Young People: Vote Out Old Pols

Staff & Wire Reports

FILE - In this March 18, 2014 file photo, voters cast their ballots in Hinsdale, Ill. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV finds that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government runs, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

FILE - In this March 18, 2014 file photo, voters cast their ballots in Hinsdale, Ill. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV finds that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government runs, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)


AP-NORC/MTV Poll: Young people looking for younger leaders


Associated Press

Monday, July 30

WASHINGTON (AP) — Young people are looking for a change this election season — a generational change.

A poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government is run, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country.

The poll found young people eager to vote for someone who shared their political views on issues like health care and immigration policy. They expressed far less excitement about voting for a candidate described as a lifelong politician.

“These older Congress people, they don’t understand the internet and they don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Greg Davis, a 29-year-old from Grandview, Ohio, who says he watched in exasperation last spring as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg easily handled what was supposed to be a Senate grilling on privacy policy. “The questions that he was getting asked about security and privacy were asinine. We need leadership that actually understands tech.”

It’s true that the current Congress is among the oldest in U.S. history. At the beginning of the 115th Congress in January 2017, the average age of House members was nearly 58. The average age of senators was nearly 62, among the oldest, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Political change is in the air in 2018. A record number of women are running. Young Americans who don’t remember a time without the internet are eligible to cast ballots. Some started paying attention in 2016, after Donald Trump upset Democrat Hillary Clinton and political tensions in the U.S. escalated.

About two-thirds of the young people in the poll say they are extremely or very excited to vote for a candidate who cares about the issues that affect them and their generation, including the economy, gun policy and equal rights, along with immigration and health care. Although most say they’d be at least moderately excited to vote for younger, nonwhite and female candidates, those characteristics don’t generate as much excitement as someone who shares their political views. By contrast, fewer than half are at least moderately excited about a candidate who is a lifelong politician.

That could matter in the 2018 midterm elections if young people turn out to vote, a result that campaigns and political action committees are spending big money to produce. One measure of whether they are succeeding is engagement. About half of young adults report following news about the midterms often or sometimes. About another quarter say they engage on social media. About a third say they’re certain to vote, with some others indicating they are more likely to vote than not.

If more young people turn out at the polls, it’s Democrats who are poised to benefit. Not only are young adults more likely to be Democrats, but young Democrats are also more likely than young Republicans to say they’re certain to vote, 40 percent to 27 percent. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats are engaging with news about the elections often or sometimes, and more Democrats than Republicans say they’re interested in the midterm elections. For many Democrats, this interest is derived from the 2016 presidential election: 54 percent say the outcome increased their interest in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I haven’t voted so much in the past, but I’m paying attention this year,” said Tyler Seulean, 26, a truck driver from Houston, Texas, who says he leans to the political left. He said he did not vote in the 2016 election but is following immigration and other issues related to Trump’s administration. “I’m older,” he adds. “It’s more important to me now.”

Another factor in whether this group will be motivated to vote is that they feel pessimistic about the political environment. Nearly 7 in 10 young adults think American politics have not been functioning well in the past month, and many think the country will become even more politically divided in the next few years.

Still, an overwhelming number share hope that the election will bring about change — and many think their generation will be the impetus.

On policy issues, young Americans connect what’s happening in the world with policies that are important to them. Immigration is the leading issue on the minds of young Americans, many of whom took the survey when migrant children were being separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this year, just after the shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 students and staff dead, the first Youth Political Pulse poll found about 2 in 10 young adults reported gun policy as the most concerning issue facing the nation, and that was more mentioned than any other issue.

Associated Press Polling Editor Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

The AP-NORC and MTV poll of 1,030 young Americans age 15-34 was conducted June 21 to July 9, 2018. The poll was conducted using NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Online: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research:


Opinion: Younger Community Leaders Create Hope for Our Democracy

By Holly Kuzmich

The Catalyst, via

It seems that everywhere we turn these days we see increasing signs of concern about the state of democracy in the United States. Further evidence of this came in the poll results that the Bush Institute, Freedom House and the Penn Biden Center released recently outlining Americans’ beliefs about democracy at home and abroad.

The poll highlighted several areas of concern. First, while Americans still think it’s important to live in a democracy, a majority view our democracy as weak and getting weaker. Americans also believe that polarization in the country is bad and getting worse, and that government is not able to get anything done and too big and intrusive to serve our citizens. Faith in our institutions is lacking across the board.

