Friday, August 1, 2008

Vote or Die or not

Tim Fernholz at The American Prospect questions the effect of using hip hop artists and other celebrities to turn out the vote.

While I can understand Fernholz's and Ta-Nehisi's doubts about the efficacy of the "Vote or Die" movement, I can't really see where those sorts of campaigns really hurt either. I'm all for anyone and everyone getting out to motivate folks who otherwise feel disengaged from the political process.

Sure, it might not work. Who really knows how much pull P. Diddy and T.I. and Nas have on mostly apathetic 18- and 19-year-olds? (we've also seen the danger of getting these sorts of guys involved, too, as Ludacris showed earlier this week). And there is an corporate aspect of the campaign that seems to promote the artists nearly as much as the message.

But getting each and every eligible voter out is the ticket, so to speak. If the campaign compels only a handful of teens to hit the polls in November, that might still be the margin that matters in the end - as we've seen in the past two presidential elections.

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