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Posts Tagged ‘congress’

Why Millennials Should Care About Local Politics

Just this past week, millennials turned out in record number at the New York primary. According to exit polls conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE):
  • 18-29 year olds cast 408,000 ballots, making up a 14% share of total voters
  • 322,000 voted Democrat (78% of total ballots cast by 18-29 year olds)
  • 18-29 year olds split 65% to 35%, Sanders over Clinton
  • Senator Sanders commanded 81% of all 18-24 year olds
When compared to the 2008 presidential election, we saw almost 100,000 more 18-29 year olds show up to vote in New York. This runs counter to the stereotype that millennials “don’t care” about politics, and rather that they are ready to have their voices heard in this presidential election.

Millennials on average are more liberal than their older counterparts and are increasingly more frustrated with the establishment; but to make any real and lasting changes they must turn out for local elections.

While it’s amazing to see record breaking voter turnout in Presidential elections, the real nitty gritty of politics is won and lost at the local level. Local politics is a place young people have tended to avoid. For example, in the 2014 midterm elections, where no presidential race occurred, less than 20% of people between the ages 18-29 voted. Sadly, this was the lowest ever recorded.

In a poll of 1,617 people between 15-34 years old by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies found that 68% of all respondents think that politicians ignore the views of young people. In the same poll, a mere 7% said they have turned out for a political meeting.

This disconnect is real.  

Young people feel jilted, and politicians are not responding. Despite a generally negative view towards government, 64% said they would vote if they were aware of an election tomorrow. It seems both sides of the fence are stuck with inaction, except when it comes to presidential politics.  

Real consequences have stemmed from this inaction. 70% of all state legislators are majority Republican and 60% of all states have Republican Governors. If the right controls state legislators they are free to redistrict areas in their state to align with more Republican ideals. The system isn’t fair, but it can be challenged.

As previously mentioned, millennials are more liberal than older generations, but turnout less to vote. It’s going to take work on behalf of millennials to get involved, but it will also take work for politicians who share millennial values to reach out and connect.

With access to the internet rampant, there is almost no excuse to be uninformed. Here are some great websites to give individuals the knowledge necessary to get involved in local politics and make a difference.
  • Ballotpedia is a great resource to get information regarding candidates in local, state and federal elections as well as keeping up to date with ballot initiatives in your state.
  • Vote Smart formally known as Project Vote Smart, this website is a great tool to look up candidate and election information by zip code.
The next step is to get out there and push this presidential election momentum into every nook and cranny of the United States.

Since 2011, nearly one-third of 18-24 year olds’ TV viewing has migrated to the activities listed above. If politicians want to reach millennials they need to go where they are. Millennials are busy watching hilarious YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix, chatting over Facebook, obsessing over Tweets, sending stupid pictures via Snapchat, and reading hours away on Reddit.

As the political landscape evolves to accommodate the changes in media consumption politicians will have to adapt. Again, this is happening on the presidential level. Senator Bernie Sanders’ team released Snapchat geofilters before the New York primary, and a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton is slated to spend over $35 million on digital ads targeting millennials.  You would be hard pressed to find a state legislator who has anything more than a barely managed Facebook page — and that is a major problem.

The solution is likely meeting in the middle. The information “revolution” needs to be taken to the next level. Millennials need to know their mayors and state representatives, learning their agendas, and challenging them like what has been done on the national stage with Presidential candidates.

In turn, politicians will need to come to the middle as well. Utilization of social media and online video, speaking directly to young people in the mediums they are active within, and increasing authenticity through actions that appear less staged and more natural, will engage young people in ways they haven’t been. Continue Reading No Comments

YouTube Stars Join Forces in Controversial Ad to Upset NYC Congressional Election Following Baltimore Riots

NEW YORK, NY – Over a dozen YouTube stars have joined forces in a first-of-its-kind campaign to change the projected outcome of a U.S. election, urging voters in Staten Island and Brooklyn to cast their ballots in a special Congressional election Tuesday against the frontrunner, Republican District Attorney Dan Donovan who last year failed to convince a grand jury to indict the New York City police officer blamed for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

In the wake of riots in Baltimore last week over the police killing of Freddie Gray, yet another unarmed black man, 13 YouTube personalities with a combined total of 3.7 million subscribers and 40 million monthly views, appeared in the YouTube ad urging members of New York’s 11th Congressional District to vote for Democratic City Councilman Vincent Gentile in the special election to replace disgraced Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

The ad, starring Josh Paler Lin, Arielle Scarcella and Jaclyn Glenn, among others, was organized by USfluence, a leading non-partisan digital media company that specializes in connecting YouTube influencers with highly relevant causes, campaigns and candidates. While numerous YouTubers have appeared in commercials and PSAs for brands and causes, and three interviewed President Obama live shortly after this year’s State of the Union address, this is the first ad in which YouTubers attempt to influence the outcome of a U.S. election.

“YouTubers have a relationship with their fans that is authentic, highly personal, hugely influential and incredibly effective at driving action,” said Ryan Yudell, Managing Director for USfluence. “They believe police abuse of power and the subsequent political cover ups have gotten out of control. They believe Dan Donovan didn’t do his job as District Attorney to stand up for the citizens of the 11th District and they absolutely don’t want to see him promoted to Congress.”

The YouTube commercial, paid for by the Unifying America PAC, features popular YouTube personalities from within and outside of New York’s 11th Congressional District. Most have large fan bases of regular viewers who often see the personalities they watch on YouTube as an extension of their own friendships in real life.

“I am very selective about sharing my political views with my audience,” said Arielle Scarcella. “But when something as important as this comes up I just can’t sit on the sidelines and hope for the best. As Americans we have a right to expect fairness from the police and those in charge of making sure they are doing the right thing. Donovan didn’t do that and doesn’t belong in Congress. He failed us as a District Attorney and I hope my fans in the district vote against him on Tuesday.” Other YouTube channels featured in the ad are TheLip TV, MidweekPolitics, AverageBroTV, MrRepzion, Angry Picnic, SamSeder, SassiBoB, MotokiMaxted, studzlife101 and littlemisspaigexxx.

In the #itsgottostop video ad, the YouTube personalities from across the country take turns in making an impassioned plea to 11th Congressional District voters. “Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York police officer. The cop was never charged because this man, your district attorney, refused to do his job … The way things look right now, Dan Donovan is going to win. If you do nothing, he’s going to win. … You could literally change the election and show the world the police must be accountable. On May 5th, do your job and vote against Dan Donovan.”

The ad has so far been viewed 103,000 times by YouTube viewers in New York but that number is expected to rise significantly before the polls close Tuesday evening. The entire population of the 11th Congressional District is 724,434, according to Ballotpedia, and USfluence estimates that just over 310,000 people in the district are YouTube viewers over 18 and eligible to vote. Roughly 22,550 people are expected to vote in the special election with a voter turnout of only 20 percent anticipated in an off-election year.

Current polling puts Donovan ahead of Gentile by just hundreds of votes. The district, which has more registered Democrats than Republicans, tends to vote Republican in Congressional elections. In 2014, Grimm won his seat by a five percent margin.

USfluence expects its network of thousands of YouTube stars to participate heavily in the 2015 local political races, which include many ballot initiatives, leading into the 2016 election, where $6 billion is expected to be raised and spent by candidates and causes. The network has the ability to target ads locally, regionally, nationally and even globally, and reach very precise audiences.

See PR Web.

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