It’s not surprising that Americans have low confidence in Congress, the media and the government more broadly, but it is notable that a majority have a lack of confidence in religious leaders and public schools in their community. Only 43 percent of respondents had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in public schools.

These results, in combination with the declining civil discourse that is proliferating in this country, can lead one to long for a Rip Van Winkle experience, hoping to wake up in 20 years with the state of our democracy strong and confidence in our institutions at all-time highs.

Despite the news these days, there are glimmers of optimism, especially about some of the younger leaders rising through the ranks. In communities across the country, and on both sides of the aisle, a new generation of leaders is emerging. I will highlight two of them — both under the age of 40, and both who are pragmatic, solution-oriented individuals who have gained the respect of their constituents at a young age. One is a Republican, one is a Democrat, and both are going places.

Elise Stefanik was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 30 in 2015, making her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Stefanik hails from upstate New York, and her parents were small-business owners in her district. After college and several years working in Washington in public policy, she went back home and ran for Congress.

As a young, female Republican, she was an nontraditional candidate and had to overcome doubts about her experience. Now in her second term, she can frequently be found in her district pounding the pavement, keeping in close touch with her constituents.

In a short period of time in Congress, she has established herself as an active member and a doer, working on issues on behalf of her district such as community health centers and agriculture. She has been named one of the most bipartisan members of Congress and is viewed as a rising star in her party.

On the other side of the aisle, Pete Buttigieg serves as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. “Mayor Pete,” as he’s called by the residents of South Bend, was elected mayor in 2011 at the age of 29.

Buttigieg is now in his second term and is lauded for his efforts to turn around this Rust Belt city. South Bend’s heyday was in the early to mid-20th century, when it was home to manufacturers such as Studebaker, but its population had been on the decline since the 1960s after that company closed and it had never fully recovered.

Buttigieg brought a sterling resume to the job: Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and naval intelligence officer. He’s been lauded for his focus on economic development; the city’s population has finally started to turn around and is slowly increasing. But even more than that, the residents of South Bend now feel a sense of dynamism in the city that had been missing for decades. New businesses are sprouting up, and long-forgotten areas of the city are undergoing revitalization.

Both of these young leaders share commonalities. They are oriented more toward finding and implementing solutions in their communities than toward being ideologues. They are visible and accessible within their communities, frequently hosting town halls and forums with constituents. They are civil in their discourse, instead of being partisan mudslingers.

Both are viewed as leaders who are just starting their careers and have much more to come. And we can feel better about the future of our democracy when we have people like them leading our communities.


Holly Kuzmich is executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and senior vice president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. This essay originally appeared in The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute. This is distributed by

Kafka on the Border

The administration has trapped immigrant families in a bureaucratic nightmare — and brought media hacks rushing to defend the indefensible.

By Jim Hightower | Jul 25, 2018

Insanity reigns. The inmates are now officially in charge of the national asylum.

Hidebound Donald Trump partisans keep insisting that their man isn’t certifiably insane, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. But surely some of them finally must admit that his snatching immigrant children from their parents’ arms at the Mexican border — and incarcerating the tykes for weeks in warehouse cages far away from any contact with mom and dad — is the epitome of Kafkaesque insanity.

Trump’s political assault on kids, toddlers, and even infants is so cuckoo crazy that it’s infectious.

In June, for example, Fox News Trumpeter Laura Ingraham dismissed reality by declaring that the children’s holding cells “are essentially summer camps.” Then, her sister Fox News commentator, Ann Coulter, babbled that the reality of Trump troopers seizing and terrifying kiddos wasn’t even happening: “Those child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now, don’t fall for it, Mr. President.”

For his part, our immigrant-bashing Mr. President began to rant like a dotty old geezer that he wouldn’t allow “these people” any legal avenue to address their plight. “No Judges or Court Cases,” he barked in a series of tweets. “Tell the people ‘OUT,’ and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

Old Man Trump isn’t only a callous grump — he’s also gone completely screwy about the essential role of the rule of law in our nation.

In fact, if you stood on the front lawn of his Mar-a-Lago resort, he might have you removed by force, but you’d have access to a court to plead your case and seek justice. That’s the American way, whether an autocratic property owner likes it or not.

Unless, of course, his highness arbitrarily nullifies 230 years of legal protections for the people’s democratic rights.

