Dan Popkey had a good column in Sunday's Idaho Statesman about the mock political conventions held last week at Caldwell High School. A snip:
Students pick their party affiliations and, until this year, they reflected Canyon County's GOP loyalty. The last time the presidential race was wide open - Bush-Gore, in 2000 - Republicans outnumbered Democrats about 400 to 200.
The ratio was reversed last week, with 487 students at the Democratic convention on Thursday and 199 with the GOP on Wednesday.
"I personally want to see the looks on your parents' faces when they find out where you hung out today," said Caitlin Hogge, an 18-year-old senior whose nominating speech helped Democrat John Edwards to a second-place finish ahead of Hillary Clinton. Obama won in a walk, with 423 delegate votes.
Later in the column, Popkey quoted 35-year-old state Sen. John McGee as saying the teens are more interested in backing Obama than being Democrats. The thing is, research has proven that people tend to stick with the party they choose as young adults, and that nationally, far more young voters are identifying as Democrats than as Republicans. So if Obama gets the nomination (let us pray) and young Canyon Countians turn out en masse for him this year, it'll not only mean good coattails for downballot Dem candidates; it'll also portend a long-term Democratic trend for Idaho's second-largest county.
And why not? For every Patti Anne Lodge running home to bottle-feed her calves, there are a thousand young Canyon County residents struggling to make their rent and car payment, stuck in traffic commuting to and from low-paying service sector jobs. Canyon County is urban, it's diverse, and its residents deserve representation that's more in tune with their lives. It's no surprise that Caldwell High students realize this means voting Democratic.