Bringing The Youth To Power

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth

In the below post, we briefly discuss Michael Connery's excellent new book on progressive youth politics, Youth To Power: How Today's Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow's Progressive Majority. For those Open Left readers in the NYC area, Connery is joining us for a free book launch party with drinks, debate, discussion & a little laughter courtesy of Laughing Liberally, at The Tank, 279 Church Street, Manhattan - more information available here.

We often hear Drinking Liberally described as a progressive youth organization. We appreciate the sentiment, but that's only half-right.

Don't get us wrong, we're proudly progressive, and many of our most enthusiastic and capable members are millenials. But as much as we belieiving in empowering and equipping the next generation of liberal leaders, it wouldn't be accurate for us to call ourselves gurus of youth politics - we're much more intergenerationally oriented, with chapter leaders ranging in background from campus dwellers to card-carrying AARP members.

While there's no shortage of great progressive youth organizations out there (with Young People For coming to mind as a particularly sterling example), there have been few published authors on progressive youth politics that we could point to.

Until now, with the publication of Michael Connery's wonderful new book, Youth to Power, which hits a zeitgeist of curiosity about youth politics that's been a long time coming - a time in which Michael has been one of the greatest champions of young voters, dating back to his co-creation of Music For America back in 2004.

While we'll have more content about YTP in the upcoming weeks, including a full review, we'd like to take this time to quickly note that if you want to help encourage the right memes about youth voting in the traditional media discussion, then now is the time to check out Mike's argument, whether through the book or through his blog, Future Majority.

This is, after all, a unique historical moment, as Mike noted in his TPMCafe appearance on Monday (where he'll be fielding questions all week), the public perception of youth voters as engaged civic participants has went from laughable a few year ago to a given in the aftermath of Obamamania - and as such, now that we have the floor to talk about engaged youth voters, we better be careful about doing a good job. Or, as Mike puts it:

It’s a little bizarre these days, writing about the youth vote. Ever since Sen. Obama’s upset in Iowa the youth vote has dominated the news, and that is a change to be sure. I’ve been working in or writing about youth politics since 2003, and for five years it has been an uphill battle to convince people that we really are seeing a sea-change in youth participation. Fast forward less than two months, and what was once an impossibility is now a given. The genie is out of the bottle, but most people still don’t understand the significance of what is happening, and even fewer understand where it came from.

We were in a similar moment a few years ago, when non-plugged-in voters found themselves asking, "What are these progressive blogs I'm hearing so much about?", and, thankfully, Crashing The Gates was there to help answer that question, even if it wasn't primarily about blogging. (Thankfully, Hugh Hewitt's Blog didn't play that role.) Now, we have a similar void to fill - and Connery's book is an ideal vehicle to do so.