Oh, get your mind out of the gutter—we’re talking about voting, you pervs.
See, now that the top-of-the-ticket tag teams (executive branch division) are finally set, and the post-convention presidential sprint (a.k.a. America’s eight-week electoral steel cage death match) is fully engaged, there’s really only one question worth asking: Which voters are actually going to show up on election day?
Of course, turnout is always key, but this political season it’s become more crucial than ever, since Barack Obama has staked his campaign on increasing two particular voting blocs—youngsters and African Americans—to record numbers. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that the junior senator from Illinois has the black vote sewn up, and that his share of the presidential minority ballot pie will likely be the highest in history. But the Obama campaign needs more than that, and they know it—just as in the primaries, they’re counting on an unprecedented influx of new voters to put them over the top.
Sweet youth: Courting the kiddies worked for Barack Obama in the primaries, but can he turn the same hat trick twice?
In Virginia alone, over 100,000 folks have registered to vote in the last three months, and that’s on top of the 150,000 who signed up during the primaries. And a huge chunk of these suffrage-seeking newbies are baby voters—of the 49,000 who registered in August, a whopping 40 percent were ages 25 or under.
Sure, courting the kiddies worked for Obama in the primaries, but can he turn the same hat trick twice? The McCain campaign, along with local Republicans, are certainly doing everything they can to thwart this postpubescent political parade.
John McCain did his part by choosing the chipper, fresh-faced governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, to be his White House helpmeet. Not only does she bring all of the smiling sarcasm and steely resolve of a Mean Girls cheerleader to help light up McCain’s lifeless campaign, but she also came prepackaged with a pregnant teenage daughter, thus securing the all-important diehard-daytime-talk-show- viewer vote.
As for the Commonwealth’s conservatives, their message to potential Obama acolytes is simple and clear: Voting can kill you! Well, O.K., not exactly—but certain Virginia officials have been less than effusive, to say the least, when it comes to encouraging new voters to exercise their franchise. The latest killjoy is Montgomery County Registrar Randy Wertz, who put out a press release warning Virginia Tech students that registering to vote in Virginia could jeopardize their dependent status, blow up their parents’ tax bill, and nullify their health insurance. With helpful advice like that, we wouldn’t be surprised if a sizeable swath of students decided to forgo the ballot box for a date with a beer ball.
Luckily, to help clear up the uncertainty, we’ve come up with an ingenious, totally foolproof test to determine whether or not the dewy-eyed youth of America will actually fight through their hangovers and manage to detour their collective walk of shame into the voting booth on election day: Ask Bristol Palin. No, seriously—hook her up to a lie detector, shoot her full of sodium pentothal, and ask her point blank if she’s planning to cast a presidential ballot.
Why her, you ask? Well, think about it—come November 4th, she’s going to be 18 years old, eight months pregnant, planning a wedding that (in a journalistic first) will be covered obsessively by both Roll Call and the National Enquirer, and almost certainly cursing the day that her perky, moose-shootin’ mom decided to enter politics. And, just in case you’ve forgotten, she also happens to live in Alaska, where a trip to the polling station involves two pairs of snowshoes, six sled dogs and an elementary school driveway the length of the Iditarod.
Trust us—if, in the midst of all of that, Bristol Palin is still motivated enough to vote, then Obama wins. It’s just that simple.