Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Four Score and Seven Years Ag-- ooo look, shiny!

According to Jeff Davidson, author of "The Complete Guide to Public Speaking," “The human attention span is 7 minutes, an all time low...If you're in front of a group and you don't have something humorous to say atleast once every seven minutes, you are going to have a tough time.”

We live in media obsessed country in which many of us determine our vote from the 10 second sound bites we catch on TV. For most of us our attention spans can't handle watching an entire speech from a candidate, so we wait for the highlights. Unfortunately, our opinion is then subject to the media's interpretation of the speech.

Neil Postman writes that the attention span of humans was considerably longer years ago. The specific example he uses in his book is that of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in the 1800's which were literally read from paper and lasted for hours. People stayed, listened and paid attention! Today, we can't sit through a 30 minute Obama speech, and he is revered for his public speaking!

But there is hope! There are plenty of speeches and debates to come and most likely wont be longer than 2 hours. We the young people of the U.S. are smarter than the pundits and grandparents say, and we do have the attention span for a debate and we CAN form our own opinions about it, AND WE WILL!

Here up the upcoming debates:

AND debates are already scheduled for the John McCain and the Democratic nominee for the following dates:

September 26, 2008: Presidential debate with domestic policy focus, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

October 2, 2008: Vice Presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

October 7, 2008: Presidential debate in a town hall format, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

October 15, 2008:Presidential debate with foreign policy focus, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Invite your friends over for a debate night and talk about the issues you don't understand. Use our handy invitiation on Facebook to invite your friends over or remind them to vote!

Good Job Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania broke new state records last week when voter registration in the Democratic Party topped 4 million! March 23 was the last day to register to vote in time for the Pennsylvania primary and a surge of people decided they wanted to be heard.

Pennsylvania has a closed primary, meaning a voter must be a registered Republican or Democrat in order to vote in that primary. Apparently Pennsylvanians decided that they wanted a say in the heated Democratic race between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama because according to their election officials, registered Democrats increased by four percent! Registered Republicans, on the other hand, decreased by one percent.

Of the more than eight million registered voters in Pennsylvania, 160,000 just registered for the first time! In the Democratic Party, the 18-24 age group makes up nine percent.

So after you made it through reading all of those exciting statistics, what do you think? What will Pennsylvania’s turnout be like on its April 22 primary date? Do you think the youth vote will be a key factor?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Race... Key Factor?

OK, I don’t want to alarm anyone, but something just came to my attention. Barack Obama is black. I know, I know. It came as a surprise to me too, but it’s true. For the first time in our nation’s history, there is a real chance that an African-American can win the presidency. But so what? The race issue seems to be one big elephant in the room that no one knows how to address.

One of Hillary Clinton’s top financial staffers, Geraldine Ferraro just resigned yesterday after making perceivably tasteless comments about Obama, saying “if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.” Although Clinton has called the comment “regrettable,” Ferraro has yet to apologize for her remarks. But is this true? How big of a factor is Obama’s race in his electability?

In Mississippi, apparently it’s a big factor. Even though Mississippi is a historically republican state, having voted red in every election for the past 32 years, those who did vote in the democratic primary on Tuesday created a palpable racial divide. On Tuesday, Clinton received only 8 percent of the black vote, and Obama received only 26 percent of the white vote!

In 2008, should a candidate’s race, or for that matter gender, play a role in his/her electability? Do you think that it will be a key factor if Obama is the democratic nominee?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Can You Do?

Voting in the Presidential Election is the absolute least you can do to participate in our democracy. For those of you who want to do more, here are some organizations you should look into. You can volunteer, intern, or just receive email blasts to stay in the loop!

These are just a few things you can do, if you have any suggestions to add to this list, email!

- Young Democrats of America

- Young Republicans National Federation

- League of Women Voters

- Write to your Senator or House Representative. Check out their website and see if they offer internships of have volunteer opportunities.

- Check out the conventions, internship and volunteer opportunities aare available: DNC and RNC

- Start your own Declare Yourself club on campus

- Get together with friends or classmates and hold Debate Night parties or Primary Results get-togethers. You can hang with your friends and talk about the issues. Many of us are new to politics and don't fully understand the process or the issues. Talking it over with your peers benefits everyone!

- Send out reminders on Facebook to register and vote!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where the Heck is McCain?

It’s easy to see why the media attention has shifted over to the democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This is hands down the most heated primary race in recent history for any party! But it’s only the primary. After the primary race is decided, the winner still has another tough fight ahead of him/her versus John McCain!

McCain is already the presumptive Republican nominee and has the Republican National Committee’s support. But don’t think that he’s sitting around doing nothing while the Democratic candidates duke it out!

Until his campaign officially re-launches in April, McCain will be keeping himself busy. According to the New York Times, McCain will be doing intense fundraising for his campaign, attending anywhere from 20 to 30 events a month. This will be a big push for his campaign because his fundraising throughout the primaries lagged behind both Clinton’s and Obama’s.

He will also take this time to travel overseas to Europe and the Middle East to analyze the US’s international affairs and deliver a foreign policy speech upon returning. McCain said he views the campaign lull as a perfect opportunity to “get our own house in order.”

McCain has an obvious opportunity to jump start his presidential campaign as the Republican nominee, but the main focus of most media is the never-ending democratic primary. Do you think it’s an advantage to McCain that he gets a head start as a party nominee? Do you think it is hurting him to be cast in the democratic shadow?

Monday, March 10, 2008

So...what about Ron Paul?

John McCain has reached the magic number of delegates needed for the Republican Party's nomination, and Huckabee decided it was time for him to go...but what about Ron Paul? Paul has been trailing the other candidates throughout the entire Primary season but he is still holding on! His reasons?

