Young people stand poised to change this country. They deliver huge margins to Obama, are motivated to vote, reveal due appreciation for the seriousness of some of the challenges facing this country and have found an outlet”–politics”–both for their commitment and their frustration. Turning out young people remains a huge progressive priority. Progressives also need to make sure, however, that the energy and commitment of this generation extends up and down the ballot.
As Barack Obama presses his lead over John McCain in national surveys, the support and enthusiasm he enjoys among younger voters reaches new levels. More important, as the outcome of their choice was never really in doubt, young people enter the final stretch with an invigorated commitment to turn out to vote and increased participation in the campaign itself.
Unfortunately, not all of this energy finds its way down ballot. A significant number of young people who say they will turn out to vote in the Presidential election and then go home without completing the ballot. Given both the margin and the likely turn out, addressing this problem may be the most important work left for progressives among young people leading into the election.