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As pundits fumble figuring out young voters, here are the facts as millennials flood the polls

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Cable news commentators have spent the past several days talking about the youth vote as if it is an endangered species the late Steve Irwin will lead them to. Whether Democratic or Independent, pundits all agreed they have no idea what will happen with the youth vote.

CNN host Don Lemon’s Sunday evening panel discussion dealt with the typical misnomer that young people don’t vote. Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen explained to Lemon that Florida has seen a dramatic increase in voter registration thanks, in large part, to the students from Parkland. Indeed, Florida had a 41 percent increase after the students started their voter registration drive. Yet, everyone on the CNN panel agreed, they have no idea what will happen with young voters.

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But if the numbers in Florida are high, Texas blows it out of the water. “Rockstar” candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaign met young people where they are in every county in the state. His campaign did outreach beyond traditional four-year universities and reached out to community colleges, often ignored by candidates. Texas had a 509 percent increase in voter registration for young voters, notorious Texas Democrat Paul Begala told Raw Story.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) explained Sunday that a law passed before she was in office has prevented students from being able to name their university addresses as their permanent addresses for voter registration. Democrat Elissa Slotkin took it as a challenge. She worked with students to help them register according to the regulation and added 20,000 new students to the Michigan voter rolls. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Slotkin now has a 2 in 3 chance of taking out Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI).

There’s also a slew of young candidates running for offices this election that are reaching out to their fellow millennials asking for votes. This election is the first election where every member of the Millennial Generation will be able to vote. The generation, born between 1981 and 2000, is 80 million strong, making a hefty age group politicos can no longer afford to ignore. They’re progressive, diverse and they’re not big fans of Donald Trump.

Democrats have always had the ability to capture the youth vote based on the issues, but it was rare candidates and elected officials were willing to do the work to get them. In 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama was forced to look outside the box for Iowa Caucus voters. The Clintons had an infrastructure on the ground and John Edwards had run with John Kerry just four years before. The Obama campaign looked to young people, people of color and students for their caucus-goers.

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That model is the one O’Rourke has followed in Texas. By asking for people to update registrations or register for the first time, knocking the doors and asking young people to vote, he’s garnered real results.

The best way to get young people to vote is simply to ask them to, but because elected officials ignore youth, thinking they never vote, no one ever asks. Because politicians assume young people won’t vote, they’re not included in outreach and the vicious cycle repeats itself. Meeting youth, where they are and ensuring a positive experience, works every time.

“Positive social proof works,” wrote youth vote genius Jefferson Smith. A candidate doesn’t need a celebrity, they don’t need to be a former punk band member and they don’t even have to be young themselves.

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This year has changed everything. The registration numbers are up but the early voting numbers are high for excited young people ready to make their voices heard. Young candidates are reaching out person-to-person, peer-to-peer and friend-to-friend. Those under 35 will turn out this election because someone has finally asked for their votes.

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The true test for Democrats, however, will come in after the election is over and whether a Democratic Congress will incorporate young professionals, students, and recent high school graduates as part of their legislative outreach.


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Republicans are sending out a ‘cry for help’ as Trump’s public impeachment hearings loom

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House Republicans’ request for witnesses in the impeachment inquiry reads more like a “cry for help” than an actual contribution to the investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct, argued MSNBC’s Steve Benen.

He’s not wrong. The list includes:

The whistleblower“All individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her secondhand complaint”Hunter BidenDevon Archer, a business associate of Hunter BidenNellie Ohr of Fusion GPS, which directed the work behind the Steele DossierAlexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee employee who reportedly conducted research on Paul Manafort’s work in Ukraine

Not one of these people will have information that could exonerate Trump from the mountain of evidence indicating he oversaw a vast bribery scheme aimed at pressuring the Ukrainian government into smearing and opening up investigations into his political rivals. At best, they could serve to distract from that central narrative, which documents and comments from the White House and Trump himself confirm. Creating a distraction is, of course, exactly what Republicans intend to do since they have no substantive defense of the president’s actions.

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Commentary

There are only 5 ways to become a billionaire — and none of them involve being successful in free market capitalism

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Billionaires are wailing that Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s wealth tax proposals are attacks on free market capitalism.

Warren “vilifies successful people,” says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in free market capitalism.

The first way is to exploit a monopoly.

Jamie Dimon is worth $1.6 billion. That’s not because he succeeded in the free market. In 2008 the government bailed out JPMorgan and four other giant Wall Street banks because it considered them “too big to fail.”

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David Cay Johnston explains how Trump’s trade tariffs are really a tax on his base

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Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president.

So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch.

The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.

In 2016, under President Barak Obama, America imported $502.9 billion more in goods and services than it sold in exports.

In 2018, under Trump, that ballooned to $627.7 billion, an increase of $124.7 billion, and the deficit is on pace to run even deeper in 2019. For the nine months ending in September, the overall trade deficit was $481.3 billion, up $24.8 billion for the same period of 2018.

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