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France may care, but does Dartmouth?

Le Monde reported this morning that the youth of America are rediscovering politics and dramatically altering the path to the White House. This is a story that we ‘ve heard repeatedly in recent years.

Today is perhaps the most important of the entire primary race as voters in twenty states head to the polls. While Senator John McCain (R-AZ) may solidify his nomination, the Democrats are in for a battle. With proportional representation in a race as close as this one, it is unlikely for either Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to amass enough delegates today to secure the nomination. That is good news for Republicans of course. Negative attacks within a party create divisions that will be hard to heal before November. If this election really is one for the Democrats to lose, I ‘d say they are doing a pretty good job of it.

The best case scenario for the Democrats is for either Clinton or Obama to trounce the other today, but it seems unlikely. Le Monde reports that €œil est clair que la mobilisation penche en faveur des democrates € [it is clear that the mobilization tilts in favor of the democrats] and €œles 18-24 ans se sentent plus proches de Barack Obama € [the 18-24 year olds feel closer to Barack Obama]. In New Hampshire this held true, but not even a mobilized Dartmouth could sway the tight race in Obama ‘s favor.

The world may be buzzing about one of the closest primary campaigns in recent history, but Dartmouth is silent on the matter. As Tsunami Tuesday coverage blankets most news sources, the campus newspaper is reporting on the legacy of the Wright Administration and the return of an African-American sorority. Perhaps Dartmouth students mustered all of their political activism to get to the polls on January 8th, but it certainly seems that whatever enthusiasm they once felt is overshadowed by the approach of Winter Carnival.

Le Monde may be correct that the youth is energized about the issues at stake in this election, but I doubt it will work in their favor. Young people will delay Clinton ‘s rise to the nomination, but I believe that, just like in New Hampshire, they will be unable to secure it for Obama. In the end, the mobilization of the left-leaning youth may simply contribute to the self-destruction of the Democrats during this election cycle.

JOE MALCHOW ADDS: As the French well know, the only way for the youths to really achieve the full glorious potential of their youthfulness is to burn down several suburban towns, thus demonstrating the awesome power of youth and the peril of disaffecting them. I do wonder why Le Monde did not suggest this course of action.


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