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I am concerned. I have been tabling on my campus for the last 4 weeks and the level of student interest/concern is extremely low.  California is not a swing state in the presidential election, but we have two very close Congressional seats and two vital propositions; Prop. 30 that would fund public education and the universities in this time of crisis, and Prop. 32 –an open assault on labor Wisconsin style  I estimate political interest and participation among California  students at 1/20th. of what it was in 2008.  This estimate is based upon response to voter registration and persons asking for and accepting literature on the propositions.  It is so crass that students could actually vote themselves a $495 rebate on their tuition – but there is scant interest.
Here is a reasonably well developed view of why the student interest level is so low.  My Vote Doesn’t Matter,

In part the generation that came of age in the time of austerity has learned to not expect much from voting and government.  After all, the Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement were projects of their grandparents.  And, it has been a very long time since organized labor gave us much to cheer about.  ( The UFW in the 60’s- 70’s)  How much engagement did you get from your grandparents’ struggles ?
My question is there something others are doing in and around their campuses that its working? – besides writing a blog post?  What can we do in the last 3 weeks?   We have a local  organization with 6,000 facebook members, what would work ? And, what can we do  to prepare for the important conflict of the fiscal crisis in November and December?
Duane Campbell

Originally posted to dcampbell on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You Might Check w Ohio Univerisities Like Ohio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    State. It's a swing state with high progressive mobilization; they would seem like a good candidate for source for you.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:26:34 PM PDT

  •  a few half-baked thoughts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, edrie, yella dawg

    I am no kind of organizer, but maybe someone will take pity on us both!

    (Your title threw me off at first: I didn't realize that you were citing an article called "'My Vote Doesn't Count,'" in scare quotes. It's an interesting article.)

    I have no idea what your table looks like. Do you have visuals that call out e.g. the tuition issue? If there's anything you can do to help get conversations started, you can learn something that may help you to sharpen your message.

    Try to bear in mind that the election is a comma, not a full stop. Whatever you learn from this cycle, you can apply to organizing after the election.

    Election protection: there's an app for that!
    Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

    by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:38:33 PM PDT

  •  Few suggestions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edrie, Crashing Vor, Ckntfld, yella dawg

    First, never expect most of what you do to work. I figure if 10% of my effort has a result, I am doing well. But you have to work the 100% to get the 10% result and that is still more than most people are doing. Change is never easy. But it is worth the effort.

    Second, contact the campaigns of those candidates in close races. Better yet, contact some local races like judicial candidates, school board, etc. THEY get very few votes and your efforts can make a HUGE difference.

    Third, have a phone banking party through Democracy for America.  This is a strategy that worked very well in 2006 and 2008.

    Fourth, if you are in any way trying to help a campaign, read Drew Westin's book "The Political Brain." It has a huge amount of information of how to approach voters. Consider it required reading for any politically active Democrat.

    Finally and most importantly, feel proud of what you are doing. Whatever the outcome, you are doing the right thing.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 06:23:57 PM PDT

  •  Two talking points: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For non-swing state voters in general, point out that, for a great many Americans, the popular vote will be psychologically  significant. Vote for Obama to tell the rest of America that's the way you want the country to go.

    For college aged people, ask why they wouldn't vote AGAINST a group of people obsessed with keeping other people from fucking.

    Okay, a third talking point, for anyone who says, "my vote doesn't matter":

    We've been wondering how to get through the clutter and reach low-information voters. Mitt haz it.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:01:04 PM PDT

  •  looks simple to me: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg

    One Presidential candidate wants to make birth control available and FREE; the other wants to outlaw it (or at least his VP does).

    One Presidential candidate wants to increase Pell Grants and keep student loan interest rates low; the other wants to eliminate Pell Grants and let private lenders charge whatever they want to, just like credit cards.

    One Presidential candidate eliminated Don't Ask Don't Tell, has appointed openly gay judges and ambassadors, has issued executive orders that treat same-sex couples as families for immigration and benefits for federal employees. The other side wants to go back to making sodomy a criminal act, and invalidate same-sex marriages.

    Does every vote matter? Yes. Even if California's electoral votes aren't in play, the national popular vote still counts. I hear a lot from my students about how it isn't fair that one candidate could lose the popular vote and still win the Electoral College -- I don't imagine they each thought of this independently, so assume there are media outlets planting this narrative, hoping that's what happens. So every vote that adds to Obama's national popular vote total makes that argument less likely -- and adds to his legitimacy in his second term.

  •  I posted a response to your comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg

    on "Out of the blogs, into the streets: Working the ground game"
    Your vote DOES count.
    Work the Downticket races, even if your state is solid Obama territory, he needs a cooperative Congress and I understand that you also have some important Ballot Measures as well.
    Don't despair, bump up your creative and GO!

  •  My daughter in CA… (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    … was talking to me last week about how her contemporaries (she's 28) feel disconnected from the election this time, because they feel ignored by the presidential campaign.

    She knows why this is (and she is participating in the Woman-to-Woman letter writing campaign to women here in NC) but it is what it is, according to her.

    I wanted her to write a diary on this (and I'd post it), she's thinking about it.

    I'm up to my ears in the ground game here in NC to think really deeply into this, but I saw your diary and wanted to let you know what I'm hearing.

    Dog be with us ;-)

    •  I live in California, and I've been trying (0+ / 0-)

      to get this message across for some time: all of my Democratic friends feel the same way.  They are angry because Obama shut the progressives out of his administration during his first term, so they're going to sit on their hands during this election. The apathy and anger here is scary.

      Most of them believe that Obama will go back to being the same person he was during his first term so they feel they have no reason to get excited about his re-election.  That is why I've been trying to get people on this site to pressure the President to make amends with the members of his base, but everytime I make those type of suggestions, I'm called a troll or I'm told I don't belong here.  

      I've talked to enough California Democrats to know that their minds aren't going to be changed by gimmicks or tricks...the only thing that will motivate them to vote is a believable promise that the Obama administration will be drastically different during the second term...but right now, they don't see that happening, so they're willing to sit out this election.

      People my age are furious at him because he placed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the bargaining table; they want him to promise, unequivocally, that he will not touch those programs.  If he doesn't do that, then he will lose a lot of boomer progressives in November.

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