The Arizona Desert Lamp

Young Voters

Posted in Politics by Evan Lisull on 1 October 2008

Since UA Votes has been discussed at length on this blog, it’s worth examining the results of the youth vote the world around:

Austrians went to the polls for parliamentary elections Sunday, and for the first time, 16- and 17-year-olds got to vote. Austria is the first European Union country to lower the voting age to 16 for national elections. Brazil, Cuba, and Nicaragua also permit 16-year-olds to vote, and neighboring Germany allows 16-year-olds to vote in certain local elections.

. . .

Of course, the big news was that the country’s two moderate mainstream parties had their worst showings since World War II, while two far-right parties took nearly 30 percent of the vote together.

Did the youth vote play a role? Maybe. Heinz-Christian (HC) Strache, the 39-year-old head of the far-right Freedom Party, received one fourth of the under-30 vote. His Web site, showing “StraCHE” in a Che Guevara-style beret, features a downloadable “Viva HC” rap song ring tone.

The young, of course, are far more prone to extremism than their elders, lacking the wisdom of history and experience to guide them. This, of course, is why many of the student radicals of the 1960s became Reagan supporters in the 1980s.

Also, be sure to take time to appreciate the delicious irony of the “far-right Freedom Party” using Che iconography as a way to woo young voters. Priceless.

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