There’s an election coming up. You may have heard about it. (Are you registered to vote? You should be.) Not interested in politics? Too bad, they’re running your life as you speak. You should be interested. As November rapidly approaches, you can’t turn on the radio or watch the news or go on Facebook without seeing or hearing something political. Americans are be- ing inundated with positive advertising, negative advertising, bumper stickers, yard signs, and the ever-present question, “So, who you voting for?” In my family, this question is usually my cue to leave the conversation.
Who am I voting for? I don’t know. The candidate I will vote for is currently buried beneath the advertising. Commercials, yes. Signs, yes. More important, though, is the news media. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, you name it; they’re all huge venues for political advertising. Mitt Romney wishes he were Latino. Barack Obama sympathizes with murderers. It’s all in the news, it’s all advertising, and it’s developed the Democratic and Republican parties in interest-
ing ways.The demographics of these two main parties are clearly defined by their advertising. It is the older generation that is the focus of the Republican Party. Yes, there are young Republi- cans. However, our generation did not grow up in the same political environment as the older generation. Our generation has grown up in a world that is spinning faster and faster thanks to the Internet, popular culture, and the expansion of media outlets in general. There is a severe disconnect in our general “youth” population from politics because we don’t feel the need to be bothered. To further this older demographic, Republicans have put some interesting laws forward. In the United States, a photo ID will soon be required to vote. Well, that strikes out anyone who doesn’t have a driver’s license or passport. Unless you sit at the DMV for hours for a photo ID, you’re not going to have one. A large amount of young people and minorities are removed from the voting pool with this law. In Texas, an NRA license is permitted, so the right-leaning NRA members can still vote. Convenient. Essentially, the Republican Party is slowly weeding out the voters they don’t want.
The Democratic Party is feeding off of that. When you think of a conservative television program, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and anything on Fox News comes to mind. However, liberal media is much more subtle. Yes, it can be argued that CNN is becoming liberal Fox. The largest source of liberal media, however, is aimed directly at us young people. Ever watched The Daily Show? The political media directed at our generation is not MSNBC, CNN or Fox. Satire programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are largely the sources of news for this generation of instant gratification, of Facebook and Twitter. There is a huge focus on Pinterest and Tumblr, not on political websites. The Democratic Party knows this. While the Republicans are busy hoarding the older and richer demographic, the Democrats are es- sentially selling out to get our attention. In the previous election, Barack Obama was not a candidate. He was a brand. He had a logo. He had slogans. He had shoes with his face on them. It’s no wonder that the 2008 election had one of the biggest turnouts of minorities and young people in the history of this country.
So, once you’ve registered and are ready to head to the polls, look not at the advertising on the news. They’re just trying to convince a demographic. Look instead at the positions each candidate holds. Otherwise, you’re just out shopping for the prettier package, not the better candidate.