Fellow blogger over at FutureMajority.com has just released an expose on what has been said to be one of the fastest rising political youth organizations in the country. As it turns out - the group is a front group for ultra-conservative economic policy, spinning fake or cherry picked polling data, and running one of the largest AstroTurf 2.0 operations ever seen!
While the GOP has made gains with young white males (though just how much is in question do to an oversampling of the south in the cited report) since the period those surveys were done, overall the ethnically diverse Millennials have not drastically changed, with the majority of disappointment in Washington coming from the left...
"Generation Opportunity bases their legitimacy on the number of followers on their Facebook page, "Being American." At the time of writing, the page has just under 940,000 fans, which would be very impressive for an organization that was publicly announced less than 3 months ago. According to their announcement press release, their fan page already had over 600,000 fans before they even publicly announced their existence. That is a little bit too impressive. . . .Then again, Generation Opportunity doesn't have any fans, "Being American" does. Apparently, "Being American" is a Generation Opportunity project. Let me translate: someone gave Generation Opportunity the existing page for "Being American" and the organization branded it as their own. Anyone who has ever liked "Being American" on Facebook because they like being American is unwillingly being counted as a supporter of this organization, and Generation Opportunity is using these people as 'evidence' that they are legitimate and "one of the largest and fastest growing organizations targeting young Americans." This is astroturfing 2.0. . . . "
"Generation Opportunity is a conservative astroturf front group being used to push a pro-conservative youth narrative using the false legitimacy of their acquired Facebook page. There are no Millennials involved. There is nobody involved in the organization that is not a conservative activist. None of their polling data has included crosstabs or demographics.. . ."
"Paul T. Conway, Kellyanne Conway, and Matthew Faraci are not bad people. Kellyanne Conway in particular has been a long-time advocate of youth outreach on the right and has spoken openly about improving voter access. If conservatives want to start another youth outreach or advocacy group, more power to them. I welcome the addition of organizations that seek to engage young voters regardless of their place on the political spectrum. However, I do not support the idea of a falsely non-partisan organization disingenuously using the followers of another Facebook page as legitimacy to push a conservative narrative so it looks unbiased."
For months I've reported on a recent trend I've seen emerging among conservatives. Suddenly the right is taking the youth vote seriously at a time that our side continues to take them for granted. Part of my frustration stems from seeing friends organizing in the youth movement struggle to get their groups funded or even noticed by the establishment or party elites. But republicans appear to have taken notice.
Young voters had an upward trend that occurred in 2000 and has been steadily climbing ever since.
As such, Republicans understand that this is a numbers game. The key demographic for a long time was Baby Boomers just because there were so many of them. During the '70s Boomers had significant impacts - and are continuing to have. But the Millennial Generation amounts for 80 million people - who will soon be 80 million voters. In 2004 they went for Kerry, in 2008 they went for Obama, and if Democrats can hold on to them for just a few more elections they'll have solid partisan blue votes for life.
Generation Opportunity is the indicator that the GOP will stop at nothing to make sure this doesn't happen.