How many times can it be said that Democrats are desperate over the coming red wave in the midterm elections next week? Well, a lot. It can’t be overstated. Democrats are panicked that their voters are not motivated to get out and vote. Democrats have deployed Barack Obama because Joe Biden is so unpopular.
Obama, you may remember, is cool. He was the cool president, as we were repeatedly told. So, apparently he is trying to help get the younger voters motivated to vote. He did a collaboration with a young man on TikTok. With only days left until election day, Obama looks as desperate as the rest of the Democrats. The TikTok content creator is Vitus Spehar, who goes by “V”, and he is the host of “Under The Desk News.” His TikTok show offers “60 second daily wrap ups of current events, political analysis, and special interest stories ‘explained.” TikTok is a fast-paced social media platform, particularly good for short attention spans.
So, Obama joined V under the desk and made his pitch to get people to the polls. Obama highlighted reasons for people to vote – climate change, gun control laws, and abortion.
Obama has officially joined in the Democrats’ new fool-proof plan for whenever they need to push an agenda
Collaborating with TikTokers… pic.twitter.com/2s4x5DiRqk
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 2, 2022
Obama is as clueless as all the other Democrats out there. Those issues may be important to progressives and younger voters but those issues are not what is driving voters to the polls. Good Lord. What a bubble these people live in. Yet, there Obama is, sitting cross-legged on the floor talking to a guy under a desk. You can’t make this stuff up.
“Here’s the thing: you can stay [under my desk] for now, but when it comes time for voting you’re going to have to get up,” Obama said.
“You got climate change legislation on the ballot, you got gun safety. And, when we can elect more pro-choice members of Congress, we can reinstitute [sic] Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” he continued. “So, you can’t stay here, you’re going to have to take a little bit of time to vote.”
At the end of the video, the young man says he voted for McCain for president. That election was in 2008, 14 years ago. The guy doesn’t look old enough to have been voting in 2008 but maybe he is. Anyway, do we think that this TikTok bit will send anyone to the polls? Maybe but only for someone likely to vote anyway.
The Houston Chronicle printed an article last week from an independent news source about young voters. Jan Leighley of American University School of Public Affairs finds that younger voters are more likely to skip midterm elections than they are presidential elections. Midterm elections have a lower turnout than presidential elections normally and how old the voter is likely plays a part in deciding to vote or not.
If past turnout patterns hold in 2022’s midterm election, most demographic groups will be represented as much as they are in presidential elections, with one major exception. People ages 18 to 29 represent 16% of the total U.S. population. But they will be a smaller proportion of voters in November.
That’s a key finding of my research with political science collaborators Brian Hamel and Jonathan Nagler.
If younger and older citizens supported the same policies, then underrepresentation of younger voters in the vote share wouldn’t matter. But people of different ages often have different views on key issues.
These age-based differences are also evident in policy views. Older Americans tend to report greater opposition to abortion rights and less support for universal government-run health care.
At the most basic level, the age differences involve party affiliation. The Cooperative Election Study is a scholarly national public opinion survey conducted regularly since 2006. In its survey about the 2018 midterm election, younger voters were found to identify significantly more often as Democratic than Republican, while older voters are much more likely to identify with the Republican Party.
The age of voters matter in election outcomes. It will be interesting to see the number of young voters who turn out for this year’s midterms, given all the problems on the table and how discontent the general population is with the direction of the country.
The timing of a former president collaborating with a TikTok creator is also interesting, given that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has called for the U.S. government to ban TikTok. TikTok is owned by the Chinese government and there is a concern over data collection by the Chinese.
Carr, one of the five commissioners who lead the FCC, argued in an interview with Axios that there is no way to have “sufficient confidence” that Americans’ data on the app is not being sent back to Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). TikTok is owned by the Chinese tech giant, ByteDance, and Chinese law mandates that companies share their data with the CCP upon request.
TikTok is currently in negotiations with the U.S. Council on Foreign Investment (CFIUS). Carr says the data protections won’t be secure enough regardless of what deal may be reached.
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” he told Axios, adding that there isn’t “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the CCP.”
TikTok pushed back and issued a statement.
“Commissioner Carr has no role in the confidential discussions with the U.S. government related to TikTok and appears to be expressing views independent of his role as an FCC commissioner,” TikTok responded. “We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns.”
The company also denied reporting from Axios that its discussions with the CFIUS concerned the possibility of divesting the app by ByteDance to an American company.
TikTok insists that users’ data are safe. Under oath, though, executives for TikTok admited that the data is accessible from China.
If you are a user of TikTok (I’m not), you may want to keep that in mind.