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The kids aren't all right
Young Democrats are depressed. Maybe even despondent.
“I feel helpless,” one young woman said Wednesday evening in a focus group of 10 Democratic base voters between the ages of 25 and 39 convened by Democratic consulting firm HIT Strategies when asked by the moderator how they felt things were going in the country.
The Early was allowed to observe the focus group on the condition that we didn’t identify the participants.
“I was gonna say hopeless, which is kind of like helpless,” another woman said.
“Discouraged, disappointed, worried,” one man said. “I mean, the list goes on.”
“I would say fatigued, because it’s like there’s only so much a level of anger and upset you can be before it really takes a toll and you’re just exhausted of being upset all the time,” one woman who lives in the Midwest said.
The moderator, Ashley Aylward, told the participants that she’d been asking focus groups similar questions for the past two years and that their answers were “some of the most depressing” she’d ever heard.
The sources of their despair included mass shooting, the unaffordable cost of housing, an endless stream of bad news on social media and a sense that lawmakers are focusing on the wrong priorities. But the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade stood out — and fear of what might come next.
“I don’t know if anyone’s seen ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’” one woman said. “I was like, That can never happen. But now it’s kind of like, Oh my gosh, it could potentially happen.”
Angry young Americans
The participants’ responses align with polling showing that young Americans are among those who disagree with the court’s decision most vehemently.
Sixty-nine percent of people between 18 and 29 disapprove of the court’s decision, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted after the ruling and released on Wednesday, including 55 percent who strongly disapproved.
The only other demographics as unhappy with the ruling: people who are religiously unaffiliated (77 percent disapproved of the decision, including 63 percent who disapproved strongly); Asian Americans (72 percent disapproved, including 51 percent who disapproved strongly); and people with postgraduate degrees (67 percent disapproved, including 55 percent who disapproved strongly).
Among all Americans, 57 percent disapproved of the decision and 41 percent approved.
A majority of Americans don't approve of the court's ruling in states where abortion is now banned, in states where it's now restricted, in states where it remains legal but the future is uncertain and in states where it's expected to remain legal — but disapproval is strongest in the last group of states, where 65 percent of residents disapprove and 34 percent approve.
Frustrated with elected Democrats
But the focus group also spotlighted how frustrated young voters are with the way Democrats have responded to the ruling, which is tougher to capture in polling.
“I was very upset [about the ruling]. But what made me even more upset was that immediately the Democratic Party started calling me and sending me emails asking for me to give them money,” one woman who lives in the South complained.
Democrats’ failure to coalesce around a plan to respond to the ruling even though a draft opinion leaked more than a month earlier made her less inclined to give.
“Why am I going to give you money when I could maybe donate it to another group where I know that it’s gonna go toward people being able to get abortions?” she said. “They used it as a fundraising campaign.”
“I’m so tired of being told to vote in every election when I already do and nothing happens,” said another woman, who lives in the Midwest.
They also voiced frustration that so many Democrats in Washington are old enough to be their grandparents.
“If you look at politics and people in office, they’re in their 80s,” a third young woman said. “We need some young blood in there.”
Despite their frustrations, though, none of them said they were considering sitting out the midterms in protest.
“I pretty much vote every single election,” the woman who lives in the South said. “It’s not gonna stop me, though I don’t really feel like my vote counts. I still like to know that the little number is there and that it’s because of me. It’s like the one thing that I can do.”
Trump is making millions from his for-profit speech series
Did you know? Former president Donald Trump receives proceeds as “part of a multimillion dollar deal to speak at events” that resemble his political rallies, our colleagues Josh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf and Sarah Fowler report. The for-profit show known as the “American Freedom Tour” debuted last October in Jacksonville, Fla., and is his latest money-making scheme. Here’s a look inside:
- Outside the arena, the crowd lines up according to how much they’d paid. “At the far end of a white entrance tent, near a bus wrapped with a photo of Trump’s head on a muscular, shirtless body, were attendees who paid $55 for a pair of tickets as ‘citizens,’ a general admittance option. At the front, closest to the doors guarded by Secret Service agents, stood a ‘presidential’ tier who shelled out $3,995 each.”
