Candidates strike out with young voters

While the 2008 presidential candidates are taking potshots at each other, some young Americans are taking shots at the entire two-party system.

When asked to respond to a YouTube video by Medill News Service that shows young adults shouting the first five words they think of when they hear the words Republican and Democrat, one 19-year-old called the two-party system a failure, an opinion supported by a 28-year-old.

Adam Fletcher, executive director of CommonAction, an Olympia, Wash., group that focuses on young voters, said those opinions are typical of youth disillusionment toward the parties.

“Quite simply, the two-party system doesn’t reflect the interests of the majority of young people,” Fletcher said.

In the video titled “I say Republican, you say?” Washington-area young people used phrases such as “gay-bashing,” “out of office, please,” and “moral” to describe Republicans. They described Democrats as “elitist,” running a “pathetic Congress” and “hopeful.”

Young people were asked to weigh in with their own words on YouTube last month. The video received more than 1,100 views and nearly 30 comments, most of them negative toward both parties. One respondent used “high expectations, weapons of mass destruction, war” for Republicans and “easy way, pleaser, finding ways to better our education system” for Democrats.

Other responses were argumentative and clearly aimed at one party or the other. “They can’t understand abstract concepts, like ‘torture’ or ‘the Constitution,'” one said of Republicans.

A 20-year-old fired back, “You have to treat Democrats like the unpatriotic communists they are.”


On the Net:

To view video responses, go to