Wednesday on MSNBC, anchor Rachel Maddow confronted 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over his long-promised surge in young voters not materializing.
Maddow said, “I’m going to ask you the following question about turnout. As long as I’ve been talking to you about American politics, you have made this case, and I believe it that turnout is the difference, and that when it comes to progressive politics in particular, increased turnout gets you an increased shot of not only changing the Democratic Party but changing the country and the turnout is not there for you. The turnout does not look good thus far in the Democratic primary. We can talk about that in detail, but I know you’re aware of it.”
Sanders said, “In terms of young people, one of the issues that should be talked about— to his credit and I wish we could do better Joe Biden is doing well with people 65 and older. We’re doing phenomenally well with 30 and under. Which group of people is there more potential to grow the base and bring people? Clearly, young people historically have not voted in the kinds of numbers that one would like them to vote. It’s going up, but it is nowhere near as high as it is with older people.”
Maddow shot back, “It’s not going up with your campaign firing on all cylinders and all the benefit you have from all the amazing organizing you did in 2016, no states last night saw an increase in young voters as a percentage of the electorate compared with 2016. In North Carolina, in Tennessee, in Virginia, even here in Vermont, young voters made up a smaller proportion of the electorate than in 2016. Why are fewer young people turning out in 2020 with you on the ballot?”
Sanders said, “What I will tell you is that in Iowa we tripled —we increase by 33% the number of young people. I’m not familiar with these statistics. I haven’t seen them.”
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