The Weed Wedge

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the California midterm candidates are running neck and neck, but voters are rather apathetic. Calling Californians of all political persuasions “angry, frustrated and unpredictable”, the Chronicle predicts that many more voters may not bother going to the polls. Democrats seem to have the most to lose if voter engagement does not climb.

A new strategy California Democrats in the senate and gubernatorial race are considering is picking up Proposition 19, which advocates for the legalization of marijuana, to entice young voters to get to the polls. Democrats who support Proposition 19 see it as a reversal of the Proposition 8 phenomena—when lots of older citizens came out to vote against same-sex marriage in the 2008 election.

Democrats hope that by supporting this proposition, the younger age bracket that generally does not bother to show up on election day, will be motivating to get out and vote Democrat. Brown and Boxer are both barely leading the in the gubernatorial and senate race, respectively. By employing the weed wedge, they hope to gain enough of a margin to secure victory.

However, the Democratic Party nationally is cautious of this approach—afraid to be labeled the pro-weed party by the press and the public. The Party and the polls are split on whether this issue will strengthen or fragment the party base. The Democratic Party chairman Burton said, “I think there was a concern that the candidates who are running didn’t want to have that as a side issue, a diversionary issue.”

Free media, however, are more fully in support of the Proposition and nationwide Democratic support for legalization. There have been far more organized campaigns through independent media advocating legalization than the opposite, according to Politico.

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