Wednesday, July 16, 2008<

Not fawning, but . . .

If we're honest with ourselves, it's apparent that Barack Obama has a better chance than not of being elected President, so hopefully we won't end up seeing this as the most exciting outcome of the election. But it appears to me that Obama's campaign will have some positive externalities for the country regardless of whether Obama ultimately wins the Presidency.

First, the "Obama Organizing Fellows" program has the potential to have a lasting impact. By giving college students an easy way to get into community organizing, he is providing a path to public service that will attract larger numbers of young people. Some people (like myself) might end up going into a job (or law school or medical school) because it's a more well worn path than something else, with a more clear future. By establishing this program, he is providing a structured path into public service. He is literally enabling a substantial number of college kids to shun the private sector for something more meaningful (like he did, at least according to Dreams from my Father) - this should improve the quality of our government and other public servants in the future.

Second (on a more partisan level), by getting young people (including kids who can't vote yet) excited about politics, Obama is helping establish the party identity of the next generation. If all the young people supporting Obama (currently 48% of people aged 18-29, compared to McCain's 36%) remain Democrats as they become adults, this country will become much more Democratic in the coming years.

Now I would doubt that these side benefits are at the forefront of Obama's mind as he runs his campaign. On the first one he is probably just implementing a strategy he thinks is effective based on this days as a community organizer. And I'm guessing the second one is incidental to running a good campaign. But from my perspective, his campaign will leave the country better off even if McCain somehow pulls it out.

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1 Comments:

At August 2, 2008 at 3:58 AM , Blogger NG said...

If all the young people supporting Obama (currently 48% of people aged 18-29, compared to McCain's 36%) remain Democrats as they become adults, this country will become much more Democratic in the coming years.

But this doesn't really happen. Look at all the people who supported Robert Kennedy and George McGovern - they grew up a little bit and a lot of them voted for Reagan. Then they grew up a little bit more and voted for Clinton.

If you really want to create a large group of voters loyal to the Democratic Party, you should be pushing for open immigration from third world countries that don't have a history of suffering under communism.

 

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