Jim Hightower, an OtherWords columnist, is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by


Australian bishop convicted of sex abuse cover-up resigns


Associated Press

Monday, July 30

Eds: Updates with statement from Wilson, reference to Pell case, raises reference to McCarrick case, pope generally refrains from taking action that might prejudice judicial outcomes.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of an Australian archbishop convicted in criminal court of covering up the sexual abuse of children by a priest, taking action after coming under mounting pressure from ordinary Catholics, priests and even the Australian prime minister.

It was the second major announcement of a sex abuse-related resignation in as many days, after Francis’ dramatic sanctioning this weekend of a U.S. cardinal, suggesting he is keen to clean house before he heads to Dublin next month for a big Catholic family rally. The sex abuse scandal is likely to dominate the trip given Ireland’s devastating history with predator priests and the bishops who covered for them.

In Australia, Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was convicted in May of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney during the 1970s. He became the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever convicted in a criminal court of abuse cover-up.

Wilson, who denied the accusations, had immediately stepped aside after he was convicted but refused to resign pending an appeal. Francis had appointed a temporary administrator to run the diocese in the meantime.

As recently as last week, though, Wilson acknowledged that calls for his sacking were increasing, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull added his voice to the chorus July 19 in urging Francis to fire him.

In a one-line statement Monday, the Vatican said Francis had accepted Wilson’s resignation. At 67, he is well under the normal retirement age for bishops of 75.

In a statement issued by the archdiocese, Wilson said he had submitted his resignation to Francis of his own will on July 20 — a day after Turnbull’s call — and said he hoped his decision would help abuse victims and the rest of the Catholic community heal.

“I had hoped to defer this decision until after the appeal process had been completed,” Wilson said. “However, there is just too much pain and distress being caused by my maintaining the office of archbishop.”

Wilson was sentenced by the Newcastle court to 12 months in detention.

Francis’ decision to accept the resignation is significant given he has previously refrained from taking action against accused bishops that might be perceived as prejudicing outcomes in civil or criminal cases.

Another Australian prelate, Cardinal George Pell, for example, has been on leave as the Vatican’s finance czar while he faces criminal trial on accusations of sexual abuse. But Pell, who denies the charges, remains a cardinal, head of the Vatican’s economy secretariat and a member of Francis’ core group of nine cardinal advisers.

Francis, though, is under increasing pressure to sanction bishops who have abused, botched handling abuse cases or otherwise covered them up. There are calls for a full-fledged church investigation in the United States, and criminal probes underway in Chile as the next phase of the abuse scandal — accountability for bishops who failed to protect their flocks from abusive priests — is gaining momentum.

In the United States, bishops and cardinals are coming under fire for failing to reveal what they knew and when about the abuse of adult seminarians and minors allegedly committed by Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington.

Francis on Saturday accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal, and imposed on him unprecedented penalties for a cardinal even before his canonical trial is completed, including living a lifetime of penance and prayer and living isolated from others.

McCarrick, who had been one of the most prominent American cardinals involved in responding to the U.S. sex abuse crisis in 2002, was initially ordered by the Vatican to cease all public ministry last month after the New York archdiocese determined that an accusation that he fondled a teenage altar server in the 1970s was “credible and substantiated.”

Since then, several male seminarians have come forward alleging misconduct and harassment, while another victim identified only as James has alleged McCarrick engaged in a sexually abusive relationship with him for years, starting when he was 11.

It was apparently a little-kept secret that McCarrick, 88, invited seminarians to his beach house and into his bed, suggesting that some in the U.S. hierarchy knew of his misconduct but turned a blind eye. In addition, a group of concerned American Catholics travelled to the Vatican in 2000 to warn officials of McCarrick’s penchant for young men, but he was appointed Washington archbishop and made a cardinal in 2001 regardless.

In Chile, meanwhile, prosecutors recently summoned the archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, to appear in court and testify about his role in the alleged cover-up of years of abuse by his top deputy, the Rev. Oscar Munoz.

Munoz has admitted to abusing at least one minor, and confessed to church authorities in December. Prosecutors, however, uncovered reports of at least four more victims abused by Munoz that were documented by the Santiago archdiocese, including some of his young relatives.

Ezzati has said he knew nothing of the abuse before Munoz came forward. He is due to testify Aug. 21.

