Do you think young people should run for politics?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    With the election of 2008 slamming a young Obama and a young Palin, people too young and inexperienced to hold national office, what do you think about 20-somethings running for city office?

    My good friend ran for city council as a 19 year old (they waived the 21 yo rule and since banned it) and got a surprising number of votes, but he lost in a close one.

    Today, I met a kid not much older running for city council (looks to be about 25) and I told him I would campaign for him.

    How old do you need to be to run in a city of a couple of thousand of people?
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #2
    I don't think there was an age limit back in my old town, I sat on the council when i was 17, ran the city website for that year until I went to college. There were only like 700 people in my town though. Probably the most boring thing I have ever experienced in my life.
     
  3. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #3
    Young, educated and driven people should run for public office. Especially now, when the Baby Boomers and their needs/desires as they age are going to affect younger generations. If all the spending and stupid decisions of the last generation are to ever be reversed, it's going to have to be by the people who are left with the bill.
     
  4. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #4
    Man, put that on your resume. That is highly impressive, even if your town is only 700 people. My town is only 1800 people and it's usually very old people with the same outdated (usually) ideas who run.

    I like this environmentalist kid who is running. He's what appears to have been a recent college grad with a good internship. Some of the older candidates ran companies and businesses for 30 or 40 years but that does not make them automatically the best person to run. Some, if not many, of the mayors and city council in my town seem kind of senile and out of touch.

    They won't get rid of the old city manager guy who hires young, hot women, has sex with a few of them and pays them more pay raises than the police chief. Women who say no get fired or get no raises. Some of the old pols in my town think secretaries are good for typing and sex, and that being on the city council means getting rumored "gifts/perks" from contractors. Those old city council folk with their sexist ideas have to get booted out. I am sure other small towns have dirty old men who run the show, but they don't serve the public.
     
  5. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #5
    From college to politics. Man, pols start sucking on the public teat pretty young today.

    I think 19 is too young. Not enough life experience. Think back to how dumb you were when you were 19.
     
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    In a town that had an average age of 51, and when it had well over 4,000 residents, my 19 year friend did pretty darn well. Many of the old timers had it up to here with the business as usual politicians at city hall.

    This young guy running right now, and others who have run like Zombie Acorn at 17, my buddy who ran in the 1980s at age 19, and basically anybody under 35, need to put fresh blood into a city council that has always had people 65 and older, and up to age 92, holding the seats since the 1950s.

    While I don't condone people under 40 running for President of the United States (is it 35 or 40 for min. age?), some long time life experience is necessary for POTUS running a country with 300 million people. But for a town that now has 1800 people (and shrinking), what better place for very young people to start their political careers?

    Again, a super congrats to Zombie Acorn for sitting on city council at age 17. If only the average 17 year old cared that much.
     
  7. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #7
    There was the story of a 22 year old kid (I believe he was that young; may be younger, who ran for mayor of a small town in Oklahoma. One of his campaign ads was an entire comic strip based on XKCD. Name of the town and the person escape me, but IIRC, he won.

    Minimum age is 35, Natural Born Yank, and must live in the state where his/her constituents live for at least 7 years.

    Agreed.
     
  8. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Think of how dumb most of these politicians are at 40. I don't think I was that much dumber at 19 then they are at 40.

    I'd like to see more people in the 30 year old age group run for national offices.
     
  9. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #9
    I will have to look back on my Con Law books, but I think the age of POTUS has changed over the years. People rarely made it to 50 in those days. When I was born, many moons ago, the expected life expectancy for a male was just 66.7 years. It has soared over the past several decades.
     
  10. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #10
    I joke that I was going to run for city council of my home town at one point. My campaign sloggin would be that I would not sue the residents of the city.

    And yes my city council sue the residences because a bond failed I kid you not.

    Now the state shot it down but they sure as hell tried to get the election over turned.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #11
    The old people in there now are out of touch, maybe young blood will see things differently. Of course a young politician will eventually turn into the old windbag in there now so does it really matter.
     
  12. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #12
    Not much

    Nope, it's been 35 the whole time.


    Edit: Almost forgot to mention, Patrick Kennedy was elected to the RI House of Reps at 21, while still attending Providence College.
     
  13. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I think there ARE a few unique young people who would make good politicians out there. Some traits like level headed, dedicated, very high intelligence would help.

    However, a very important trait for politics is influence. The problem with young people running for office is that older people might not think they would be good and vote for them, or accept them once they are there.

    First off, the young person doesn’t have a “track record” to prove worthiness of the position. Second, most people have trouble thinking that other people can mature and gain knowledge from experiences much faster than themselves. Such as rdowns...
    But it happens all the time...like 16 year old doctors..a case where you don’t need “public acceptance” to be one.

    There is one potential drawback to young people in positions of power however. The human brain is known to shift from using the emotional part to the rational part as it ages. Younger people’s emotional brains are sometimes uncontrollable, which is why teenagers are often a pain in the rear no matter how “smart” they might be. So an able young person must also be either born without this “feature of evolution”…or be so rational that he can override his “feelings” in order to handle many of the important jobs of a politician. I'm not saying that he has to be a vulcan, because of course empathy is often desired in a politician, but he can't like be brought to the point where he'll just flip out.
     
