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Reaganís Youth Appeal
Media Research Center ^ | 8/21/07 | L. Brent Bozell III

Posted on 08/21/2007 7:56:44 AM PDT by qam1

After CNN and YouTube organized a fairly silly and yet seriously liberal presidential debate for the Democratic presidential candidates this summer, GOP contenders developed cold feet about placing their ambitions at the feet of these groups. When only two GOP candidates accepted invitations for a proposed CNN/YouTube debate in September, the event was post-poned until November. In response, a set of conservative bloggers have started a website called Savethedebate.com, urging that “Republicans cannot afford to write off the Internet” and risk “denigrating” the youth vote and the way they communicate.

These bloggers are fine conservatives, but no one should be under the illusion that writing off one website is “writing off the Internet.” That said, GOP candidates do not have the Democrats’ luxury of ignoring hostile media outlets like FOX as if they did not exist. But hopefully the Republicans’ reluctance to sign up may have convinced CNN to avoid the usual bombardment of questions from the left. CNN executive David Bohrman insisted that conservatives will get their Internet video questions in for the proposed GOP debate, but conservatives are understandably wary. They didn’t exactly get serious questions in to the Democrats in their YouTube turn, certainly not in the way to match the body blows Republicans will surely receive from liberals at their event.

Media bias aside, there is also no question that Republicans have a lot of work to do with the youth vote, and if mastering new technologies is part of that work, then it should be embraced with gusto. Consider how much better Republicans could be doing with new voters right now, and how important capturing young voters can be in creating a lifelong political bond. Think back to the Reagan Revolution. For a man constantly questioned as too old a man to be president, Ronald Reagan did a terrific job of winning young voters to his cause, and keeping them for the long haul.

Gallup election-year surveys showed the Democrats winning by larger margins among younger voters (under 30s) throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, and into 1980. But along came Reagan, and all that changed. In 1984 and 1988, younger voters swung heavily into the GOP column, picking Reagan over Mondale by 20 points and George H.W. Bush over Dukakis by 26.

This might come as a surprise to many because the media only celebrate the youth vote when it’s a liberal vote. Did you know that, in 1984, the youngest voters were Reagan’s greatest asset? In a pre-election poll taken for Time magazine, voters aged 18 to 24 said they were backing or leaning toward Reagan by a margin of 45 points – 63 percent to 18 – a lead nearly ten points wider than in any other age bracket. Recent Pew surveys show that even after 20 long years, these Reagan Youth voters remain the strongest supporters of GOP candidates. While other age groups show a strong identification with the Democrats, Republicans still match the Democrats among fortysomethings.

Since 2002, the Republicans have trailed badly among younger voters, Karl Rove’s alleged genius notwithstanding, CNN exit polls after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush trailed Al Gore by only two points, 46 percent to 48. But since then, young voters have swung dramatically and solidly toward the Democrats. CNN exit polls in 2004 showed that John Kerry beat Bush only among voters under 30 (by a 54 to 45 percent margin). In the 2006 elections, young voters gave Democrats a whopping advantage of 60 to 38 percent, far more than any other age group.

What was the Reagan magic with the young? Two crucial factors were patriotism and optimism, two themes that clearly distinguished him from the Carter-Mondale-Dukakis malaise message. Reagan boldly stated that government was the problem, not the solution. But that message was stated positively, as a tribute to all that We the People could do in all of our “private sector” strivings. Internationally, Reagan did not merely state that America was great because it was expansive and prosperous; our country was great because its founding ideas of liberty and representative democracy were great.

These messages are still awaiting any Republican contender eager to inspire the young in an era when liberals have cast America in a harshly negative light, as oppressing our citizenry and the world while fighting an allegedly nonexistent terrorist threat. Republicans would do well not just to re-visit these ideas but then also to learn how to deliver them to the young. It would be good to see conservatives and CNN/YouTube resolve their differences.


TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bozell; genx; reagan

1 posted on 08/21/2007 7:56:47 AM PDT by qam1
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

2 posted on 08/21/2007 8:01:53 AM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1
What was the Reagan magic with the young? Two crucial factors were patriotism and optimism

Exactly. I also love his confidence and general mastery of life mixed with a fabulous sense of humor.
3 posted on 08/21/2007 8:14:09 AM PDT by Vision ("Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7)
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To: qam1

bump


4 posted on 08/21/2007 8:45:22 AM PDT by Christian4Bush ("Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." Hold a hearing on that.)
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To: qam1
>>>>>Media bias aside, there is also no question that Republicans have a lot of work to do with the youth vote ...

Republicans have a lot of work to do with all age groups. If the GOP`s powers that be think Rooty is the answer and try to shove him down our throats, conservatives in general will react accordingly. A third party vote won't be out of the question.

5 posted on 08/21/2007 8:54:52 AM PDT by Reagan Man (FUHGETTABOUTIT Rudy....... Conservatives don't vote for liberals!)
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To: qam1
Obviously there's a problem because the blistering pitches that the Reps will recieve compared to the softballs the Dems recieved makes going through with this seem like a no-win situation. But ignoring it all together is not good either. I couldn't see that YouTube debate as anything other than an idiotic farce, but there's got to be *some* level of an analogous attempt. Some other party has got to step up to the plate and put something together where Republicans will feel like
A) They're not going to be comparatively ambushed
B) it will be serious people asking serious questions, not some asshat in a chicken costume.
6 posted on 08/21/2007 9:47:52 AM PDT by jack_napier
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To: Reagan Man
a third party vote won't be out of the question.

I understand your angst, but ANY third party vote that splits the pubbies guarantees a Hillary in office.

I didn't like Bush Sr., I voted for Perot. What I got was 8 years of Clinton. I have no love for Rudy or Romney, I kinda like Fred IF he ever gets into the race. I like Hunter, but doubt he has any real shot other than a VP slot for one of the above. Whoever runs against her highness gets my vote.

The point being, the pubbies could put Micky Frickin Mouse on a ticket and I would be whistlin "It's a small world after all" all the way into the voting booth.

Next year I'm voting for ABH...Anybody But Hillary.

7 posted on 08/21/2007 11:16:53 AM PDT by lovecraft (Specialization is for insects.)
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To: qam1
Did you know that, in 1984, the youngest voters were Reagan’s greatest asset?

It's nice to be appreciated.

I cast my first presidential ballot at the tender age of 19 for the Gipper.

8 posted on 08/21/2007 11:30:30 AM PDT by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: qam1

Reagan was Grandpa who took GenXers aside and said “You dont have to listen to that Hippie shit...come sit down with me and I’ll tell you how America can be strong and brave and good.” He was the antidote to postmodernism and anti-hero propoganda. He was the Guy in the White Hat who made us feel like there was a fighting chance.


9 posted on 08/21/2007 1:18:36 PM PDT by Alkhin (star dust contemplating star dust)
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To: lovecraft

“Next year I’m voting for ABH...Anybody But Hillary.

i agree
i will vote for Fred in the primary if he ever jumps into the race
if he doesnt get thru then i will vote for the candidate with the R next to his name
like you say Anybody but Hillary


10 posted on 08/21/2007 1:47:46 PM PDT by DM1
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To: lovecraft

Reagan was the last President I voted for. In subsequent elections I voted against candidates, not for a particular one.


11 posted on 08/21/2007 1:50:18 PM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Still Championship U)
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To: qam1

The shock for the mainstream media back then was the strong support from us Baby Boomers who helped to vote Reagan into office. My first election was 1980 when we voted Carter out and Reagan in. In a way, I consider Reagan the Baby Boomers’ president to a degree even more than other age groups.


12 posted on 08/21/2007 5:51:38 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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