DebateChats 2000: William Baldwin on the Youth Vote

Well, that leads back to the opening with disillusionment and disenfranchisement. It doesn't only have to apply to the corporate fat cats and the bigwigs and the rich and powerful. You're right, the partisan nature and the gridlock that occurs on the Hill is a big turnoff for voters. And yet elected officials are quite aware of that, and they — they don't do everything in their power, they're conscious of it and they try to avoid it, but invariably they wind up tripping over themselves and cannibalizing themselves in the red tape and in the bureaucracy. I think the original intentions of the Founding Fathers to set up a system of checks and balances between the branches and between the parties, was a timeless concept and should in fact work today. But I also don't think that the Founding Fathers could anticipate a lot of the, again, red tape and bureaucracy and partisan in-fighting. But you know, I wasn't around 150 years ago, and from what I'm told this has gone on from the beginning of time. The agenda moves forward very incrementally. You have to compromise and you have to negotiate. We live in an age now where people are used to seeing more dramatic results more quickly, through technology, and the political process has not been able to keep pace. Nor should it. I understand what you're talking about. There definitely is, currently, this do-nothing Congress that can't sort of — it's sort of rudderless, it can't navigate. I think that the Lewinsky trial had a lot to do with that, and I think that with the turnover in the House, in the Senate, and in the White House, we can put the Lewinsky trial behind us, and see if a new era of cooperation emerges.

William Baldwin at 2:53pm ET

I think to a large degree that the last two congressional cycles were caught in this holding pattern. I would largely attribute that to the Lewinsky scandal. And I think as a result of that — I've heard "gridlock" since I was in high school civics class, but it was at a heightened level because of Lewinsky, and I think that hopefully that will change in the next Congress.

ABCNEWS’ Jim Sciutto at 2:54pm ET

How optimistic are you that you can significantly raise the percentage of young people who care and are willing to vote?

Alison Byrne Fields at 2:54pm ET

I think that the percentage that care is not reflected in the percentage that are voting. I think that's very important to point out. They're demonstrating their caring and concern through different forms of political action. I'm not optimistic about voter turnout, I'm optimistic that young people care about their lives and their futures.

William Baldwin at 2:57pm ET

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