8, 2008

    Young Obama Backers Twist Parents’ Arms


    The daily phone calls. The midnight e-mail. And, when college lets out, those dinner table declamations? Oh, please.

    Senator Barack Obama’s devotees just won’t give their parents a break.

    As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination continues, youthful volunteers for each candidate have been campaigning with bright-eyed brio, not only door-to-door but also at home. But the young supporters of Mr. Obama, who has captured a majority of under-30 primary voters, seem to be leading in the pestering sweepstakes. They send their parents the latest Obama YouTube videos, blog exhortations and “Tell Your Mama/Vote for Obama!” bumper stickers

    Megan Simpson, a Penn State senior, had not been able to budge her father, a Republican. But the day before the deadline for registering for the coming Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, she handed him the forms and threw in a deal-sweetener as well. “I said, ‘Dad, if you change your party affiliation in time to vote for Obama,’ ” recalled Ms. Simpson, 22, an Obama campus volunteer, “ ‘I will get you the paperwork the day after the primary if you want to switch back to being a Republican.’ ”

    Thus did Ralph E. Simpson Jr., 50, construction company owner, become a newly minted Democrat. “I probably will switch my affiliation back,” Mr. Simpson said, “but I haven’t decided who I will vote for in the general election. If Meg keeps working on me, who knows?”

    No poll has counted Obama supporters who made their choice at the urging of their children. But combined exit polls for all the primaries so far (excluding Florida and Michigan) show that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has edged out Mr. Obama, 50 percent to 46 percent, among voters ages 45 to 64 — those who are old enough, and then some, to be the parents of Mr. Obama’s young supporters.

    But even politicians are mentioning the persuasiveness of their children, either in earnest or as political cover, as a factor in their Obama endorsements.

    That list of Democrats includes Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

    While politicians inevitably invoke children and the future, rarely have the political preferences of children themselves carried much weight with their elders. On the contrary: when baby boomer parents were the age their children are now, the ideological and social gap between generations was more pronounced. Parents were, by definition, authoritarian. Their children were, by definition, anti-.

    But the sharp distinctions between generations have eroded. Parents now are exponentially more entwined with their offspring, inclined to place their children’s emotional well-being ahead of their own. Even when students live away at college, many parents call them and send text messages every day.

    The Obama campaign was well positioned to capitalize on this veritable seamlessness. From the outset, Mr. Obama eagerly sought out young voters with his Internet operation and a widespread, efficient campus network. Those efforts are paying off: in all Democratic primaries to date (excluding Florida and Michigan), about 6 in 10 voters under age 30 have supported him, according to exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky.

    For some waffling primary voters, the relentless push by their children was good enough reason to capitulate. Eager to encourage their offspring’s latest enthusiasm, they have been willing to toss up their hands and vote for Mr. Obama, if only to impress their children.

    “Our kids are probably more precious to us than any previous generation of parents,” said Dan Kindlon, a Harvard child psychologist. “We have fewer of them, we’re relativists, and we’re more swayed by them. A lot of parents are a little afraid of their kids.”

    For many parents, this campaign season also feels like a fond flashback: in their children’s unvarnished idealism, many see a resurrection of their own youthful political passions.

    “It’s something you can brag to your friends about,” said Professor Kindlon, who writes about child-rearing and adolescents. “ ‘My kid is involved in politics.’ ”
    Donna Wall, 50, an elementary school teacher from Roanoke Rapids, N.C., had been a supporter of Mrs. Clinton. But her son, Drew, 21, a college student and Obama volunteer, would not let up until his mother switched allegiances for the coming primary.

    “I’m glad they’re interested in something other than their own self-interest and partying,” Mrs. Wall said.

    Curtis Gans, a staff director of Eugene J. McCarthy’s 1968 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, pointed out that the youthful enthusiasm in this primary did resemble that of 40 years ago. But he said that while Mr. McCarthy’s temporary success was largely due to the support of college students and middle-class mothers, they had been aroused more by the issue of the Vietnam War than by the candidate’s charisma.

    “People are enthused by the fact that young people are engaged and excited again,” said Mr. Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University. “They think that’s really healthy, and they’d like to sustain it. But at this point, it is temporary and it is about Obama.”