"Though victory in the conventional political sense is not available in the presidential race, many victories have been achieved due to your hard work and enthusiasm. We must remember, elections are short-term efforts. Revolutions are long-term projects."

Although he has run as a Libertarian in the past, he says in a video that he has no interest in running on a third party ticket. Although he is still in the Republican race, earlier today his campaign said they were planning to "wind down the race."

Do you think he should run on a third party ticket?


The Hospitality State sure is being hospitable! Since the Democratic race is virtually tied, Senators Clinton and Obama have been spending time their campaigning the heck out of Mississippi. And the question proposed earlier is will Obama be Clinton's VP? The Clinton Campaign (particularly Former President Bill Clinton) has said this would be a 'Dream Ticket" but the Obama campaign has responded with a flat out 'no.' What do you think? Dream Ticket? Or "you're dreaming!"

Catch Senator Obama at a campaign rally live from Jacksonville:

Don't pass on making your voice heard! Find your polling place here.

Oh and in case you missed it, New York Governor Elliot Spritzer announced he was involved in a prostitute ring. For what appears to be endless coverage, click here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do it With Your Friends

Sure, politics can be boring, especially if you don't entirely understand whats going on. But this election season is riveting! The primary season started historically early with states breaking party rules to move up their primary in hopes of having a greater influence on determining the nominees. For the Democrats, the opposite has happened and the states that can decide the political fate of Senators Clinton and Obama do not have primaries until April and May.

If you haven't already, register to vote now! If you have, then get your friends to do it! If you live in Pennsylvania you have 2 weeks left to register to vote, invite your friends to do so with our sick Facebook invitations created by Party On. Invite your friends to caucus or vote in the primary with our Cool Card on Facebook. Don't entirely understand politics? Send out a Party On invite and hold a Debate Night where you invite friends over to watch a debate or the primary results and talk about the issues together.

Politics can be intimidating if you don't understand them, but don't be afraid to talk to your friends about it. You can all learn from each other.

Florida and Michigan will decide Democrats’ fate (if they’re allowed to…)!

Is it weird to pledge delegates over a month after the primary has passed? Apparently not if you’re Michigan or Florida. Before their respective primaries in January, the Democratic National Committee revoked the convention seats of both states’ delegates after they violated the DNC’s rules by scheduling primaries too early. But after Hilary Clinton’s remarkable comeback on March 4, it seems unlikely that either candidate will have enough delegates to clinch the nomination before the Democratic convention. With 366 pledged delegates between the two states, these votes could push either candidate into the nomination, and both state governors are fighting to make this happen! So what does this have to do with the youth?

In a compelling article by Robert D. Putnam, he argues that refusing to count the votes of millions of young voters because of mistakes made by inside politicians could make young and first time voters fall back into their old habits of political apathy. He feels that it is simply not fair to punish the excited new voters for things out of their control. What do you think? Should these votes be counted, or should the DNC obey the rules they made? Would the inclusion of these delegates re-disenfranchise young voters? Is re-disenfranchise even a word??

Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, said of the situation, “The rules were set a year and a half ago. Florida and Michigan voted for them and then decided that they didn't need to abide by the rules. When you're in a contest you do need to abide by the rules.” Dean is sympathetic to the voters, however, and has started discussions with both democratic state parties to resolve the situation. “It's not the voters' fault in Florida and Michigan that they didn't get included,” Dean said, “so we think it's a good thing to have these discussions going on."

If you were in these discussions, what would be an appropriate resolution between the two states and the DNC?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Record Youth Turnout in Texas and Ohio!

“Young voters were inspired by the pivotal nature of yesterday’s races, particularly on the Democratic side, to participate in a wave that swamped prior youth voting levels and continued the unprecedented 18-29 year-old involvement in this presidential campaign,” said Marc Morgenstern, Executive Director of Declare Yourself. “Young voters stated loud and clear that they are an important factor in determining the next president and must be listened to.”

We have been reporting on the youth vote since the primaries began, and we are running out of ways to say that the youth vote turnout is soaring past turnout numbers in previous elections! But hey, we're happy to have this problem!

Youth turnout increased significantly in Ohio by 10 percentage points since 2000, with under 30s making up 15% of the total vote this year. In 2004 Texas (tied with Tennessee) had the lowest youth turnout in the entire country! On the Democratic side, where the race is tight, the youth vote turnout yesterday increased from 83,923 in 2004 to 449,173! Although turnout for Texan Republicans in 2004 is not available, the total youth turnout increased from 6% in 2000 to 17% this year. Overall we are very proud of the Lone Star State!

Since I can't resist a play on words...McCain is now the Lone Star of the Republican Party! After sweeping Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont, Senator McCain now has enough delegates to become the parties nominee and received But who will his opponent be?
Senators Clinton and Obama are still in the race to be the Democratic candidate. Clinton won Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island last night and Obama won Vermont. The delegate count, according to CNN, now stands at Obama: 1,520 and Clinton: 1,424. The first one to reach 2,025 wins the nomination! Stay tuned for updates or check out the Declare Yourself primary results page to see where the candidates currently stand in the race.

Hayden Panettiere on Larry King Live!

DY spokesperson and all around wonderful human being, Hayden Panettiere, was on Larry King Live Monday, March 3rd to talk about the importance of the youth vote in America. Watch a clip from the show below or watch the whole episode now on CNN:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Polls are Closing!

Today is your day to make your voice heard! The polls close today in Texas and Vermont at 7pm, in Ohio at 7:30pm, and in Rhode Island at 9:30pm.

Don't know where your polling place is? Click here to find out!