- “Inside the arena, the former president’s appearance had all the trappings of a Trump rally: he hugged an American flag, rattled off grievances about 2020 election and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, mocked transgender athletes, and hinted at a third run for the presidency.”
On the Hill
House committee calls CEOs of gun manufacturers to testify
🚨: “The House Oversight Committee is ramping up its investigation into gun manufacturers and has requested that CEOs of three major gun manufacturers appear before Congress at the end of the month in the wake of a string of harrowing mass shootings involving assault-style rifles that have killed and injured scores of Americans,” our colleague Jacqueline Alemany reports.
- “Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the committee’s chairwoman, on Wednesday sent letters to Marty Daniel, the CEO of Daniel Defense, Mark Smith, the president and CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands, and Christopher Killoy, the president and CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co., requesting testimony as a part of a second hearing hosted by the committee examining the firearms industry.”
Most Americans support three policies that might have prevented July 4 mass shooting
From Post polling analyst Emily Guskin: On July 4, a 21-year-old is accused of firing into a crowd gathered for an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., and killing seven people. He passed four background checks to purchase guns from 2019 to 2021 despite a 2019 police report that he threatened to “kill everyone,” which failed to trigger Illinois’ red-flag law.
The shooter exemplifies the type of person most Americans want to prevent from buying guns.
According to a late June Monmouth poll, 75 percent of Americans support a federal red-flag law allowing “police to temporarily take away the guns of someone who poses a threat to themselves or others,” including support from 60 percent of gun owners. And a June Fox News poll found 81 percent of Americans favored “allowing police to temporarily take guns away from people who have been shown to be a danger to themselves or others,” including 77 percent of voters in gun-owning households.
The Monmouth poll found 55 percent of Americans supported banning the “future sale of assault weapons,” but support dropped to 33 percent of gun owners. Gallup found that 55 percent of Americans favored a ban “on the manufacture, possession and sale of semiautomatic guns, known as assault rifles.” Authorities said the shooter used a rifle similar to an AR-15 to spray the crowd with more than 70 rounds.
Fox found 78 percent of Americans, including 74 percent of gun-owning households, favored raising the minimum legal age to buy all guns to 21. Support was an even higher 82 percent for raising the age limit for people buying assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons, including 81 percent in households with a gun. The alleged shooter was able to get a firearm owner’s identification card, the document required to possess a gun in Illinois, in December 2019 because his father sponsored his permit application, according to the state police force.
The polls show a clear majority of Americans support laws designed to stop people like the July 4 shooter from purchasing assault weapons. But the shooter’s ability to buy weapons despite major warning signs showcases the challenges state and federal governments face to make these policies effective once they are in place.
The latest coverage on the shooting from The Post:
- Uvalde officer spotted gunman, then asked for permission to shoot, report says. By Arelis R. Hernández
- How the Highland Park parade shooting unfolded: A marching band, then gunshots. By Patrick Marley, Robert Klemko and Kim Bellware
- With little outcry, Chicago’s bloody weekend eclipsed Highland Park toll. By Robert Klemko
Early reeeads 🐣
- 🚨: Boris Johnson expected to quit amid flood of government resignations. By The Post’s Karla Adam and William Booth.
- Democrats race to clinch deal on climate, energy with Manchin. By The Post’s Maxine Joselow and Tony Romm.
- Biden planned to nominate antiabortion conservative before Roe overturned, emails show. By The Post’s Tyler Pager and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
- To get banned abortion pills, patients turn to legally risky tactics. By The Post’s Christopher Rowland.
- Biden taps Denver airport chief to be next FAA administrator. By The Post’s Lori Aratani and Michael Laris.
- Biden administration wants to ease student-loan forgiveness for some. By The Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel.
- Mississippi’s last abortion clinic will shutter as trigger ban begins. By The Post’s Katie Shepherd.
- FBI director suggests China bracing for sanctions if it invades Taiwan. By The Post’s Devlin Barrett.
- The strident writings of a young Blake Masters dog his senate run. By the New York Times’s Jonathan Weisman.
……At least he’s honest?