While we sift through the aftermath of the debt debacle, a new Pew Center study gives a pretty big hint as to how Republicans were able to get away with putting a gun to the country’s head. TPM:
A telephone poll by the Pew Research Center for People and Press found that Republicans and Tea Party-affiliated respondents both paid more attention to the debt negotiations and were more likely to take action to influence the outcome.
Some 66% of the two groups followed news on the issue closely versus only 34% of those who had different views or did not offer a political opinion. Nor were they passive observers: some 66% of Republicans and Tea Partiers followed the debt debate and 20% contacted an elected official during the standoff while only 5% of the rest did the same. This despite a direct appeal from President Obama to do exactly that.
As was the case in the midterm election, age was a crucial factor. Only 19% of 18-29 year-olds followed the story closely and 1% contacted an official versus 54% of those over 50 who followed the debate and 16% who contacted an official.
Two-thirds of people who identified themselves as Tea Party or as Republicans followed this story and 20% took action to contact their representatives and senators in Congress. Democrats? Well, Democrats apparently didn’t give a damn. Only one third even followed the debt ceiling story and only 5% did contact Congress. If you wonder why the Tea Party minority can control such a huge swath of Congress, it’s because the rest of us are apparently too cynical, too cool, or too depressed to care.
It’s 18-29-year-olds who are in the deepest financial hole right now. They are the ones coming out of college and trying to start a family with six figure college loan debt, trying to find jobs that involve not wearing paper hats or asking people how much foam they want on things, who are seeing their dreams crushed right now by the Tea Party right.
Republicans are trying to do everything they can to make it harder to get a mortgage, get a car loan, to get married to who you want to marry, to practice birth control, to have sex without consequences of carrying a child to full term, to get a job with solid pay and good benefits, to fight job discrimination based on sexual preference, race, or gender, and basically to live the American Dream. They are knocking out all the supports, all the help networks, all the safety nets that older generations had because the older generation has been convinced by the Republicans that they can’t afford it anymore, because it’s all going to “those people”. I got mine, screw you.
They’re the ones that stand to lose the most by starting out so far in the red in this economy that they’ll never see daylight and will end up as indentured servants. And the “professional left” is more than happy to assist Republicans in demoralizing the hell out of young voters. “You’re a sucker if you fell for hope and change.” “Obama is nothing but a corporate lapdog.” “You’re wasting your time supporting the Democrats, they’re just like the Republicans.” When you’ve grown up seeing Poppy Bush’s war for oil, Clinton being impeached and eight years of Dubya’s monstrous reign, you’d be too cynical to care…cynical enough to give up on Obama and let the GOP back into control after just two years. Politicians have always been scuzzbags.
But the second you throw away your right to participate in the American political system, it gets hijacked by those who remain until the bitter end…and in this case it’s the Tea Party and their enablers who want to profit from the chaos they cause. It should be the 18-29-year-olds lighting up the phones and tweeting their representatives and senators because they are the ones who are going to suffer the most. There’s a reason why the debt deal is backloaded to cause some real damage in the years down the road but not to the people on SS and Medicare right now.
Only 1% did. One lousy friggin percent. No wonder Congress thinks “We the people!” consists solely of elderly white angry conservatives. When you don’t give a damn politically, politicians really don’t give a damn about you. So instead of sniping at each other in the standard circular squad formation, let’s actually tell Congress what the hell we think about what’s going on. You can bitch and moan, or you can do something. Get involved with OFA. Contact your member of Congress. Tweet your member of Congress. Let them know you exist, you are a voting constituent, and that you have an opinion. (Be polite.)
But for the love of anything, don’t be that 99% that doesn’t give a damn under 30, or the 66% of Dems that don’t care.
Do something. Let them know.
(Cross-posted at ZVTS).