Our Power of 12 team hit three crucial states in search of young voters.
By Becca Frucht, Andrew Jenks and Jacob Soboroff
BOSTON — MTV News’ Power of 12 hit the ground in Boston early on Super Tuesday to meet young Republican voters in a state best known for Democratic politicians like Kerry and the Kennedys. We didn’t know what to expect, and what we found was … not much.
After visiting the campuses of UMass Boston and Boston University, a local elections officials told me that turnout at noon was 2.5 percent citywide, a puny number by anyone’s standards. The young voters we did meet were Democrats, independents or Libertarians — no Republicans — and all were supporting Congressman Ron Paul or President Obama in an uncontested primary.
After striking out looking for young voters at Northeastern and Harvard Universities, we headed to Mitt Romney’s home neighborhood of Belmont, where he voted and afterward told me that he wants to “save the future” for young people, which MTV News producer Adam Murphy pointed out sounded like something out of a “Terminator” film.
Later in the evening, at Romney election-night headquarters at the Westin Copley Square, we met the first young Republicans of the day. Asked what “saving the future” meant, attendee Sally Geary said “insuring economic stability and growth for our country and making a better world for our young people to grow up in.”
Is saving the world as easy as that, I asked? “It’s definitely as easy as that.” — Jacob Soboroff
COLUMBUS, Ohio — I leave Ohio realizing that Governor Romney is probably the big winner tonight. But a larger question for many young people I spoke with today is his sincerity.
Although he answered our own MTV Power of 12 team member Jacob Soboroff’s question (and props to Jacob for getting that!), many of the Ohio State University students I spoke to today raised questions about the former Massachusetts governor’s authenticity.
Their overwhelming answer? We want Ron Paul instead.
Brian Bode told me something that I heard throughout the day from several young people who cast ballots: They wouldn’t even vote in this primary, or general election, if it were not for Libertarian hell-raiser and notorious straight-shooter Ron Paul.
In many ways, this Ron Paul fervor reminded me of what we saw with Barak Obama in 2008. (And, in fact, a number of those voters I’ve met on the road said they had turned to Paul after becoming disillusioned with Obama over the past three years.)
From what I have learned through my election travels so far, and reinforced today in Ohio, is the idea that our generation has grown up in a world with greater transparency than ever before. We have archived our lives through Facebook and Twitter and have an unusually astute perception of whether we are being told the truth, if it’s reality TV or politics.
As a result, we strongly believe, almost subconsciously, that if we are taking part in politics, as we did in record numbers in 2008, it is only because we believe we have the power to enforce real change.
Ron Paul, like then-Senator Obama, has a message that is about foundational change. Young Americans look for that, and the millennial generation will especially look for this in years to come.
I went into Ohio thinking about Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney (running neck-and-neck at press time). And I was largely right: Currently, Ron Paul only has about 9 percent of the votes in Ohio, far behind the other three candidates, which may mean that although there is a dense population of Paul supporters here, it may not be enough to make any sort of real dent.
But I leave knowing that Paul, one way or another, will find a way to stay in this race and continue to energize young voters. — Andrew Jenks
ATLANTA — As a Southern girl, returning to my homeland to cover the Super Tuesday shenanigans in the Peach State has been a welcome whirlwind. From the Chick-Fil-A biscuit breakfast at the empty Georgia Tech Student Center polling place this morning to the open bar (I did not partake because I’m professional like that) at the fancy-schmancy Renaissance Hotel where I witnessed Newt Gingrich committing to a whole new quest for Obama domination (and moon colonization) — there’s no denying that today has been a political par-tay!
But did Georgia’s youth know they were invited? Did the Republicans even ask them to RSVP?
One man definitely did, although it didn’t make much difference in the end, as Newt’s roots run deep in the rural Peach State. We heard a ton about Ron Paul from young supporters in Georgia. The most eloquent defense came from the young Libertarians who spoke of the Texas congressman as if he were their own rock-star grandpa at a meeting of the College Republicans on Georgia Tech’s campus on Monday night before the vote-counting madness began.
We hit Georgia Tech at the break of dawn today to check out the polling place action (or lack thereof), and the highlight had to be chatting with power pals Thaddeus and Briana before parting ways with the Yellow Jacket campus for the urban amazingness that is Georgia State University.
It was like being on collegiate LSD walking into the hot mess of the GSU quad on its busy “strollin’ ” day — where stepping is a must — and it was the perfect setting to unpack how non-GOP go-getters were putting their power on display on a day reserved for Republican revelry. Kendra Kelly of the Young Democrats and Alison Fox from Students for Sensible Drug policy not only demonstrated why girls run the world, but also how withholding your vote can be just as powerful a message as giving it away.
