Young supporters of Democratic Stacey at a during the 2018 race for governor in Georgia. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

The Jolt: The brewing generational fight among Democrats

This morning, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren rolled out a big-ticket proposal to erase $640 billion in outstanding student loan debt.

The 69-year-old Massachusetts senator’s plan would eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt for each person with less than $100,000 in household income.

Word is also going around that 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday announce his entry into the Democratic presidential contest in Charlottesville, Va., the site of a 2017 violent clash sparked by white supremacists.

A Harvard University poll of 3,000 young voters between the ages 18 and 29, published this morning, helps explain why: Republicans may be facing a drought of young voters, but on the Democratic side, there’s a brewing fight between older and younger voters seeking a greater voice in the direction of the country.

The poll was released ahead of a youth-focused CNN Town Hall event co-hosted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. Among the findings to be drawn from likely young voters are many data points that should worry Republicans:

-- Two-thirds are likely to vote will pick up a Democratic ballot in presidential primaries;

-- 20% think the country is headed in the right direction;

-- 7% like President Donald Trump’s approach to climate change;

-- 11% approve Trump’s handling of health care issues;

-- 5% like how Trump is handling race relations;

But this is what should worry Democratic candidates and would-be candidates like Warren, Biden, and Bernie Sanders. Again, among likely voters:

-- Only 18% say elected officials who are members of the Baby Boomer generation care about people like them.

-- and only 22% say Baby Boomer voters care about them.

Given that the same poll says that anxiety rivals joy as a dominant emotion among young voters, boomers Warren and Biden are addressing both.

***

Today is Earth Day, and the Gallup organization tells us that Americans living in the Northeast (67%) or the West (67%) are more likely than those living in the Midwest (60%) or the South (53%) to believe climate change is a real thing.

***

President Donald Trump could have a rough welcoming in Atlanta when he arrives Wednesday to headline a conference on opioid abuse.

Protesters plan to gather at Woodruff Park at noon Wednesday to march toward the downtown Atlanta hotel where the president will speak. But organizers made clear they don’t aim to disrupt or interfere with the event. 

***

We found a nugget buried in U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s latest campaign finance report: $5,600 in donations from a PAC run by Senate colleague Mitt Romney. The money came through in late March, more than two months after Perdue authored an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he warned Romney was making the same “mistake that many Republicans did in 2012 — a mistake that cost him the White House” by publicly assailing President Trump. 

***

David Perdue's campaign also paid the Federal Election Commission a $30,000 fine for campaign finance violations dating back to the Republican's first bid for office in 2014. The AP reports the settlement came after an FEC auditor "found Perdue’s campaign took more than $117,000 in prohibited contributions during the previous campaign, as well as more than $325,000 that exceeded legal limits on campaign donations. The FEC also found Perdue’s campaign failed to disclose $128,972 in debts and obligations." 

Derrick Dickey, Perdue's campaign consultant, said: “After undergoing an exhaustive four-year-long random audit process, we reached a reasonable settlement agreement regarding some typical bookkeeping errors that occur on a campaign of this size in order to bring this matter to close.”

***

Today’s must-reads in the AJC universe:

-- A former Home Depot executive and founder of a nonprofit organization entered the wide-open Republican race for Georgia’s Seventh District on Monday with a pledge to bring the perspective of an “outsider, a businesswoman and a mom” to Congress.

Lynne Homrich launched her campaign with an ad that featured a string of clips of Reps. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – who have fast become the favorite targets of Republicans – before flashing to Homrich.

“That’s the best they can do in Washington? If your kids behaved like these women, you’d ground them. If they worked in your business, you’d fire them,” she said.

-- Our AJC colleague James Salzer reports that the body once known as the state ethics commission voted last week to raise the limit on donations in statewide races — for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, etc. — from $6,600 for a primary, $3,900 for a primary runoff and $6,600 for a general election, to $7,000 for both primary and general elections, and $4,100 for a primary runoff.

Since primary runoffs are fairly common, someone planning to run for governor would be able to raise $18,100, rather than $17,100, from a single donor.

***

Over the weekend, Brian Mock, an at-large city council member in Chamblee, was duly informed of “an apparent suicide by train” within the city limits. He tapped out some worth-reading thoughts on depression that include these opening lines:

Growing up as a gay kid in a small town in Alabama in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s wasn’t easy. This was before cell phones, internet and social media. All you knew as a kid was what surrounded you. It’s hard knowing you are different than everyone else, believing you are the only one, and not being able to confide in even your best of friends out of fear. Not to mention that I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, where anything even remotely different was unacceptable. Being a teenager in my situation was often painful for me. One day, I lost all hope….

***

Gov. Brian Kemp traveled down to Ocilla a few days ago to help launch Google’s Rolling study Halls program that brings wireless internet to students with lengthy bus commutes. The tech giant outfitted four Irwin County school buses with Wi-Fi and computers for students whose average daily one-way commute time stretches past one hour.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X