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“Brexit Is A Warning To Young American Voters”: Historically Low Young Voter Turnout Trend

The results of the Brexit referendum shine a light on the importance of the youth vote, and young Americans should learn from them as we approach our own crossroads in November.

Seventy-five percent of voters 24 and younger were against the Brexit, and for remaining in the European Union. British voters 49 and younger also favored the Remain option, according to polls conducted before the vote.

A poll taken before election day showed that 34 percent of pensioners backed Remain, and 59 percent backed the Brexit.

“Young people voted to remain by a considerable margin, but were outvoted. They were voting for their future, yet it has been taken from them.” Liberal Democratic leader Tim Farron said of Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union.

British youth overwhelmingly took to social media to express feelings of helplessness about facing a future they did not choose. Many were angry that older voters who have enjoyed the benefits of the European Union decided on a different, uncertain path for the future generations.

“This decision was made by an aging population who has spent decades reaping the many benefits of the EU. These people have voted for a future that is not their own,” wrote university student Alana Chen in a Facebook post. “They will not be here to feel the full effects of the devastation they have caused with their votes. It’s us, the student generation that now have to live with something we voted against. Tell me how that’s fair?! Our country is crumbling and we’re completely helpless to stop it. Utterly devastating.”

Political journalist Nicholas Barret wrote in a now-viral reaction to the vote: “The younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.”

Even voters who chose the Leave option have expressed regret after their side won.

“I did not think that was going to happen, I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain,” a young man named Adam told the BBC.

Voting preferences showed a strong correlation with age. East coast areas, which have the largest pensioner populations, scored the highest pro-Brexit votes. YouGov poll results in the days before the vote told a clear story:

Age breakdown on Brexit polls tells underlying story. Older generation voted for a future the younger don’t want: pic.twitter.com/kMPECqQF6u

— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) June 24, 2016

The Guardian broke down the British youth vote:

Voter ages are not recorded, but in urban areas where the average age was 35 and under, electoral commission data showed overwhelming support for remaining in the EU. This was particularly marked in the London local authorities of Lambeth, Hackney and Harringey, where the average age is between 31 and 33, and which all voted over 75% in favour of remaining in the EU.

Oxford and Cambridge, the councils with the highest percentage of 18- to 25-year-olds, were also remain strongholds, as was Tower Hamlets, which has the highest percentage of 21- to 30-year-olds. According to YouGov polling before the referendum result, 64% of under-25s said they wanted the UK to remain. With a life expectancy for that generation of 90, younger voters have approximately eight more decades to live compared with the voters who most favoured leaving, the over 65s.

For all their agreement on the right direction for Britain, youth turnout to vote was, perhaps predictably, low. In the largest turnout election in decades in Britain, the number of attainers, or newly eligible voters, fell by 40 percent.

The vote was also held over the summer, when many young people are in summer vacation from college.

According to a Times poll taken at Glastonbury music festival, 22 percent of the young attendee’s did not vote, with 65 percent of those saying they wanted to vote to Remain but did not register in time. They would have added about 15,000 votes to the Remain side.

Michael Sani, a member of the youth voting group Bite the Ballot, said that young voter turnout was negatively affected by the direction of both campaigns, which ignored youth engagement because of the historically low turnout of young voters.

“If no one inspires you, that is how you end up being marginalized, divided and fearing,” Sani told The Guardian. “This generation are so passionate, they care so much about issues, but they are just not empowered to use the means of communication to get through to make real change. Both campaigns have been a disaster in terms of meaningful engagement on such complex issues.”

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has announced his resignation after the Brexit, missed his chance to appeal to young voters. The Cameron-lead government rejected requests from Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party to allow 16- and 17-year olds to vote in the referendum.

As America faces its own vote in November — one that has been compared to Brexit by presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump, who backed the Leave option — young people can have a voice in what is sure to be a decisive moment in American history.

They will either follow the historically low young voter turnout trend that contributed to Britain’s exit from the EU, and has been a consistent factor in American politics, or they could learn from this seismic moment in British history and break the pattern.

 

By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, June 24, 2016

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Brexit, Donald Trump, European Union, Young Voters | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why Serious People Discount Fox News”: What The European Response Tells Us About Ourselves For This Garbage

Tucker Carlson said on Fox that more children die of bathtub drownings than of accidental shootings. They don’t.

Steve Doocy said on Fox that NASA scientists faked data to make the case for global warming. They didn’t.

