The election of 2008 showed record numbers of young people coming out to vote in the Presidential election with 23 million young Americans under the age of 30 voting. This was an increase of 3.4 million from 2004 and an 11% percentage point climb from 2000. Barack Obama was the candidate of choice with the 18-29 year old bloc voting a 2/3 majority in favor of Obama. Young people identified 45% as Democrats, 29% as Independent or “something else” and 26% Republican. They did not just vote for Obama, 52% voted for Democratic candidates versus 43% for Republican candidates.
Young voters are also more likely to self identify as Liberal – 32% – while only 22% of the general voting population defines themselves as a Liberal. The numbers flipped a bit for Conservatives, showing us that as Conservatives we need to do a lot more work with our young people. Of the general voting population, 34% self identify as Conservatives, while only 26% of the 18-29 bloc identify as Conservatives. (source: http://www.civicyouth.org)
To the end of supporting our Young Conservatives, Lady Libertas had the delightful honor of spending 2 hours on a phone interview this weekend with the Founding Members of the Conservative Youth Project.
As Lady Libertas (@ladylibertas93) on Twitter, I have known Cole (@paidgophack), virtually, since I have been on Twitter and through him I was also following Jackie (@soccersealusa), Ian (@pard68) and Ashleigh (@ashlabee).
Cole has always behaved so impressively on Twitter – he tweets good information, tangles with moonbats without being rude and has a great sense of humor. To my delight, I found the same was true across the board with all four of them.
So what makes them unique? They are all 18 or under. They have all made a very conscious decision to become involved on the internet and in person in the Conservative movement. They have also named themselves publicly as Conservatives at a time when doing so can create very tense situations. These young people blog, tweet, attend tea parties and are deciding what campaigns they are going to volunteer for as we approach 2010.
Since I was a politically active young Conservative, I was extremely interested in finding out what was going on with these young people that made them engage in politics and not only engage, but jump into a highly charged arena with both feet.
Interview with the Conservative Youth Project – Part One!
The Founders of Conservative Youth Project:
Cole (@paidgophack) is 14 years old, lives in Missouri and attends a private school without a religious affiliation. His Twitter bio self-describes as: Christian, Conservative, American, Astroturf, Cable News/Talk Radio Junkie, Water Polo Player, co-founder of http://thecyp.com, Teenager. Cole’s blog is “The Handwriting on the Wall” where he blogs and also has several other contributors.
Jackie (@soccersealusa) is 17 years old, lives in Michigan and attends a private Christian High School. Her Twitter bio self-describes: Christian, Conservative, Soccer Player, Bible, Constitution, Patriotic, Sarah Palin Fan, One Nation Under God. Jackie recently had an absolutely amazing experience of being interviewed by Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC as Jackie was waiting in line to meet Sarah Palin at a book signing in mid November. Please check out her blog to hear about her awesome journey these past few weeks! Jackie’s blog is “Red, White & Conservative”.
Ian (@pard68)is the eldest at 18 years old. He lives in Connecticut and is a Senior in public school. His Twitter bio self-describes as: An average Conservative/Libertarian(core values) American 18 year old. Support Israel. Abort abortion. Legalize freedom. I’m here to save my future, watch out. Ian’s blog is “17 pages – Words of the Founders. Echoed by the Youth.”
Ashleigh (@ashlahbee) is 18 years old and lives in Nevada (Harry Reid Watch Out!). She graduated from public high school in 2009 and her Twitter profile tells us: Christian & Conservative. I LOVE AMERICA!! This is the greatest country ever!! We are the Youth of the Nation, this is our country too! Ashleig’s blog is “That’s My Cue”.
All of the CYP Founders have been raised with Conservative parents and have the full support of their parents. YAY Mom and Dad!
The Conservative Youth Project has been formed as a ning group and us old folks can join too – Cole kindly gave designations like Youth Mom for the not so youth-filled (lol) that would like to show support. Please make sure you join and support: The Conservative Youth Project – Mix and Mingle with what I have no doubt are our Future Leaders!
Lady Libertas: What are the goals of CYP?
Jackie: “I want to figure out a way for it to be more appealing to teenagers because when you bring up the topic of politics to a teenager nowadays they could care less. They think it is stupid boring old people stuff. What I think that the Democratic Party did a really good job of this election was appealing to younger people and so I think Conservatives really need to work on the way they appeal to the younger generation. I’d like to see our website do that and also educate younger people because I think – I mean I don’t go to public school but from what I’ve heard, books I’ve read, things I have seen on tv, it’s almost they almost like they teach you that America is this weakened country but I think it’s about teaching young people what America was founded on.”
Ashleigh: The goal is to find more Conservative youth out there and give them a place to share their ideas and their beliefs. I have never had friends who are Conservative so what I found cool is that there are other youth out there that I have met and that share my beliefs.
