As we sing the last hoorahs of 2012, young politicas and politicos everywhere may feel a bit of uncertainty over where the next year is headed. We’ve seen many victories for our interests, but what will newly elected policy makers do to ensure that they earn their keep?
And what’s next for us?
Here are my five hopes for young people and politics in 2013.
1. For young people to go from special report to necessary demographic in national media.
It seems that the results of the November election came as a shock to the media and pollsters. We have proved that we swing elections and that we here to stay. And our age group piques the interests of many demographics.
I hope that instead of getting a special write up in Huff Post College, we will make it to the front page.
2. For young people to remain politically active.
In the coming year, young people must remain engaged with the political process in order to remain relevant. Just as the media remembered us in the 2012 election, they can as soon forget about us in 2013!
Since the U.S. reached the debt ceiling in late 2012 and the country’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history, talks of reaching a fiscal cliff have loomed.
The fiscal cliff is a term used to describe what will happen after the start of the new year if there is no budget reform. If Congress does not reach a deal extending tax cuts by the time the Budget Control Act of 2011 goes into effect, taxes will be raised for anyone in the workforce. The result may be another recession.
How can it affect you?
If congress does not reach a deal, $661 billion in new tax hikes will start affecting your first paycheck (a two percent increase) after January 1st. On January 2nd, $78 billion in sequester hikes will begin cutting on some government and private sector workforces, likely causing layoffs and budget cuts.
A friend posted a photo on Facebook of a long line at her polling place this morning with the comment that “it’s a good sign when voters are treating an election like Black Friday at Walmart.” Now we have to wait all day to learn which of the candidates brought forth this outpouring of interest: do voters think Obama or Romney is the better bargain?
Both campaigns have made mistakes galore, balancing each other out in about the same horserace numbers as the daily polls have recently shown the race to be. Romney’s worst was hoisting himself on his own petard of Etch-a-Sketch positions, thus eroding voter trust, then nailing his coffin with the deliberately false Jeep ad.
Obama’s worst mistake was four years in the making. He failed to run, as Harry Truman successfully did, against the “do nothing Congress” that is more at fault for the lack of economic progress than the president who at least put forward some ideas. He had to re-energize many discouraged 2008 supporters as a result. But thanks to the Republican War on Women which Romney could not separate himself from, Obama was able to seize a set of issues that resonate with progressive women who make up almost 60% of the Democratic base.
Romney’s mistakes were mistakes of character and likability; Obama’s were mistakes of leadership style.
Candy Crowley was the biggest winner in last night’s Town Hall for her real time fact checking on Libya. She also asked follow up questions that forced the candidates to clarify their positions. She is, however, wrong in saying that it doesn’t matter that she’s a woman. It matters a lot that other women see they can aspire to moderate a presidential debate if that is their aspiration. And I suspect having a female role model gave permission, conscious or not, to female questioners who asked about such issues as equal pay.
President Obama snatched victory from the jaws of his first debate defeat, while Mitt Romney snatched defeat from the jaws of his previous winning performance by being, well, Romney.
The optics revealed two alpha males, each determined to prevail. However, Romney’s body language was stiff and menacing, reeking of privilege, whereas Obama seemed comfortable and nonthreatening in his leadership responsibility as president and commander-in-chief. As Keli Goff observed, Romney not only appeared on the brink of losing his coolseveral times, but the way he brushed off Crowley was a turn off to women whom both candidates acknowledge are key to the election.
At this point in the presidential race, students like myself do not have time to sift through crooked statistics and tired rhetoric. We have enough of those things on our plate already, considering that we’re reviewing for midterms.
Romney and Obama could have saved us the trouble. Most of the students I spoke with at New York University, which I attend, were already informed about the policy issues addressed during the televised train wreck. And those who were undecided said that they were still thinking through both policies because the debate offered little to them.
“I thought both candidates did an excellent job at talking their way around some key issues,” John Facey, a junior studying creative writing, said.
The candidates were just picking on each other like boys in the school yard. One friend likened Jim Lehrer’s authority to that of a high school substitute teacher: only after the fifth warning did the kids eventually settle down.
And just like almost every American who watched the debate on Wednesday, the student voter population was left scratching their heads once Lehrer finally called it a night.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on CNN yesterday morning that Democrats have a “very excellent chance” of taking back the House in November – pointing to Mitt Romney’s selection of running mate Paul Ryan as a “pivotal” moment in the campaign.
The Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to win back the majority.
Politico’s arena asked: “Does it seem likely that the Democrats could retake the House? With a 10 percent congressional approval rating, are Americans even paying attention to House races?”
Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National convention last night was brilliant rhetorically and substantively. It was delivered with the passion of someone speaking her truth, the spark of a woman deeply in love, and the skill of a lawyer who knows how to build an arc of persuasion.
There was no ridiculous “I love you women!” moment in Michelle’s speech. There didn’t need to be because she actually communicated with women how her husband’s policies—from equal pay to reproductive rights—demonstrate that he respects and values them.
When Michelle said of Barack, “Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are,” she drove the ball straight home with voters. And she touched the hearts as well as minds of anyone watching.
Pundits will be talking all day about the meaning of the failed Wisconsin recall election.
The bright spot is that the recall process has forced Walker to moderate his language if not his actions and if the numbers hold out, he will be faced with a Democratic majority in the state senate to slow down his union-busting, tea-party sponsored initiatives.
But I see an ominous cloud of Obama’s making for the national elections in November. Will he learn from this that it does no good to try to deflect controversy from yourself and let other people take the fall?
Incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker has survived the gubernatorial recall election against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Associated Press reports. The victory comes after Walker divided Wisconsin by making changes to state laws governing collective bargaining for public employees. Though Obama won the state by 13 points in 2008, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney is expected to be more competitive in the state this fall.
Does this victory put Wisconsin in play for the GOP in 2012?
Resisting the cheap thrill of calling this the “War Between Women,” I nevertheless think this dustup pitting two views of modern womanhood against one another is worth acknowledging. Do you think Rosen was right in what she said?
During an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, Democratic commentator Hilary Rosen questioned whether Ann Romney was qualified to be talking about women’s economic issues since she’s “never worked a day in her life.”
On Twitter @AnnDRomney responded: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Do Rosen’s comments advance the Democratic narrative of a GOP “war on women”?
Or is it a mean-spirted attack on Mitt Romney’s wife of 42 years that’s like to backfire on the Obama campaign and fellow Democrats? http://politi.co/HBRdyo
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus caused a small uproar among Democrats yesterday after he compared the Republican Party’s female gender gap issue to a caterpillar problem.
“..If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars,” Priebus said on Bloomberg TV. Democrats quickly seized on the comments, accusing Priebus of comparing issues of women’s health to an insect infestation.
Are the chairman’s comments a sign that the GOP is truly not concerned about the gender gap it has with women? Or was it simply a poor choice of words that Democrats have blown out of proportion?
Caterpillars? How much deeper can the Republicans crawl into the muck?
Priebus’s remarks are just one more example of how the last bastions of sexism—and male hegemony over society’s powerful institutions—think. Or fail to think. Their disrespect for women is profound. Priebus’s unrepentant disregard for women’s intelligence and humanity will cost his party dearly in November.