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January 4, 2008

The Republican Nightmare: Youth and Minorities Showing Up And Voting

-- by Dave Johnson

Brown is in. It isn't an all-white game anymore.

Minorities have historically been low-turnout and consequently haven't received much political power. I think Obama's victory in Iowa could change that equation. No matter what happens with turnout, politicians from now on will feel that they had better give minorities a place at the table. Just like when Ned Lamont won the primary against Leiberman and DC realized that the netroots are part of the equation now, they can't ignore minorities anymore. They are part of the power structure now - whether Obama wins or not.

And then there is the youth vote. Young people turned out in significant numbers - for Democrats! Does Obama completely change the equation? Is the "old" America with white elites in control starting to crumble? Could this be a sign of the progressive transformation coming at last?

Dare I use Obama's word, 'Hope'?

At Huffington Post, Arianna feels it, too:

Obama's win might not have legs. Hope could give way to fear once again. But, for tonight at least, it holds a mirror up to the face of America, and we can look at ourselves with pride. This is the kind of country America was meant to be, even if you are for Clinton or Edwards -- or even Huckabee or Giuliani.

It's the kind of country we've always imagined ourselves being -- even if in the last seven years we fell horribly short: a young country, an optimistic country, a forward-looking country, a country not afraid to take risks or to dream big.

And Nathan Newman writes at TPM Cafe:

The payoff from those organizational skills were obvious last night but the deeper significance could be a realignment of a whole range of voters into the progressive column, not just in November but over time.

I'm still deciding if this is just an organizational insurgency or a true political mobilization that could reshape American politics, but there is real promise there.

He voices the netroots concern:
My worry is whether he is really mobilizing them on the content of his substantive message or just the vagueness of "change" in a time when people are angry and distressed. I'm not annoyed like some at his "post-partisanship" message, since the best way to build a big partisan majority is to assert this kind of non-partisan inclusiveness. No, the concern is that the ideas and policies filling his "change" message actually connect with people beyond momentary distress to shape a real analysis of what's wrong with the nation.
To deliver that change, though, Obama has to go after the problem: Corporate Power.

Some more quotes:

Firedoglake:

. . . People wanted change, and their votes were cast based on who they see as best embodying that change. Obama did a great job energizing the youth vote. . ..
One of the best statements comes from Chris Bowers at Open Left:
The youth of America isn't navigating a path between the two parties, they are overwhelmingly siding with one party. What they want is change and youth within the party, not an older generation's status quo. They want a change in America, and a change in the Democratic Party.
Obama represents the change that Democratic youth want, and he does so in a way that neither Clinton nor Edwards could ever hope to match.
[. . .]
Congratulations to Barack Obama and his supporters. This is a historic victory for change. John Edwards should also be proud that despite facing a massive deficit in spending and media coverage, he still managed to finish ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. That is a testament to the strength of a populist, progressive message. Tonight, we saw a new generation take charge in the Democratic Party, and a populist, progressive message perform very strongly. This isn't exactly the result I hoped for, but I'm still pretty happy.
AmericaBlog:
. . . On the Democratic side, change won. Real change - neither Obama nor Edwards are considered establishment figures (though Edwards obviously isn't exactly some yokel just come to town). No doubt this was a huge win for Obama -- and correspondingly, a devastating loss for Hillary Clinton. There is no other way to spin it. Her campaign was built on inevitability -- and she simply wasn't in Iowa. Obama and Edwards had to run against the Clinton machine -- and it was (is) a machine. Bill and Hillary and all their friends, very powerful friends, put everything into this campaign. And tonight they lost.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 4, 2008 6:40 AM

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