Cole: I think it would be cool – this would be a long way away but – if we could get a lot of members and (young people) could use it as a platform to meet Conservatives in their area and they can go door to door like the Young Republicans or the Young Democrats of St. Louis. To go around and really help a real Conservative candidate get elected. It could be a springboard for that. That would be great.
Ian: For me the image of the United States has been skewed so badly. In my school, I go to school pretty urban and it’s almost a bad thing to call yourself an American or a Patriot at points. Nobody stands up for the pledge, nobody understands what it means. I just think if people can learn what America is about or what Conservatives are about and what we’re founded on and that we’re not – especially the rest of the world too – that we’re not power hungry and we don’t want to absorb your country and we don’t want to fight you for your oil. We just want what’s right for the world and we want what’s in our Constitution.
Cole and Ashleigh both spoke of Glenn Beck as a current role model. Jackie is firmly in Sarah Palin camp and Ian claimed the French philosopher Voltaire. For the Founders, in the vein of Voltaire, Ian said that he was partial to Benjamin Franklin. Jackie is a “big fan” of George Washington and John Adams. Ashleigh and Cole decided to reserve comment as they are both busy doing reading and research on the Founders. WOW. Lady Libertas’ jaw dropped – Young People who are doing research and reading outside of school?! YAY!
The election in 2010 will be the first opportunity for Jackie and Ashleigh to vote. Ian made his first vote in the 2008 election! Cole will be our secret weapon in 2014 midterms, especially if he continues on this path. For Ian and Ashleigh, they are in states that may be ready to remove Senator Dodd and Senatory Harry Reid.
Lady Libertas: What are your plans for 2010?
Ashleigh: I am really excited about 2010! I get to vote against Harry Reid and I finally get to vote for the first time. That will be fun! We have Sue Lowden – I am interested in helping out in her campaign when the time comes around.
Ian: I found a candidate that I like to replace Dodd – not a fan of McMahon (she supported the Clinton’s) as she is a RINO. I signed up and joined the website for Peter Schiff who is running against Dodd and made some contact. Schiff seems to be very core values Conservative – I would like to help him campaign.
Cole: My Congressperson is Todd Akin and he is awesome he is really Conservative – he is great. In 2010 I will support him. In 2012 we have Sen Claire McCaskill – I don’t like her. She needs to go. I am going to campaign with my Mom against Claire – We talk about going door to door and I am going to do that.
Jackie: I’ll be out of state for college so I’ll be doing the bulk of my “campaigning” this summer. For me, a new governor will be huge for Michigan. My hope is to help out Pete Hoekstra this summer. I see him as the best choice for Michigan! So fighting for a new governor will be my main focus for 2010!
At an age where peer pressure and fitting in become top priorities, standing up for what you believe in can be tough at best, especially when it may not be a popular stance with many people. We all agreed that we are all too familiar with the negative (I am being kind) reaction that Conservatives get on Twitter.
Lady Libertas was very curious about what kind of pushback if any is coming from friends, other students, and teachers. What kind of response are they getting?
Ian: I have learned, if I want to have a normal school life, I just tend to not talk about politics which is really simple because it is never really brought up in school. There is the gay rights issue (I stay quiet on it) and there are a couple other issues that have gone around school but I tend to stay quiet. The Conservatives stay quiet while the Liberals stand up. That is one thing that I am really trying to work on because we need to stand up as much as they do.
Cole: Two days ago, because of my Facebook status, I got – “Don’t you know that being Conservative is evil? They hate black people and they only like rich people.” People are just so clueless. I have to explain to them that’s not what we’re about – We’re about limited government. The teachers are no better – this week a teacher told me Dick Cheney was the real President. They made fun of Sarah Palin. It’s ridiculous. The kids at school don’t really know what we are talking about. I think if they really knew what we were talking about, they would be part of it. They think we are a bunch of old white guys who hate blacks and hate poor people and want money for ourselves.
Ashleigh: With my government teacher – we could not tell what he was. I describe him like a Bill O’Reilly Type. He would play off both sides. I have friends that are not interested in politics at all and don’t like to talk about it which is fine with me. I just don’t talk about it. I have another really good friend who is a Liberal even though she swears she is not but she is in Forensics and debate and she really knows how to debate well. We don’t talk politics either because we don’t agree on anything.
Jackie: I am in a private Christian School where everybody is Conservative for the most part so I don’t have to argue with my teachers or classmates or anything. I just have to tell my classmates that there is alot more to an argument against Barack Obama than he is an idiot. It extends beyond that.
Stay tuned for the next Installment in Lady Libertas’ Interview with the Founders of the Conservative Youth Project!
We will talk about George Bush, “Jesus is a Socialist” as an argument and what is on a Young Conservatives Christmas List!
I want to express my most sincere thanks to Cole, Jackie, Ashleigh and Ian for spending their Friday evening with me and suffering most graciously through my technical difficulties. You all ROCK & Lady Libertas cannot wait to cast her ballot for one of you one day!