October 27, 2008

Youth Movement--Not All Young People Are Obamatons

Young Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians (what, no monolithic vast right-wing conspiracy?) aren't prepared to concede the youth vote to Democrats, Obama, or socialism:
Wesley Dickinson, a 30-year-old Denver engineer, thinks the economy is forcing people near his age to confront politics more so than at any time since the 1970s economic downturn created a generation of Reagan Republicans. Since then, people have been able to live relatively comfortably and didn't care so much about what the government did; that no longer is true, he said.

"They haven't had to worry about the economy like our parents did," said Dickinson, a limited-government supporter who has had a keen interest in such things for many years. "The economy's been booming in general steady growth. And now we're getting into the first election times where people are scared."
. . .
Few young people read a printed paper, and many gathered at both Republican and Democratic young-voter gatherings in recent weeks said they don't own a television. They get their information from Web sites and even plan their social calendars through online networking sites such as Facebook.

And it is precisely because younger people can do almost anything in front of a computer monitor - organize a campaign event, donate money, air their opinions on a blog - that they are newly active, Justin Longo said. In the days of door-knocking and phone-calling drives 20 years ago, it was hard to hold down a full-time job and be an activist. Now, people of any income level and any work schedule can do so at any time.

"I'd like to think that without the Internet we would be so active. But I doubt it, because the costs of activism are so low this way," said Longo, 26, who is a "Web monkey" with the conservative Independence Institute in Golden. "With only a few key strokes, you put yourself in the role of an activist."

Internet users can find meetings or activities very specific to their peer and interest groups. This is how the postcard parties are organized. It's how 26-year-old Amanda Teresi founded Liberty on the Rocks, a group of free- market backers that gathers at bars twice a month in the Denver area to discuss politics or watch the presidential debate, as members did last week.
Activists from the center-right who can put to rest the image of the "good ol' boys" club of plder, blind GOP voters, with variations in ideology, diversity of backgrounds (the only true diversity), and a desire to foster advocacy of political positions with a decidedly non-progressive/liberal/socialist bent.

These aren't your typical post-grad, ex-College Republicans.

You can check out the musings and reports from Wes, Justin, and Amanda at Peoples Press Collective.

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