What to do next? Crash a class, of course. I barged into a fairly packed Principles of Marketing class to take an informal poll of the youth zeitgeist at GSU. I listened as students gave the real talk — Newt is “economically dumb,” Mitt’s flip-flopping ain’t that bad, all the Republicans can take a hike when it comes to women’s rights and more.
Now I’m furiously typing in this cheesy lobby to the sound of “NEEEEEEEWT!” ricocheting off the marble as supporters file out of his victory party in cowboy hats and sequin dresses. “Lawdamercy!” as my grandma would say, it’s been a day and a half. I’ve seen apathy and engagement, ignorance and intelligence — and since this Republican race is gonna drag on for quite awhile, young people will have plenty more opportunities to show their power in 2012. It’s gonna be real, y’all. — Becca Frucht
MTV had Super Tuesday covered, with reporters on the scene in Georgia, Ohio and Massachusetts! Stick with Power Of 12 throughout the presidential election season for more from the ground.
‘I remember, ‘You’re nothing without this person,’ ‘ she says during documentary, airing at 10 p.m. ET/PT today (March 6) on MTV.
By Jocelyn Vena
Demi Lovato certainly inspires her fans to be who they are and make no apologies for it. During her MTV special, “Demi Lovato: Stay Strong,” airing at 10 p.m. ET/PT today (March 6) on MTV, the singer/actress opens up about her connection to her Lovatics, and how they inspire her as much as she inspires them.
“Every time someone asks me for a picture or an autograph, even if I’m having a bad day and I’m in a bad mood, I remember, ‘You’re nothing without this person,’ ” she says during the documentary. “They make it special.”
At a tour stop, one fan tells Lovato that she inspired her to not wear her wig and just embrace who she is. The young woman tells the singer, “Keep being awesome.”
Later during her performance, Lovato recalls meeting the fan and invites her to come onstage to sing. “Give it up to my friend who inspired me earlier,” she tells the room of screaming Lovatics, with her special fan at her side.
Her fans are a big part of “Stay Strong,” voicing their own testimonials about how they found strength in Lovato, her story and her music. “My fans have been really receptive towards me. They’ve really welcomed me into their arms after everything I’ve been through, so I’m really thankful for them,” she told MTV News. “They also stand by my side and support me no matter what, which is an amazing feeling.”
“I’ve just been working at it a day at a time and have been trying to continue to fight my hardest,” she told MTV News. “And I’ve had my ups and downs, and I’m still trying, but overall, it’s been a really great journey, and I’m thankful for everything that I’ve been through.”
Don’t miss “Demi Lovato: Stay Strong,” debuting at 10 p.m. ET/PT today (March 6) on MTV.
MTV Unplugged – A Live Album, due April 9, captures every intimate moment of band’s stripped-back set.
By James Montgomery
Back in December, Florence and the Machine stripped down for a taping of MTV’s venerable “Unplugged” series. And not surprisingly, this presented a rather unique set of difficulties for the usually voluminous band — though not the kind you’d expect.
“It’s such a huge thing, and it was so intimate, and I really enjoy doing things stripped back and having the strings and the choir, it was really wonderful,” Florence Welch told MTV News. “But, what to say in between? I got so bashful. I was so grateful to be there, and I was trying to express that, and it just went into this weird, stilted speech. … It ended up with me trying to talk but not saying any words. … Singing is fine; talking, not so much.”
Then again, we suspect Welch is just being modest, because April 9, Florence and the Machine will release MTV Unplugged – A Live Album, which captures every intimate moment of their performance (“I genuinely hope they don’t include my talking,” Welch admitted, laughing), including stirring takes on their hits “Dog Days Are Over,” “Shake It Out” and “Cosmic Love,” plus a pair of covers: “Try a Little Tenderness” and “Jackson” (with guest vocals by Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme).
Judging from the list of songs, you’d think the “Unplugged” taping was well-rehearsed. But as Welch explained, nothing could be further from the truth.
“We kind of winged it. I felt really comfortable: I’m kind of in my element in that environment, when you’re able to really play,” she said. “The thing I don’t enjoy about TV performances is that I have to sing live to a backing track, because most times they can’t afford to mic up the whole band, so you have to sing to something that’s just going to keep going, with or without you. And performing in a stripped-back sense, with a band that’s playing around you? It’s so organic, and there’s so much freedom to it.”
Of course, her “Unplugged” performance also earned rave reviews from one very prominent guest: Kanye West, who was front and center for the taping, and made his approval known from the get-go.
“He was dancing and really going for it in the front row; it was amazing,” Welch said. “At award shows, you can’t really see anyone, because there’s lights, and they’re kind of far away, but for this, it was just like Kanye was just there. And I covered ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’ and he’d just sampled that for the Watch the Throne album, so I was like, ‘Um, Hi … you kind of got there before me, but I’m going to do this now, and it’s kind of for you …’ He was smiling the whole way through, and I think he’s a total genius, so to have him there was really incredible.”
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