Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Broil the Vote!

This article is one that I blog about with a certain amount of trepidation, mostly because of my incredibly mixed feelings while reading the article. To summarize the article quickly, it looks like Rock the Vote might be going out of business. They've got horrible financial problems. They've fired 90% of their workforce, keeping only their political director and their webmaster. The quoted steps that they're taking to solve their horrendous financial problems don't seem likely to work. And the political director might "take time off" in the following year.

Parts of my mixed feelings should be obvious. Registering 18-24 year olds to vote is important, even though it didn't seem to make too much of a difference in the last presidential elections. So, okay, this part of what they did is good. Right.

Yet, in the elections the first year that I was in this town, when I helped out with the local elections and lived with a friend who was very involved in the local independent party, I remember all the hubbub surrounding trying to get the voter registration information from Rock the Vote. Since I live in a student town, the local Rock the Vote registration lists would have been very useful for the campaign that the independents were running as a perfect form of targeted advertising. But Rock the Vote would only hand over said registration lists to the Democratic Party. Who, ironically, were the ones that the independents were running against; there isn't even a Republican Party in this little town in which I live.

Maybe if there was a Republican Party, they would have given the registration lists to them too. I don't know. And remember, this is mostly hearsay. While we did get the official county lists, targeting the Rock the Vote lists would have made much more sense for our campaign.

Since then, fairly or unfairly, I've been unable to look at Rock the Vote as anything other than another Democratic machine. Now, while I look at them this way, their board of directors apparently looks at them as simply another way to promote their musicians, keeping politics and profits still interchangably linked.

What it all comes down to is that it looks like Rock the Vote is dead. What that will mean for getting out the youth vote in the next elections will have to be seen. Maybe local groups will pick up the slack, maybe they won't.

Whichever happens, I just hope that all the anger and frustration from the last presidential elections sticks around and actually causes something to happen this time around. My paper couldn't help it, and Rock the Vote couldn't help it, so I'm thinking that the answer is, it won't. But my political Pandora's Box has been thrown fully open, and the original held hope too, right? Who cares if the Ancient Greeks considered hope simply another evil.


Blogger Deacon Nailbat said...

Well done.

Though I think it bears mentioning that as one of the generation to whom "Rock the Vote" was geared in the first place, that it may have faded to obscurity for one or more of the following reasons.

- The first I'd heard of "Rock the Vote" was on MTV and I still hold that those who get their news from cable deserve exactly what they reap from it. I suspect that even the most stoned among us, who wouldn't have woken up from yesterday's sessions wouldn't get up for whomever someone named "Hammer" would support. (De Lay, excepted)

- The webmaster of Rock the Vote had taken the previous 7 years off. Had he/she missed the information revolution and the importance of making your presence known in (god help me for using this word) cyberspace? The point is, it's a management failure, and nothing that the democratic process has to mourn.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thought you may be interested in this article about a diabolical third party takeover in 2008, I Hope you don't mind me sending it, check it out.


8:42 AM  

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