Young people flocked to the polls on Super Tuesday, giving a boost to Barack Obama. The Illinois Democrat’s campaign has made a special appeal to young voters, and they have responded by giving him a larger share of the youth vote than any other recent presidential hopeful. (The New York Times, free registration)
What the commentators said
The race for the Democratic nomination would be over if young voters had their way, said The Boston Globe in an editorial (free registration). As many as 85 percent of Georgia Democrats under 40 backed Obama, as did 64 percent of young white voters nationally. “The only age group Clinton won in Georgia was 60 and over.”
Both Clinton and Obama have “intrigued young voters,” said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial (free registration). “Electing either a woman or an African American man to the presidency would be a historic first, and these candidates carry that promise with grace.” That goes a long way toward explaining why Democrats are “more energized” than Republicans this election year.
Everybody wins with “the reemergence of what we used to call ‘the generation gap,’” said Tim Rutten, also in the Los Angeles Times. The Democrats have become bogged down in “identity politics” in recent years, and the Republicans have grown divided over religion. Neither leaves much room for compromise. But division along generational lines is “a natural outgrowth of time and experience—things that yield malleable conclusions about which people may differ, reason and negotiate, and that's what healthy politics are all about.”
The high turnout of the 2008 primaries marks “the arrival of a new generation at the polls,” said Anya Kamenetz in The New York Times (free registration). “We should hasten the enfranchisement of this generation, born between 1980 and 1995, by lowering the voting age to 16.”