  14. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #14
    sure, why not? That doesn't mean people should vote for them though :p
     
  15. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I think the idealism of youth can be refreshing in politics. That said, there's a reason there are minimum ages for congresscritters and the president: a certain minimum amount of experience with how the world *actually* works outside of one's idealistic little bubble is valuable. Uninformed policies based on excessive idealism unmoderated by realism can be as damaging as any cynical politically motivated ones. (Not that having reached the age of 35 is a great guarantor of a person's having gained an understanding of how the world works, sadly. :rolleyes:)
     
  16. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I've met a fair number of the relatively young crowd who have a pretty good grasp of reality. Heads screwed on pretty straight. As long as they aren't dogmatic and self-righteous in their ideas, fine by me.

    Nothing wrong with new ideas and fresh thinking. Unfortunately, so few people know much of history that a lot of these "new ideas"--aren't.

    But age doesn't guarantee wisdom. That's obvious, right now.

    Back before TV, most politicians at the local level were experienced in business, and reasonably could convince the voters that they could manage the city's business. Years and age are supposed to allow one to accumulate some amount of wisdom and an obvious track record of success in life itsownself. Once prettiness and glibness became more important than actual track record, we've been on a downhill slide.

    I'm generally more impressed with candidates who have had to meet payroll and understand about sales, profitability and taxes as they, themselves, are affected. I'm kinda fed up with lawyers and do-gooders who seem to know very little about how the majority of the population has to deal with reality. That's about the only real handicap a young person faces; just not enough years, yet, to learn.

    But some do...
     
  17. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #17
    One of the young ones went to law school and did public interest work, and the other was a do-gooder environmentalist. Without knowing about these two other than what I have seen on the internet, they are center to center-left.

    The current city council do not really state a party per se, but they have traditionally been older and don't like to shake the boat. Sometimes one comes out as a Republican, sometimes one comes out as a Democrat, but from what I know they are "business" like usual, apathetic types.

    On the plus side, the current council does know about law and business and one current controversial CC member is or was a lawyer. The Mayor has been criticized as a do-nothing Mayor who tends to micromanage. Many in town see these people as smart and educated, but no longer useful. One has 9 years, another quite a few, and the Mayor has a decade.

    Desertrat, you know I started these boards almost a decade ago and you know that I am one of those do-gooders and a leftie. Here's my background:

    1) In the early-90s, I was asked by some disgruntled citizens to run for city council
    2) I was a student studying for my Master's in tax law/MBA but looked like a kid
    3) I am a person of color in a town which is almost all white
    4) I had just voted for Clinton in 1992, especially since I thought Bush Sr. failed

    I may have fit into that category of a young do-gooder, and at that time one who had less than five years of experience running a business, and a failed run at starting an advertising business. I didn't know what the symptoms of prostate cancer was, arthritis, and I didn't have any white hair. You can say I didn't know what it was like to suffer physically and deal with any real illness, or what some people would consider the only true category of hardship.

    That being said, would you have voted for me?


    I considered myself, at the time, doing well not hitting the nightclubs like many early-20 to early-30 peers. I didn't do drugs. I always wore my seat belt and didn't have a criminal record (still don't ;) ). The only strike against me was that I was young without decades of post high school or post college life.

    Heck, I was busy for the first two thirds getting born, going to nursery school, elementary school, and high school. Then just a little more than a decade to finish junior college, college, technical school, and start two businesses, and somewhere in there I worked at a hardware store and did only that. While at the store I met my mentor. He was an old man, retired co-founder of HP who told me that everybody should go out and start a business, so I took his advice. Oh and I just put in for grad school and did some work there, too.

    Where does a guy or girl, in their 20s to early-30s, have the time to do this pretty typical path, and "know" about the business of running a town, or their own business? If it takes five years for most businesses just to break even, then I would say it's not even likely for someone right out of high school (assuming they had the funds) to have a "lot" of business experience.


    So while it's not great or terrible, where does a person like me fit in?

    The two young people running to unseat the much older group are young much like I was and had taken somewhat similar paths in life.

    I think they can be good for an apathetic town that currently lets developers do as they wish and won't address serious personnel issues at city hall (where those people are serious and actually drawing a paycheck). Seats in chambers in a small town are usually voluntary or for a very small stipend.
     
  18. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Well, incumbents compile track records upon which to judge, so I'm generally issue-oriented as to some newbie challenger.

    Ethnicity? Hey, I'd vote for a J.D. Watts or a Thomas Sowell in a hearbeat. Ideas are what count. I was judging by character long before MLK's Dream speech.

    A business failure is a learning experience. I'd rather have that guy than one who just showed up with a degree in Planning. :) I figure that anybody who's been in business is much less likely to want ordinances which would lessen profitabilty for small business.

    I'm pretty liberal as to social policy, absent a bunch of giveaway. I demand that that old devil word "responsibility" be included in the thought processes, though. Helping is good. Lifetime support ain't. My gripe with a good many of our do-gooders is that they want to do good with my money, not their own money. I have more scar tissue than skin on the backs of my hands, working for my money. When it's your own blood on your own money, you tend to show a hairy eyeball at a handful of "Gimme" and a mouthful of "Much Oblged".

    I'm mostly conservative on money issues. I try not to be a single-issue voter, although I have my own little litmus tests. :)

    So while I don't inherently object to the younguns, I am very judgemental about ideas and viewpoints.

    Sorta drifting: It seems to me that it's the small-c conservatives who most use words like "Liberty", "Personal Responsibility" and "Individual Sovereignty". Who focus on the individual rights of 308 million, not on clumps of bodies in a hive. Pretty much been my way for over 75 years...
     
  19. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    OK, so you’re not a loser. This should be a given. These don’t make a plus, but just don’t make any negatives.

    Pluses are something like:
    Attended Harvard, Yale or equivalents
    Attended above on prestigious scholarships
    Demonstrated leadership in community programs that made a difference
    Won relevant awards and honors
    Single handedly captured Osama Bin Laden (j/k ;))
    This is a negative. Most people don’t analyze excuses. In simple terms, you failed at a venture and that marks your record.

    I don’t think you have to have experienced facing death to understand “hardship” and I don’t think most people would hold it against you that you are healthy. As a matter of fact, I personally (and I imagine most people) would feel better if a person in good physical condition (or at least not one that is at risk of dying or having their health interfere with duties) is in office. Why would I want someone who might croak in the middle of the term just because he’s “been though it”? That’s silly.


    To put things in perspective, it also depends on where you are running. In a small town in the middle of nowhere, it might not matter if you’re not the next Mark Zuckerberg. But in a large town where there are potential serious competitors…it may be a different race.

    Ultimately, because someone is young and doesn’t have the experience and track record, they may need lots of other achievements to show for to compete with those whom are more established from years of service.
     
  20. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #20
    Thanks for the honest replies. When I was asked to run, five years business experience and a lot of college was all I had. The average age was then into the 60s then. I hated having one business that thrived but having another one on the side fail, especially since my dad had the longest running business in the history of the town at the time (35 years, same owner).

    We are a rural nowhere town so you don't find Harvard here but many went to the Jeff Foxworthy University of hard knocks. :)

    We are not angry rednecks, but are mostly of English descent, (some Scottish, German, and Irish) but more the genteel type of redneck who are not racist, but not anything close to being city slickers. Many speak in southern accents but have never been to the south. It's the rural west.

    Right now, only 10% percent are under age 40, and most are over age 70 from the last count. We have a lot of centarians and have made national news on that front.

    Cancer survivors, people with first hand experience with old age issues tend to get votes based on empathy and "experience". When you have gone through an old age related disease with somebody at our tiny hospital, you tend to go with them when it comes time to vote. While I don't see it as necessary to have walked into a senior citizen's shoes when I was asked to run when I was a kid, this town consistently votes for their own age group.

    Remember the context that anybody under 50 is a "kid". Most men here were in WWII and Korea.

    Nobody under age 50 ever got elected since the 1950s, and most who get into city hall have been collecting medicare for years. It's a retirement community. Party affiliation seems to be irrelevant as most are GOP voters in the chambers (3-2), but this town has been a very solid Democratic town for 25 years. It's the type of town where people may vandalize your car if you had a George W Bush sticker. My neighbor, a Republican, beat the haters to it and ripped of his Bush sticker before the townsfolk would have. ;)
     
  21. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #21
    The constituency, being old, grew up in the depression (almost all of them) even though some were just kids. Almost all have pre-existing conditions, and get turned down for coverage/procedures.

    Most were blue collar workers like plumbers, mechanics, roofers, construction workers, landscapers, career enlisted military personnel, even though many got some degree through the GI bill, but still stayed in the trades since there is very little call for white collar work in a town of 1,800, neighboring a town of 400, and neighboring a failing town of 29,000 residents with a 17% percent unemployment rate.

    Almost every week, one or another of the prominent old timers call for healthcare reform in front of the post office or anywhere they can be seen. They voted for Obama on that issue.
     
  22. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I would ask what the heck are you doing in a place like that, but I guess the answer has do with your family business. I wouldn't have imagined any young person would want to run for a position like that actually, but I suppose everyone has their own situations. :eek:
     
  23. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #23
    no pollution

    no traffic

    almost no crime unless you consider barking dogs a crime

    everybody knows you (which is good and bad)

    your wife is your sister's sister (OK, just kiddin' y'all) ;)
     
  24. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Being that it’s a “retirement community” and all, it’s interesting how you describe it as a very politically oriented society. Do these people actually participate in any form of political activities? Or is it one of those “hobbies” where everyone has nothing to do so they read newspapers and such and debate all the time at the coffee shop?
     
  25. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #25
    the second one

    (There are people who are bored so they run without any real idea of how government works. And when they are in, they help their friends alienating others who start their own faction in response. Sometimes you get a good person with the city's interest at heart, but that is usually not the case).

    It's usually the good civic leaders who find it such an impasse they leave office.
     

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