SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
A letter in response to yesterday’s post, which cited GOP consultant Tom Edmonds arguing that youth turnout for the presidential election would be smaller than expected.
Your 10/20 post entitled “Is it Over?,” mentioned that Edmonds thinks
the youth won’t show up. In your article Edmonds says, “The largest
youth turnout in the primaries was in Utah, where 16 percent of
eligible young voters turned out—and they weren’t voting for Obama,
they were voting for Mitt Romney.” The consultant appears to be
conflating youth turnout with share. See Table 1 of this fact sheet
for a state-by-state list of youth turnout and share.
In fact, Ohio and Wisconsin, not Utah, tied for the highest youth
turnout (under 30s) in the primary/caucus season–25 percent. The
share of young voters in Utah’s primary was 16 percent, but share and
turnout are very different types of statistics. The denominator is
important here. To calculate the share of a demographic, the
denominator is the total number of votes cast, while the eligible
population is the denominator used to calculate turnout. Thus, the
share is affected by how other demographics vote, while the turnout is
specific to the demographic in question.
Also, over 5 million young people voted in the Democratic primaries
compared to only 1.7 million in Republican primaries. Obama won 60
percent of youth votes in the Democratic primary. McCain won only 34
percent of the youth vote in Republican primaries, and he was on the
ballot in every single race.
Whether or not the youth vote will show up is unpredictable, but high
registration numbers and websites that make the electoral process
easier (i.e. govoteabsentee.org) are some promising signs.
Research Associate, CIRCLE
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”