    There’s no telling whether these youthful importunings on Mr. Obama’s behalf will tip the balance for the nomination, or follow him into the general election should he be nominated. Certainly Mrs. Clinton is not without her own fresh-faced vanguard.

    Rachel Mattson, 18, a freshman at Wellesley, called her mother, Michelle, in Memphis daily, pressing her to vote for Mrs. Clinton in the Tennessee primary.

    “I don’t see a huge difference between the two candidates,” said Michelle Mattson, 45. “But Rachel never let it go. You’ll be sitting at the dinner table for an hour going over this stuff! Her enthusiasm and what it means to her inspired me.” She voted for Mrs. Clinton.

    While Mrs. Clinton has a national network of student volunteers, Mr. Obama’s network is far more extensive. Web sites like Kids for Obama and YrMomma4Obama urge youngsters to talk up the candidate to their parents.

    The two adult sons of Governor Doyle, 62, both black and both adopted, spoke to him with fervor about Mr. Obama’s vision of a multiracial country. Then Mr. Doyle’s young grandson piled on.

    Article continued here.
  2. dong20

    Gold Member

    Feb 17, 2006
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    The grey country
    On occasion, just about everything. It's supposed to be that way, isn't it?
  3. Smooth88

    Smooth88 New Member

    Mar 15, 2008
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    Essex County, New Jersey
    GO OBAMA!!!!

    I worked on his campaign for about 2-3 months.
  4. midlifebear

    Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2007
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    Nevada, Buenos Aires, and Barçelona
    I think this may be the beginning of a new cocktail: "I'll have an Obama with a twist."

    Potential ingredients:
    Old #7, ginger ale, twist of lime rind

    Any other suggestions?
  5. D_Kaye Throttlebottom

    Feb 9, 2008
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    HA! I actually read this same article in the associated press 3 days ago and was going to link to it - but felt like we had enough on free trade to discuss.

    Ironic is that this article has some linkage in the new democratic registrations in PA. There is another sinister reason behind new democratic registrations in PA. Republicans are switching the registrations to Democratic in PA to vote for Hillary to protract that the democratic primary, so that they continue to attack one another to give McCain a better shot in the fall.

    Republican Crossovers Fuel Record Democratic Voter Registration in Pennsylvania. PA County Officials Say Several Crossovers to the Democratic Party Hope Their Switch Will Help McCain This Fall

    March 26, 2008

    Republican crossovers are a key factor in record-level voter registrations for the Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary, officials say.
    State Democratic party officials touted a record-level four million registered Democratic voters in anticipation of the upcoming primary on April 22. The Philadelphia suburbs and the state's central region, including counties where Republicans still outnumber Democrats, had some of the highest proportions of party-switchers.

    Bill Meck, a resident of a Philadelphia suburb, remarked that after 41 years of voting Republican, he recently registered with the Democratic party. "I wanted to be a part of the choice," said Meck.

    His wife, Patsy, a longtime Democrat, points to the race's historic significance as rejuvenating political interest among Pennsylvanians, including Republicans like her husband. She joked, "It's like being in bizarro-world. For the first time since I can remember, we're on the same side."

    While many of the new Democrats appear to be moderates or independents who simply want to be a part of the process, county voter registration officials in central Pennsylvania told that many new registrants spoke openly about changing their party affiliation to give McCain "a better shot in November."
    Officials in Perry and Northumberland counties in central Pennsylvania told that quite a few new registrants said they were switching to help the Republican party in the fall. Both counties are historically conservative, having voted for Bush in 2004 in wide margins, but the number of voters changing their party affiliation to Democrat this year is proportionally large, said the officials.

    The pattern echoes the Republican crossovers in the run-up to the Texas and Ohio primaries, which some political experts attributed to calls from conservatives like Rush Limbaugh for Republicans to register and vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton to prevent Obama from locking up the nomination and prolong the spectacle of the two Democratic candidates attacking each other.

    Michael Barley, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, says that as a party, they are not endorsing the switches, and that they are focusing on the general election and not the Democratic primary.
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