Saturday, August 23, 2008

College Democrats: A Force to Be Reckoned With

During the week leading up to the Democratic National Convention a litany of various events, functions and political organizations convene to either lobby the attendees or entertain the populace. At times, various fringe organizations make a mockery of the Republican and Democrat conventions so much so that it turns off the faint of heart and the politically apathetic to be disgusted with the American political system as one that is too divisive or counterproductive. However there is a little known organization and conference held among our nation’s finest college students that has been the impetus of the national grass roots youth mobilization. It is almost redundant to state that the youth of America has turned out in record numbers to vote during the presidential primaries unlike any other election year in history, ever. You are watching history happen right before your face and in your local communities.
College Democrats of America is this well run organization that has mobilized youth in a manner much like the student groups that became a driving force during the Vietnam War. Among the sit-ins and campus rallies of the 1960’s our nation has turned the corner of American retail politics that is now more interactive than ever before. With Facebook, Myspace, and text messaging a metaphorical silent militia has been organizing seemingly by lamplight and town hall meeting for a day when the redcoats beach their boats on our shore. If you thought watching the clockwork coordination of the Bejing Olympics opening ceremonies was exciting, watch for the revolution of youth that will mobilize all across the country on November 4th.

Last night the College Democrats of America held their annual convention here in Denver Colorado. As part of the opening ceremonies the current President of College Democrats of America Lauren Wolfe gave a state of the state address of the organization. In this address Lauren Wolfe recounted a long list of the past years’ accomplishments as well as remarked, “It is going to be our (youth) vote that will win this election in November.” Within the past when College Democrats of America became a part of local or national political campaigns the candidate has won by small yet deafening margins. A fine example of this is when College Democrats of America turned out record numbers of students traveling all across the country to mobilize the vote for South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson who won by 533 votes. This was a devastating loss to the local and national Republicans who treated this campaign as a proxy fight between Senator Tom Daschle and President George W. Bush. Tony Kaninski Communications Director at University of Oregon is one of these students in attendance of the College Democrats opening ceremonies that knows his politics well and will shake up the red states for the next 40 years. Kaninski will a student to watch as to how he engages his mind and satisfies his intellect by shaping the outcome of local and national politics.

In 2004 while working in New Hampshire I ran in to Dan Glickman who was working at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Shortly before this once in a lifetime crossing of paths Dan Glickman put out a poll that concluded students aged 18-30 would become the swing vote of the 2004 Presidential election. Now in retrospect without truly understanding the purpose of this poll I would have said Dan Glickman’s fortune telling was a day late and a dollar short. However I approached Dan and inquired, “do you really think that in the 2004 Presidential election students will become the swing vote?” He candidly responded with tongue in cheek, “no I seriously don’t think that in 2004 they can mobilize to reach this goal.” Stunned having not much political experience to fall back on to analyze polls I stood their quite confused and asked a follow-up question promptly proclaiming, “then why perform the poll?” He responded, “this poll is a shot across the bow,” referring to the old cliché of Pirates casting off a warning shot to ships close by that they were about to be boarded and they intend to rob them. Now in 2008 having had a few presidential elections under my superman political junkie belt I can rely upon my expertise to conclude that Dan Glickman is a revolutionary patriot much like the Board of the past administrations of College Democrats of America. Dan had a goal looking one presidential election cycle down the road. He was pushing for the revolutionary “Call to Action” that the British Are Coming!

Equally Presidential candidate Barack Obama has now become the candidate of change alongside the power behind the youth vote, the force to be reckoned with much like the 2008 College Democrats of America. Watch out Republicans this is a new electronically engaged youth and you are working off of a Radio Shack Tandy 1000. You are going to need a new approach, a younger candidate and a newer message absent of the redcoat uniform militia. The Democratic Youth are coming.

*Aaron Thompson is the former National Communications Director of College Democrats of America and former Utah State Director for Richardson for President. He is on location in Denver Colorado for the extent of the Democratic National Convention working for The Utah Amicus 2008 DNCC State Blogger Corps and can be contacted through the Utah Democratic Party Communications Director Bill Keshler at

1 comment:

Patrick Everett said...

I was reading through your blog and since one of your subjects dealt with politics and the power of the youth vote, you might be interested to view or maybe even post this video on your blog.

As it is, more and more of America's youths are becoming apathetic to the whole election process, as well as with politics and governance in general, so hopefully, a video like this might rile them up and tell them to make a stand for their own future. After all, to paraphrase the saying, the future is what they make of it.

You can check out the video on this site:

As well as on YouTube through this link: