I’ve been down with the flu, so not much from me this week,

1. If I ran a national television news division, I would immediately hire Mollie Hemingway to do lengthy reported pieces.

2. Imagine you are in your late teens or early twenties. You are in the top third of your age-group for intelligence and conscientiousness but your personal social networks don’t include many political conservatives. You get political information from your mainstream news and entertainment culture. That culture speaks your language. Even if you don’t share that culture’s opinions on late-term abortion or tax increases, the producers of that culture are careful to keep those conflicts out of view. There is always the threat of Todd Akin banning abortions in case of rape. We dodged a bullet there didn’t we?

At the social level, political conservatives exist on a different planet. They don’t know you and you don’t know them - at least not well enough to talk politics. The Tea Party rallies were a bunch of old people who came in from the suburbs and then went home. The right-leaning media doesn’t just have a different set of ideas, they seem to speak a different language. You’re not their market. That’s okay. You’re not the market for TV Land either. Those are both successful revenue models, but no one expects to reach you through reruns of Gunsmoke.

Reaching this group is key because they (and their younger brothers and sisters) are going to be making up an ever-larger fraction of our politically active population. Losing these kids without a fight doesn’t just cost votes. It costs talent and creativity. Maybe there is a quick, cheap, and easy way of reaching this group, but I don’t know what it is. They need to be reached in the places where they are, in a vocabulary they understand. It has to be about their own priorities, and it has to be done with respect. The point isn’t to get them to vote for Candidate X. The point is to create a shared vocabulary and a shared understanding of policy and the political environment that will allow future candidates to talk to this group without sounding like space aliens. So much money and energy on the right ends up wasted.

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