Saturday, October 10, 2015 WXPort
 Hot TixBand GuideMP3 StudioBest Music PollSummer GuideThe Best
 DNC Daily Updates   l   DNC Guide   l   DNC Events Listings
Stuff at Night
The Providence Phoenix
The Portland Phoenix
FNX Radio Network
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

Putting the smackdown on the youth vote


TUESDAY, July 27, 2004 -- Two tough women conveyed one tough message to a group of college Democrats early this morning. Young people are a vital part of the 2004 election, Kate Michelman and Linda McMahon told the small crowd of mostly young women at the kickoff to the College Democrats Women’s Caucus.

These are women you listen to. Michelman, the recently departed president of NARAL Pro-Choice America who stepped down after April’s March for Women’s Lives to focus solely on helping to elect John Kerry, is a small and wiry figure who has wrangled with politicians and activists across the nation to protect reproductive rights. McMahon, fit and strong with a steady voice and bright pink fingernails, is CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and the brain behind the WWE’s Smackdown Your Vote, aimed at increasing youth voter turnout.

Michelman, decidedly more partisan than McMahon (whose organization is labeled "apartisan"), warned that another Bush administration would mean "extreme ideology and will take this country in the wrong direction."

During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a plan was put in place to use the judicial nominating process "as a way to shape the court in their image," said Michelman, who now heads the Democratic National Committee’s Campaign to Save the Court. The process was interrupted when voters elected Bill Clinton, who installed two liberal justices. But if George W. Bush is reelected, "they are this close to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," she said. If he has his way, Bush will appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court -- much as he has in lower appellate courts – putting everything from Roe v. Wade to workers rights, environmental protections and civil liberties in jeopardy. In November, "the Supreme Court is on the ballot," a fact some people might not realize, Michelman said.

That’s where Smackdown comes in. Using wrestling superstars and youth appeal to communicate political ideas, WWE gives young people the tools to learn more about candidates. The goal is to get 20 million 18-to-30-year-olds to vote in November -- a 10 percent increase from 2000. That year, only half of the 30 million eligible voters in that age range went to the polls, according to the US Census Bureau. Smackdown doesn’t care who you vote for, as long as you vote. (McMahon herself, however, seems to agree with Democratic values -- she clapped when the fight for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception was mentioned.)

One thing is for sure: don’t try to stop them. When people ask "why in the world" is the WWE involved in politics, McMahon answers them, "Because we can be."


Issue Date: July 27, 2004
Back to the DNC '04 table of contents
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

about the phoenix |  advertising info |  Webmaster |  work for us
Copyright © 2005 Phoenix Media/Communications Group