Monday, February 11, 2008

The 21 Year Old Super Delegate: The Power of The Youth in 2008

Who the hell walks out on breakfast with Chelsea Clinton to make it to class on time?

Well, his name is Jason Rae and he has more than just Chelsea chasing him down. Rae, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Wisconsin, is a “Superdelegate.” He is a member of the Democratic National Committee from Wisconsin and is one of 796 free agents who can back any candidate in the upcoming 2008 Democratic nomination. Superdelegates compose about 1/5th of the total number of delegates voting in the 2008 Democratic National Convention and are selected based “solely on their status as current or former elected officeholders and party officials.”

On Feb. 11th, Rae was asked to join the former (and possibly future) first daughter Chelsea Clinton at the University of Wisconsin for breakfast. The conversation at the table surrounded the issue of electability and mobilizing the youth of America to get involved politically. Clinton also pushed talks about the strength of her mother’s campaign and the power behind her political experience over Senator Obama’s. Because the current campaign for the democratic national nomination for presidency is so close, the importance in gaining the support of these Superdelegates has become vital to the ultimate success of winning the nomination. Before the conversation could get too intimate, Rae politely excused himself and “hustled back to campus to get to his afternoon classes.”

According to CNN, it is not just young Chelsea trying to gain the support of Rae, but her father, former President Clinton, as well as former secretary of State Madeleine have called Rae on his cell phone in attempt to “woo him to the Clinton side.” Massachusetts Senator John Kerry also has contacted Rae pushing for Rae to endorse Obama.

What is most interesting is that Rae (along with a huge chunk of the population in their twenties) has never voted before in a presidential election because he turned 18 after the Election in 2004. This group of potential voters, who are soon to be politically “de-virginized,” has been given little attention and de-emphasized by both the Democratic and Republican party campaigns. Despite their attempt to contact every superdelgate in the country and offer them a lunch with a member of their family, the majority of political campaigns continue to eradicate the value of these first time voters. The youth in the past has demonstrated their inability to get up and vote, but the importance of the upcoming election juxtaposed with the current dissatisfaction with the Bush administration has been echoed loudly throughout the country, fornicating a national sentiment that this time the youth truly will “Vote or Die.”


Christopher Nicholson said...

I really hope he stays uncommitted. We need to remind young people that our voices matter; that you can't just write us off, and if there was ever a symbol of that, it's this guy.

Michael Escoto said...

I think I've heard this before:

"but the importance of the upcoming election"

I mean isn't every election the most important election of our lives? Young people deserve to be written off so long as they write themselves off.

Rex345 said...

How would his staying uncommitted send the message that you can't just write us off? He may remain in the spotlight but I think having him make a strong, intelligent stance for a candidate would be just as invigorating to our generation of voters.