How Scott Brown Did It (Or Why 2010 Is No 2008)

During the 2008 presidential race, more 18- to 29-year-olds turned out to vote than in any election since 1972. When voters under 30 cast their...

During the 2008 presidential race, more 18- to 29-year-olds turned out to vote than in any election since 1972. When voters under 30 cast their ballots, they did so in overwhelming favor of Barack Obama’s candidacy.

CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which is run out of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.

And their data from Tuesday’s special election, which decided the next senator from Massachusetts, is more than a little worrisome.

We asked its director, Peter Levine, to shed some light on CIRCLE’s findings and how what happened in Massachusetts may well predict the mood of young voters in November's midterm elections.

GOOD: Tell us a little bit about CIRCLE and why your polling of young people is basically the best stuff out there?

PETER LEVINE: CIRCLE is the leading academic research center that studies young Americans' civic and political engagement. We are not only interested in voting; we also study young people's volunteering, their use of electronic media, their social activism, their religious participation, and many related issues. We investigate these topics because we believe that the future of democracy depends on the next generation of citizens, and they need skills, confidence, and experience to participate.

In the area of voting, we are known for releasing the only day-after estimates of youth voter turnout in major elections. Later, when more data are available, we conduct in-depth studies. For example, we have shown that half the young population does not attend college, and they are still basically left out of American politics.

GOOD: Your findings report that 15 percent of Massachusetts citizens between the ages of 18-29 turned out to vote. Did this figure surprise you, especially since turnout for voters over 30 was much higher?

PL: The result is disappointing—not from a partisan, Democratic perspective, but for anyone who wants young people to have a voice. I wouldn't say that the turnout was completely surprising. Under-30 voters in Massachusetts are very Democratic and liberal right now. Seventy-eight percent voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Polls conducted before this week's election showed Republican Scott Brown ahead. But he could only be ahead if core Democratic constituencies—such as youth—were planning to stay at home.

GOOD: Young voters in Massachusetts sure did stay home. Compared to the 52 percent that showed up to vote in 2008, did Tuesday’s turnout surprise you?

PL: Turnout is always highest (for all age groups) in presidential elections; it was extraordinarily high in 2008. Thus, a decline in 2010 as compared to 2008 was inevitable. But I think the degree of decline was especially disappointing.

GOOD: To what do you attribute the disparity—can it be explained by the special election alone?

The fact that it was a special election was part of it—you have to remind people of the date and the need to vote. I think it was especially hard to campaign to young voters, because those who attend college were not on campus during the past month, since it was winter vacation. Although a majority of college students register at home (and not in their college towns), campaigning on campuses is usually quite effective.

I also think ideology played a role. As I said earlier, Massachusetts young voters lean extraordinarily to the Democratic side right now. But Democrats seem to be demoralized in general.

GOOD: Are there any lessons that Martha Coakley and Scott Brown's campaigns might have borrowed or better employed from then-candidate Obama's strategy with young voters?

PL: We know from very rigorous research that young people respond well to being "asked" to vote. If someone knocks on their door, or if a human being actually calls them up and is willing to discuss the election, turnout goes way up. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Coakley campaign did very little grassroots campaigning after the primary. The Brown campaign may have done more, and that could explain why they got 40 percent of the youth vote—twice the 20 percent that John McCain won in Massachusetts in 2008. By the way, Scott Brown should be congratulated for that share.

GOOD: If Coakley had better galvanized the youth voter demographic, might the outcome have been different?

PL: Yes. It was a close election. But I think that if young people had constituted the same share of voters in 2010 as they did in 2008, Martha Coakley would probably now be Massachusetts' next U.S. Senator.

Map via

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.