I remember being in school and being warned about the dangers of peer pressure. After all, it was the “Just Say No Era,” and peer pressure was supposedly how your drug-abusing friends got you hooked on illicit substances. It was an ongoing mantra to the point that “peer pressure” became something of a dirty word.
Now, it seems Georgia Democrats intend to harness it as a way to elect two vehement anti-gunners to the United States Senate.
One important voting bloc that can’t be reached so easily with pricey campaign ads? Teenagers, who need a little extra nudging to cast ballots.
Michael Giusto is doing some of that nudging. Giusto recently turned 18. Just a couple weeks ago he was too young to vote in the presidential election. But that didn’t stop him from co-founding Students for Tomorrow at his high school in the Atlanta suburbs. Their pitch? Vote if you want to change things.
“Students’ positions on a lot of topics like climate change, gun control and equality in general have been largely been ignored in government,” Giusto said.
Giusto said that to get out the vote, they’re relying on the most potent weapon in a teenagers’ arsenal: peer pressure. Giusto says he spends seven to eight hours a day sending out emails and talking on the phone. He can’t do much texting because his mom says it would get too expensive. Students for Tomorrow doesn’t have a budget.
You’re deluded if you think this is just going to be about getting people out to vote. No, it’ll be about getting them to vote the “right way” as well. Anyone who might vote for Perdue or Loeffler will likely be badgered and pressured to toe the line.
Maybe I’m just cynical and a little jaded, but considering all the stuff my 19-year-old son got trying to make sure he got out and voted? It was nothing more than an attempt to boost the votes for the Democrats while pretending to be non-partisan. There’s an assumption that young people vote Democrat.
Of course, they generally do, but not always.
It’s possible that these youth-focused groups really don’t care about who you’re voting for and won’t ask, but that’s something they damn sure need to be explicit about.
We’ve spent four years being gaslighted and told we’re awful people if we don’t vote a certain way. It’s ridiculous not to assume this would go into any youth voter mobilization efforts.
And that’s why the term “peer pressure” is so problematic for me, especially since so few of these kids can articulate reasons to vote for Warnock or Ossoff that aren’t a repeat of their talking points. So, expect them to resort to peer pressure to force the issue.
Again, maybe I’m too cynical and untrusting here, but I get a bad feeling about this kind of thing. It feels skeevy and underhanded, even if there’s no law against it (nor should there be, to be honest).
I guess we’ll have to see if it actually works out that way.