Look to the children

by: Chris Bowers

Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 15:18

When I was in 4th grade, a bunch of my friends started a "Gary Hart Fan Club" after he won the New Hampshire primary. I remember joining it myself, even though my parents were for Mondale. Peer pressure is a powerful force.

While thinking about the old, 4th grade Gary Hart Fan Club Last night at a family reunion. I polled my niece and all cousins who are in 4th, 5th or through 6th grade to see who they were supporting for President. Every single one of them said Obama, including all the girls. And this was in Western / Central New York.

This strikes me as significant, since children of that age are a pretty good weathervane for popular culture. While it may be a small sample size, if the 11 year old set in suburban Western New York is trending Obama, that is a pretty strong indication of who has the momentum right now.

Thanks to Claudia, Erika, Danny, and Jacob for helping me with this piece. There is a very cute accompanying video that I will try to post soon.  

Chris Bowers :: Look to the children

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You had some pretty weird friends (4.00 / 1)
I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single kid in my 4th grade class who knew who Gary Hart even was.

Voter habits (0.00 / 0)
It's pretty well known that once voters go for a certain party once or twice, they tend to stick with that party for the rest of their lives.  Therefor, all else being equal, we really want the candidate popular with the youth to win.  Nothing else would be better for solidifying a Democratic Majority for the next several decades.

Sure, this is an extreme example and obviously doesn't include actual voters, but getting the excitement of youth on you side is worth something.

dude... (0.00 / 0)
In 1984, as a 13 year old, I manned a polling place near my home for Gary Hart!

(Schools in my district were closed for election day.)

While I have voted consistantly since eligible (I barely qualified to vote in the general election in 1988...election day followed my 18th birthday by only a day or two.) I have only experienced the energy of that 1984 Hart campaign one other time:  the Dean phenomenon in the summer and fall of 2003.

I think the Obama campaign is also experiencing that energy, although I am not.  I'm not anti-Obama (nor am I overly pro-Obama); the 'movement' aspect is just not touching me.  But I believe the movement is real and, I suspect, very beneficial for the party if Obama is the nominee.

the future (4.00 / 2)
Even though my husband and I lean toward Obama, my 11 yr old daughter is still stubbornly supporting Kucinich.  She likes what he stands for, and since she can't vote she isn't concerned that he has dropped out.  (Its kinda trippy to tell you the truth.)

OTOH (4.00 / 1)
Conversely, while I was on the phone yesterday with my aunt -- discussing her experience at the Nebraska caucuses -- her seven-year-old daughter proclaimed her support of Hillary.  She wants, she claimed, a woman President.

What I'm trying to say is that, while Obama may have a lock on the 10-29 vote, Hillary clearly gives him a run for his money among little girls. (This survey has a MoE of +/- 98%.)  Though I imagine her lead would shrink among more politically active second-graders.

(Note, there is an additional demographic consideration: my cousin is in a particularly unfavorable demographic group for Obama, as Asians, we are told, go 3-1 for Hillary.)

Political children (4.00 / 1)
Would tend to be far more idealistic right?  I encountered a shockingly well informed and cogent 12 year old who was all for Gravel and couldn't understand why us older liberals didn't love him.  

I don't mean this to be condescending either, I admit I hadn't paid a lick of attention to Gravel and was surprised how good he was on most issues.  

So anyway it doesn't suprise (or displease) me that kids would gravitate to Obama as the obviously more idealistic candidate.

This might be a silly comment (0.00 / 0)
But w00t for Western New York

I blog on InnermostParts.org

What goes around comes around (0.00 / 0)
George Jepsen and I went to Greenwich High School together. As Young Democrats, we went to Providence, R.I. to stump for McGovern, and stood in the streets of New York to make our stand for Allard Lowenstein.

He went on to Ivy Leagueville, the lawyer, CT Attorney General, and acted as a coordinator of the Lamont campaign.  Very mainstream.

I got my Masters, became a teacher, Fairfield County mother - the hippy was far in my past. Having summers off, I became a volunteer blogger for Lamont, and was elected Secretary of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

George and I met after 30 years at a peace rally at a McCain/Lieberman press conference in Fairfield, CT last week.


P.S. Thanks for being on the CFL team at Daily Kos, Chris.  

When was the tipping point? (0.00 / 0)
You can sometimes sense the currents of culture shift.

Remember when everybody couldn't decide if Obama was for real. Pundits asked whether he was too black or too white. Polls were evenly divided.

Here on the blogs, Edwards always seemed to have the most support, and then he bailed on us. We sat around discussing the candidates' policies (pre and post Edwards), even as public opinion was shifting, sort of like they were ignoring our discussions!

Suddenly it seems like the boulder is rolling down hill.

So, when was the tipping point?

I don't think we on the blogs had much to do with it.

In 1984 (0.00 / 0)
I was the Vermont State Student Coordinator for Gary Hart (and also was on my first state steering committee).  It was my job to get people from Vermont to pack up their car with sleeping bags and beer and go canvass for Gary.

Virtually all of the old Hart people I know are for Obama.  Except the person I most admired on that campaign: Jeanne Shaheen.

Another observation: my son is in the 3rd grade in New Canaan, Conn.   Most of his friends are the children of parents of well educated 30 somethings.  

My son reports everyone in his class is for Obama - I have heard 4 of his classmates say the samething.

Something serious is going on with Obama and those under 40.  I don't really understand it, but you have to be blind not to see it.

I know, (0.00 / 0)
I am 36 and I sense it, but I don't quite understand it completely.  I am still suspicious of all the politicians left in the race, but I am starting to feel the Obama "if not now, when?" message of hope and change.  

Hope really shouldn't be a four letter word (but it shouldn't be a brand either).  

Perhaps the under 40's see all the real dangers in our future (global warming, scarcity of resources, f'ed-up food supply, religious wars, corporations taking over with a healthy dose of fascism, overpopulation, etc) and feel we have to change it NOW for our childen and our retirement years.

[ Parent ]
1984 (0.00 / 0)
I was in 2nd Grade that year and remember on the day of the general election starting a "Mondale" chant which was quickly drowned out by roughly 90% of kids yelling "Reagan" back at me.  


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