and 33 percent of blacks, according to the
Pew Research Center.
As people of color become more politically
engaged—buttressed by gains in income, education and high-speed Internet access—they’ll
also become more likely to donate to presidential campaigns. This already is happening.
“It’s not just white males anymore who
are spending money on supporting candidates,” says Reed. “It simply is the reality
that it’s not just the population in general
being more diverse; it’s the people who are
interested in politics who can afford to give
[who are] diverse.”
In 2000, blacks and Latinos accounted for
1 percent each of total presidential-campaign
contributions, according to the Bliss
Institute at the University of Akron. In
2004, 8. 3 percent of $200-plus contributions to Bush came from ZIP codes predominated by people of color, compared
with 10. 7 percent of these contributions to
Democratic candidate John Kerry, according to research from the Public Campaign,
the Fannie Lou Hamer Project and the
William C. Velasquez Institute.
A NEW GENERATION OF POLITICS
People ages 18 to 29 voted in record numbers in 1972, the year after the 26th
Amendment lowered the voting age to 18.
Youth turnout disintegrated until 2004,
when record-high voting rates among
blacks ages 18 to 29 drove cross-cultural
turnout. Most of the 2008 presidential candidates are using grassroots campaigns and
youth- and political-outreach and/or blog
coordinators to help mobilize these voters,
who aside from being the most multicultural constituency to date tends to be well-educated and highly connected to the
Internet, says John Della Volpe, polling
director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
Door-to-door canvassing is the most
cost-effective means of mobilizing the youth
vote, particularly among youth of color and
immigrant youth, who tend to be largely
bilingual and trust messengers who look like
them, according to CIRCLE. This personalized approach costs only $10.40 per additional vote, compared with “robocalls”—
nonpartisan automated calls, which cost
$275 per additional vote.
“The tactics that can be used to mobilize
urban youth are different than the strategies
you might use to organize somebody in a
college campus in a rural town with 100,000
people in it,” says Della Volpe. He cites
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s successful
efforts to engage youth by hiring a former