Rudy Giuliani said on Fox that President Obama has issued propaganda asking everybody to “hate the police.” He hasn’t.

John Stossel said on Fox that there is “no good data” proving secondhand cigarette smoke kills nonsmokers. There is.

So maybe you can see why serious people — a category excluding those who rely upon it for news and information — do not take Fox, well … seriously, why they dub it Pox News and Fakes News, to name two of the printable variations. Fox is, after all, the network of death panels, terrorist fist jabs, birtherism, anchor babies, victory mosques, wars on Christmas and Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. It’s not just that it is the chief global distributor of unfact and untruth but that it distributes unfact and untruth with a bluster, an arrogance, a gonad-grabbing swagger, that implicitly and intentionally dares you to believe fact and truth matter.

Many of us have gotten used to this. We don’t even bother to protest Fox being Fox. Might as well protest a sewer for stinking.

But the French and the British, being French and British, see it differently. And that’s what produced the scenario that recently floored many of us.

There was Fox, doing what Fox does, in this case hosting one Steve Emerson, a supposed expert on Islamic extremist terrorism, who spoke about so-called “no go” zones in Europe — i.e., areas of Germany, Sweden, France and Great Britain — where non-Muslims are banned, the government has no control and sharia law is in effect. Naturally, Fox did not question this outrageous assertion — in fact, it repeated it throughout the week — and most of us, long ago benumbed by the network’s serial mendacities, did not challenge Fox.

Then, there erupted from Europe the jarring sound of a continent laughing. British Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson an “idiot.” A French program in the mold of The Daily Show sent correspondents — in helmets! — to interview people peaceably sipping coffee in the no-go zones. Twitter went medieval on Fox’s backside. And the mayor of Paris threatened to sue.

Last week, Fox did something Fox almost never does. It apologized. Indeed, it apologized profusely, multiple times, on air.

The most important takeaway here is not the admittedly startling news that Fox, contrary to all indications, is capable of shame. Rather, it is what the European response tells us about ourselves and our waning capacity for moral indignation with this sort of garbage.

It’s amazing, the things you can get used to, that can come to seem normal. In America, it has come to seem normal that a major news organization functions as the propaganda arm of an extremist political ideology, that it spews a constant stream of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, paranoia and manufactured outrage, and that it does so with brazen disregard for what is factual, what is right, what is fair, what is balanced — virtues that are supposed to be the sine qua non of anything calling itself a newsroom.

If you live with aberrance long enough, you can forget it’s aberrance. You can forget that facts matter, that logic is important, that science is critical, that he who speaks claptrap loudly still speaks claptrap — and that claptrap has no place in reasoned and informed debate. Sometimes, it takes someone from outside to hold up a mirror and allow you to see more clearly what you have grown accustomed to.

This is what the French and the British did for America last week.

For that, Fox owed them an apology. But serious people owe them thanks.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist, The Miami Herald; The National Memo, January 26, 2015

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Europe, Fox News, Journalism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“More Rancid Red Meat”: For Republicans, Muslims Will Be The Gays of 2016

Now that Republicans realize that the fight over gay marriage is over, they’re pivoting back to the old reliable: Muslims. It’s true that Muslim-bashing among Republicans is hardly new, but I think that as 2016 approaches we’re going to see even more of it as candidates try to outflank one another.

The latest example was LouisianaGovernor’s Bobby Jindal’s speech on Monday in London. Jindal told the audience that there are “no-go zones” in Europe where Muslims have in essence carved out Islamic “autonomous” zones that are ruled by Koranic law and where non-Muslims fear to tread. His point, of course, was to warn Americans that Muslims could try the same thing in the United States.

Now if that concept sounds familiar it’s because last week Fox News served up this same rancid red meat to its viewers. Some Fox News anchors claimed these so-called “no-go zones” existed in parts of France. And Fox News’ terrorism “expert” Steve Emerson even went as far as to say that Birmingham, England, the nation’s second biggest city with more than one million people, was a “totally Muslim city where non-Muslims don’t go in.

The backlash to these comments was swift. Even British Prime Minster David Cameron responded, “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot.”

Fox News stirring up fear of Muslims is nothing new. In fact, in my view it’s part of Fox’s business model since its viewers hold the most negative views of Muslims of any cable news audience. Fox is simply giving their viewers what they want to see.

