Last night David #Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, called the task of #registeringyoungvoters a “Manhattan Project” for the Democrats, despite overall increases in #turnout in the primaries. His comment really hit me between the eyes, since my father worked for Robert Oppenheimer on the original Manhattan Project, and nothing anyone has said has so dramatically illuminated the magnitude and specificity of the challenge.
#NextGenAmerica was founded by #TomSteyer in 2013, long before he ran for president.
#MichaelBloomberg is purportedly searching for ways to ensure that Trump is not re-elected. By partnering with NextGen America, which has already registered 1.3 million young people, he could accelerate their impact, just in time.
As someone previously focused on campaign finance reform (see my last blog), I think there is a major difference between corporate or billionaire funding for a candidate and big money supporting voter turnout. After all, no new young voter is going to be influenced by the big bucks used to bring them into the political system.
Also, there is considerable research showing that voting for the first time leads people to become regular voters. It’s true that young people tend to vote for the Democratic Party, but wouldn’t it be interesting if some of those young people started to reform and revitalize the Republicans? I am a life-long Democrat. But as a political scientist, I believe in the two-party system, and I can’t help but want the Republicans to wake up and smell, if not the coffee, at least lunch and dinner later on.
Today, in his not-yet-concession speech, Senator #BernieSanders focused on his platform and urged #JoeBiden to adopt it. To his credit, Senator Sanders has always understood that major progressive change depends on young people. If he really wants to ensure that the Democratic Party and then the country focus on major changes, even if he loses, he could do worse than verbally support massive voter registration targeted at young people. I understand that this goes against his “Billionaire” rhetoric, but what if NextGen America, with Bloomberg’s financial support, was able to register 10 million young people in six battleground states before the election?