In 2008, young voters were a much-watched x-factor that helped Barack Obama take the White House by a comfortable margin. This year, they will be a key demographic again, but for the opposite reason. Obama’s path to reelection depends in part on his ability to get those young voters back to the ballot box — a tough sell for voters disappointed by the struggling economy and the absence of a vast shift in the culture of government.
But are younger voters really all that disappointed? A panel of younger celebrity activists at The Atlantic and National Journal’s Conversations With the Next Generation Town Hall — including Kal Penn and America Ferrera, along with moderators Chelsea Clinton and NBC’s Chuck Todd — pushed back against the idea that America’s youth are nothing than more than apathetic, uninformed, social-media-obsessed slackers.
“I reject the notion that there’s an enthusiasm gap,” said Penn, who jumped from making stoner comedies to working in the White House Office of Public Engagement after volunteering for Obama’s 2008 run. “The crowds that we had in 2007 and 2008, both in the primary and in the general election, are the exact same crowds I’m seeing now.”
Read more. [Image: Kristoffer Tripplaar]