But a few days ago, Fox did something truly shocking. They apologized for making the claims about Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” in Europe. In fact, they apologized not once, but four times, and admitted unequivocally that these “no-go zones” don’t even exist.

Yet even though the Fox retractions occurred days before Jindal delivered his speech, that didn’t stop him from asserting the same baseless claims. After his speech, Jindal was asked by a CNN reporter for specifics on where exactly these “no-go zones “are located. Jindal, in what looked almost like a sketch from Saturday Night Live, hemmed and hawed, finally responding: “I think your viewers know.

For those unfamiliar with Jindal, he’s no Louie Gohmert. He’s an Ivy League graduate and a Rhodes scholar. Jindal’s remarks were not a mistake, but rather part of a calculated strategy to garner support from more conservative Republicans for an expected2016 presidential run.

Now, in the past, candidates trying to garner support from these right wing voters could use opposition to gay marriage to curry favor. As conservative James Kirchick noted in an article he penned for The Wall Street Journal in 2008, the Republican Party has a long history of its candidates using not just opposition to gay marriage, but also anti-gay rhetoric to attract support from the GOP Base. Kirchick went on to urge Republicans to “kiss gay-bashing goodbye.

But we still saw this bigotry in the 2012 race. For example, Rick Perry ran a campaign commercial that said you know “there’s something wrong with this country when gays can openly serve in the military.

Polls, however, now show a majority of Americans support gay marriage. And even the Mike Huckabees of the GOP would have to admit that after the Supreme Court announced Friday that it is considering the constitutionality of same-sex marriage this term, gay marriage will likely soon be the law of the land. Bottom line: gay marriage will probably be dead as an issue capable of rallying conservative voters.

So what do you do if you are a Republican candidate seeking conservative votes? Simple. Bash Muslims. We are truly an easy target. First, Muslims are a small percentage of our nation’s population at approximately 1 to 2 percent. Second, there are horrible Muslims who do commit terror in the name of our faith, which does offer cover for anti-Muslim bigotry. Third, we still don’t have many allies outside of our community that stand with us.

Sure, we have some interfaith supporters. But when ant-gay comments are made, like in the case of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Roberson in 2013, the response by the left was swift and united. But with anti-Muslim bigotry, we don’t see that. We see silence from many on the left, including from most Democratic elected officials. And worse, we see some outright anti-Muslim fear mongering by so-called liberals like Bill Maher.

If I’m right, what can we expect to see as the 2016 presidential race heats up? More speeches like Jindal’s designed to stir up fear with no factual support. His remarks were applauded by conservative Larry Kudlow in The National Review.

Even more comments like the ones recently made by Oklahoma State Representative John Bennett that Muslims are a “cancer” that must be cut of our country and that Muslim-Americans are not loyal to the United States but to the “constitution of Islam.” Bennett received a standing ovation from the conservative audience that heard these remarks, and the Oklahoma GOP Chair even backed him up.

And possibly even more comments like the one made by newly sworn in member of Congress Jody Hice who stated that Islam is not a religion and doesn’t deserve First Amendment protection. Was there any backlash from GOP leaders to this remarks? Nope, in fact people like Red States’ Erick Erickson even spoke at one of his fundraisers and wrote he was “proud to support” Hice.

This is a far cry from the 2008 presidential race when John McCain countered anti-Muslim remarks made by a supporter at one of his campaign rallies.

My hope is that I’m wrong. But after seeing close to a thousand people over the weekend protesting a Muslim-American event in Texas that was ironically organized to counter extremism, I’m not so optimistic.

The more conservative parts of the GOP base tend to vote in higher numbers in the primaries. So don’t’ be surprised when you see Republican candidates trying to get their attention with this cut of red meat.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, January 21, 2015

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Bobby Jindal, Muslims, No Go Zones | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Funerals Are Not About The Mourners”: Selfies and Handshakes Shouldn’t Overshadow Remembering Nelson Mandela

Being president or prime minister often involves partaking in such social niceties as handshakes and posing for photographs. And it’s a measure of how obsessed many have become with the style points over the substantive matters of being president that President Obama is being slammed for both.

At Nelson Mandela’s funeral – where Obama gave a very moving and sometimes scolding speech in front of world leaders there to mourn the civil rights leader – the president happened to run by Cuban leader Raul Castro. So he shook his hand. He didn’t embrace him, or hand over the keys to Blair House, or even say, “you’re doing a heckuva job, Castie.” He just shook his hand, which is what you do at such an event, since funerals are not about the mourners but about the deceased person being honored. For that, Obama is being accused of appeasing the Castros or somehow endorsing human rights abuses in Cuba (which indeed is a human rights violator, as are some U.S. allies and major trading partners – the latter status providing some affected blindness to such abuses).

