Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

"Yo, Dude!" - Courting Younger Voters, FOX-Style

Reported by Marie Therese - November 30, 2007 -

Republican pollster Frank Luntz - whose total lack of fashion sense screams for a session with the Queer Eye guys - was on hand (in video clips) during Wednesday's edition of Special Report. Luntz was there to educate the FOX audience about the proper care and feeding of the skittish and rambunctious younger voting bloc. The segment continued a favorite myth that the needs of older voters are somehow diametrically opposed to those of the younger generation. As an older voter I've gotten pretty sick and tired of hearing this twaddle. I see it as just one more subtle example of the Karl Rove "wedge-ification" of America. By emphasizing the differences, the electorate is left with a feeling of hopelessness rather than a sense that, if we all work together, we can hammer out compromises that honor everyone's needs. With video.

Regular anchor Brit Hume has been on vacation (?) this past week, so the task of presenting the report fell once again to Bret Baier. He introduced the segment by saying "Not only do older and younger voters have different interests and issues, they even speak differently."

Caroline Shively, another in a long line of blonde FOX reporters, did the voice-over for the pre-recorded report which opened with a clip of Barack Obama saying "what up?" to a crowd of Democratic voters, presumably of the younger variety.

She went on to explain that there has been an uptick in voting in the 18-29 year-old age bracket and that political campaigns have begun to take notice."

"That's kind of the chicken-egg syndrome we saw for so many years," said Young Democrats of America's Aexandra Acker. "Politicians didn't talk to young people, so they didn't vote. Young people didn't vote, so politicians didn't talk to them."

Frank Luntz noted: "What is different between younger and older voters is the language. Young voters want to be talked to at their level. They want somebody who's hip. They want someone who's got the language down, who might even say to a kid 'Yo, dude!' You say 'Yo, dude!' to a senior, you've lost their vote."

"On their level"? Now, what level is that? The sub-basement? Basement? Ground floor? Luntz's implication is that somehow the younger generation can't have an educated discussion with an older person unless it is peppered with street slang and hip-hop jargon.

Well, I'm 60 years old and I have conversations on a daily basis with middle school and high school students using plain ordinary words and we seem to understand each other just fine, thank you very much. It's been my experience that young people think adults who try to use "hip" language are a little suspect and perhaps not genuine. (Check out the clip in the video below of John McCain trying to be something he isn't by saying the word "bad" several times.)

As for Luntz's claim that a mere couple of words like "Yo, dude" could turn off an older voter, he must have been thinking of Republicans in Sugarland, Texas, knocking back a few at the 19th hole dressed in their madras shorts and Arnold Palmer golf shirts. Certainly none of the older Democrats I know would change their vote simply because someone said a few words in youthful slang!

Caroline Shively noted that in the state of Iowa the age of Democratic caucus goers is 50 years and up. "Then comes New Hampshire," Shiveley noted. Quick shift to clip of Frank Luntz, who endeared himself to Granite State voters by saying "The average age of a New Hampshire voter is deceased. I mean it is really old."

Luntz had better not show up in New Hampshire any time soon!

Florida is another very important but "aging" state, according to Shively. She concluded her report by noting that research shows that younger voters who vote the same party in three consecutive elections will most likely retain that party affiliation for life.