i want my mtv…

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2006

Like everyone else, I’ve been thinking about the votes yesterday and today on Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation. Here’s the data as well as I can present it:


Today, the Senate confirmed Alito 58 to 42. Yesterday, the Senate voted for cloture 72 to 25 with 3 no votes. What got to a lot of us was the group who voted ‘yes’ to cloture yesterday [19 Democrats], but then voted against confirmation [15/19]. Why didn’t they support the filibuster? Had they voted against cloture, we’d be listening to a filibuster today [Yes 72-15=57, No 25+15=40, No Vote=3]. So how come?

  • They didn’t want to piss off their constituents
  • They didn’t want to piss off BushCo
  • They saw it as a lost cause
  • They saw it as a leftist extreme position
  • They’re closet Republicans

etc. I’m not sure I know the answer, but what I do know is that politics is about votes. I gather that the Senators didn’t see those of us who were so passionate about the issue as controlling that many votes – in spite of the bellwether campaign.

And then I got emails from a few friends who are my [60+] age range, and they were saying that the general populace isn’t that into the Internet, and that the ‘bloggers’ might not have the power to inspire the mass of the voting populace. 

I realized that I was thinking along the same general lines, but it took me down a different path. Why aren’t the people who are part of the Internet community not taken so seriously. That lead me to the U.S. Census site. Who is the Internet Community? Young adults, that’s who. Young adults don’t vote. Sad but true:

Only about 50% of the 18-24 year old group is registered, and only about 40% of them vote. The 24-44 year old group is only slightly better:


There are millions and millions of young adults who are either not registered or registered and not voting. If their registration and voting numbers were brought up to par with other age groups, it would represent a gargantuan voting block. Then those Senators would listen, and hear the music. Guaranteed.

So the unregistered and non-voting 20-somethings and 30-somethings would be the untapped resource, and they are also the Internet generation. When I read the bloggers trying to figure out what to do next, or which organization to ‘join,’ my answer is to figure out how to turn these unregistered, uninvolved young adults into a voting block to be reckoned with. How about that for advice – MTV, Boing-Boing, etc. rather that the traditional political organizations. Make it ‘cool’ to be involved and active. It actually is ‘cool’ and, to borrow a term from W., it’s your ‘base.’

It worked 40 years ago…

    Gary Peterson
    February 1, 2006 | 9:50 PM

    Much good food for thought. Thanks for the work and keep it up. Truth is on our side.

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