Now, it’s true that handshakes are far more loaded when there’s a presidential hand involved. But so, too, is the pointed absence of any kind of tame expression of greeting. To deliberately rebuff Castro would have been a statement of its own, and not a productive one. Attempting to freeze out Cuba with an embargo and sanctions has done absolutely nothing to improve conditions in that country, which is not subject to a world embargo and (unlike other, bigger nations) is not as dependent on U.S. commerce. Sanctions can work when they are practiced by the world at large and truly damage the regime – they worked in South Africa, and brought Iran to the table for negotiations more recently. With Cuba, it is the U.S. that has isolated itself in imposing restrictions on trade and travel. Engaging with Cuba wouldn’t be an endorsement of human rights abuses there. It would be a way of helping bring about change in the island nation. Repr. James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, sums it up perfectly: The worst thing to happen to the Cuban regime would be Spring Break. Americans can have a much bigger influence in Cuba by showing up than by staying (by law) away. It was only a handshake. But if it’s the first step towards a dialogue, is that something to denounce?

Obama was also criticized for a supposed selfie he took at the funeral with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. There’s a photo of the three, with Thorning-Schmidt holding the phone with both hands, and Obama helping out with one. First lady Michelle Obama is seen looking sternly ahead. The scene – which none of the critics personally witnessed – is being used to depict the president as some sort of misbehaving, self-centered child, and the first lady as peeved over his bad judgment.

Well, maybe she is. Or maybe, she just happened to be looking ahead, thinking about the funeral, or even just really tired after a very long flight. The point is, we don’t know, and it’s absurd to read a major family drama into a photograph.

Secondly, we don’t know Obama was behind the photo-taking. In fact, there’s more evidence that he was not. We’ve already been told that for security reasons, he can’t have an IPhone, only a Blackberry (and the device in question does not look like a Blackberry). And it’s the Danish prime minister’s two hands that are on the phone, suggesting that she was the one who initiated the picture. If that indeed was the case, what was Obama supposed to do – refuse to join in the photo? Tell the teacher? We also don’t know what was happening at the time. Yes, if someone was in the middle of delivering a eulogy, taking a photo of oneself would have been in very bad form. But if it was between speeches, and if people were talking amongst themselves on the floor (which is what it sounded like, even during Obama’s speech), it’s not quite so terrible.

Mandela is dead, and the U.S. and the world have an opportunity to forge the sort of reconciliation the South African leader advocated and practiced. We ought to focus on that, instead of a couple of gestures at the funeral.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, December 11, 2013

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Nelson Mandela | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Anglo Saxon Statesman”: Romney Brags About Meeting With Chief Of U.K.’s Top-Secret MI6 Intelligence Service

So Mitt Romney spends Tuesday pledging that as president he would never, ever leak intelligence information and then today:

Eyebrows going up about Romney’s claim to have met the Sir John Sawers, the chief of MI6. Asked about Syria by an American reporter whether he and Cameron spoke about Syria and he replies: “I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and the opposition here as well as the head of MI6”

As The Guardian explains:

For our American readership, this isn’t like bragging you just met David Petraeus. The British take on the national secret intelligence service comes with an extra-heavy dollop of the whole secret thing. The very existence of the MI6 was not officially acknowledged until 1994.Good luck, Romney handlers: this is only stop No. 1 on a three-stop international tour. What will he say in Jerusalem?

Maybe if MI6 also handled Romney’s tax returns then he could have kept his mouth shut?

Or perhaps he was simply distracted by trying to put out the fire caused by his other gaffe: saying that he doubted Great Britain’s ability to pull off the games.

“You know, it’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney said. “There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the – private security firm not having enough people – the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

Prime Minister David Cameron reassured Romney that everything would turn out just fine, adding a bit of a rebuke to Romney: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron said. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” Romney, who has made “No Apology” the centerpiece of his foreign policy, subsequently apologized, walking backhis comments doubting London’s readiness.

I guess the moral of the story is that Mitt Romney has all of Dick Cheney’s diplomatic talent … with none of his charm.

By: Jed Lewiston, Daily Kos, July 26, 2012

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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