Ezzati had already offered his resignation when he turned 75 last year, and was among the active Chilean bishops who offered to resign en masse in May when they were summoned by Francis for a collective dressing down for their disastrous handling of abuse allegations.

But Francis hasn’t moved on Ezzati’s resignation yet, presumably waiting to find the right candidate to take over the leadership of Chile’s most important archdiocese.

AP writer Rod McGuirk contributed from Canberra, Australia.


Opinion: Expect N. Korea to Try to Cash In on Remains of Americans

By Donald Kirk

The North Koreans are reluctant to talk about “denuclearization” but are winning easy points exploiting the bones of about 5,300 Americans still missing from the Korean War.

At every stage of discussion on repatriating GI remains, the North is able to promote a peace declaration that’s also endorsed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. What could be a better time to get across the message than the 65th anniversary this Friday of the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War? Wouldn’t that be the moment, North Korean strategists are saying, to transfer the first batch of the 200 sets of remains, the same ones President Trump mistakenly announced several weeks ago had already been returned?

The North Koreans would love all sides declaring “peace” as a prelude to replacing the armistice with a full-fledged peace treaty. That’s crucial to calling for withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. troops now in South Korea. Moon has said he’s not in favor of U.S. troops going home — a move that would definitely jeopardize the longstanding South Korea-U.S. alliance — but the North Koreans and their Seoul mates are sure to be asking, if we’re “at peace,” why should the Americans still be here and why maintain the alliance?

The North Koreans will be promoting that argument in hopes of getting Trump to agree on the peace declaration, and they’re banking on his enthusiasm for searching for GI remains as a means to that end. Considering that Trump went along with Kim Jong-un’s request at their summit in Singapore for stopping joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, pro-North strategists think there’s a chance he’ll assent to a statement on peace when the North begins transferring those 200 remains at Panmunjom where the truce was signed on July 27, 1953.

For North Korea, the return of the remains promises to be a gift that keeps on giving, a never-ending game with a special bonus. The United States holds that each set of remains is priceless, not a product with a price tag, but the North stands to reap millions of dollars in “expenses.”

Stories of North Koreans gouging Americans for money were commonplace in the 11-year period when the United States and North Korea conducted “joint recovery operations” until 2005 when George W. Bush, then U.S. president, decided enough was enough.

Bruce Bechtol, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and author of numerous books and studies on North Korean military issues, recalls the leader of one of the U.S. search teams complaining “the North Koreans want money for everything.” There were even reports of North Koreans hoarding what purported to be remains in hopes of profiting from their “discovery” by Americans with whom they were combing the terrain.

The fear at the time was the North Koreans would hold Americans hostage as U.S.-North Korean relations deteriorated after the breakdown in 2002 of the 1994 Geneva agreement, under which the North had locked up its nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon complex north of Pyongyang and stopped fabricating nuclear warheads with plutonium at their core.

Exposed as having ordered a separate secret program for making warheads with highly enriched uranium, Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, expelled inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency at the end of 2002. Then, in early 2003, he withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the run-up to the North’s first nuclear test in October 2006.

As the United States and the North resume joint recovery efforts, we may be sure the North Koreans will be asking for tons of money without doing a thing about denuclearization.

However, the North’s long-running campaign for a peace treaty takes higher priority than money, in the view of Mark Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. diplomat, now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Sure, joint recovery operations will provide a steady revenue stream, but he believes more importantly they see engagement with the United States as leading to talks on a peace treaty.

Kim Tae-woo, former director of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, notes the North Koreans, focusing on remains, have gotten the Americans to overlook the whole issue of human rights. “They see everything from the viewpoint of leverage,” he reminds me. While pushing for a “Declaration of the End of the Korean War,” they’re of course saying “nothing about a timetable” for denuclearization.

Many years after they died in long-forgotten battles, the legacy of those soldiers, airmen and Marines “missing in action” endures in a renewed struggle for control of the Korean Peninsula.


Donald Kirk has been a columnist for Korea Times, South China Morning Post many other newspaper and magazines. He wrote this for

FILE – In this March 18, 2014 file photo, voters cast their ballots in Hinsdale, Ill. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV finds that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government runs, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) – In this March 18, 2014 file photo, voters cast their ballots in Hinsdale, Ill. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV finds that most Americans ages 15 to 34 think voting in the midterm elections gives their generation some say about how the government runs, and 79 percent of this group say leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Staff & Wire Reports