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Millennials Turning Away from Obama

One of the biggest political stories of 2008 was the rise of the Millennials as an electoral force. As “Obamamania” swept the nation, college students across the country abandoned their usual political apathy and volunteered for the Obama campaign in droves, canvassing, phone banking and harnessing the power of social media. This youth enthusiasm paid dividends for the Obama campaign, and was reflected in the vote totals: Obama beat McCain among 18-24 year-olds by a whopping 34 percent, winning 66 percent of the vote.

That excitement is gone. A new Public Religion Research poll shows that while Obama still leads in the 18 to 24 age group, his lead has fallen dramatically to 7 percent. And those who still support him are less enthusiastic; Politico recently discussed the “tepid” support for Obama on college campuses, where few students are still interested in issues like the Iraq War, which dominated the discussion in 2008. The army of student volunteers that propelled Obama in 2008 is unlikely to materialize this time around.

The Obama camp may be alarmed by these results, but it shouldn’t be surprised. This is an Administration that has been focused on protecting the status quo. Here, as in Europe, the reigning blue system taxes and marginalizes the young to support the privileges of the established. As the economic downturn grinds on, issues like the Iraq War have been replaced with concerns about the economy. Obama’s policies have done little to help Millennials navigate the new economic conditions, and they are beginning to notice.

Via Meadia would love to see genuine competition for the youth vote. America is failing the rising generation, and it would be good to see both Republicans and Democrats thinking hard about how to make this a more future-oriented, pro-opportunity country. Unfortunately, we’ve heard very little talk along these lines in this election so far. This is a shame. Today’s youth should be demanding more from their politicians.

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  • Matthew Brotchie

    That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised when we all vote for Gov. Gary Johnson. If he polls enough to be included in the debates, that is.

  • Russ

    Two quick points:

    1. It’s difficult for any outside group to “demand” more from politicians, seeing that politicians appear very constrained to offer only what they offer. There are so many entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo that it’s very difficult to move the political needle. Apathy, as a result, is a very rational response.

    2. What do you think of the youth’s response to Ron Paul? It would take a miracle of 1980 Olympic hockey proportions for him to get the Republican nomination, but he’s attracted quite sizable crowds at college campuses over the past few weeks. I’m amazed that an Old Right libertarian can attract thousands of kids at public universities (including Berkeley!). Do you think that this is a passing phase, or an indication of a shift in politics going forward?

  • ms

    It seems to me that the best scenario for young folks going forward is job growth, entitlement and tax reform and education reform (including affordable career training.) Sounds to me like the Republican platform. I think their attachment to Paul or Johnson is just a bit of youthful rebellion. Obama is no longer hip and Republicans are the epitome of stodgy. Libertarianism has the advantage of being consistent, which young folks with little experience tend to like, but it is just not well-suited to deal with the complications of this fallen world. Paul and Johnson sound sensible in some ways, but in many others they live in la-la-land.

    Oddly, Democrats now seem to be the party of conservatism in the sense that they cling to the rapidly sinking blue model of government and fight innovation and reform. Some states are catching on, however. As Instapundit would say, “Faster please!” As usual, though, there is no hope for California under the leadership of Governor Moonbeam.

  • Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)

    Remember, these are not the SAME students as four years ago. Those who arrived in autumn ’08 will graduate in a few weeks. Graduate with a useless degrees and more debt than your average small business,but they’ll be gone.

    This crop of students has seen little besides the anachronistic propaganda of their professors and a deepening sense that the nation and the economy will have nothing to offer them when they leave. Of course they’re de-motivated.

  • Corlyss

    The 18-35 demo don’t vote. When they do vote, they vote Democratic. Why should either party pay any attention to them, singly or collectively? They suffer from the same poor political reasoning that plagues blacks as a voting bloc, and is begining to befuddle Latinos as well.

  • SophieCT

    It’s a shame when the only choices are a party that ignores you or a party that actively oppresses you.

  • hacimo

    What a load of poor naive sapheads. Don’t our youth know by now that their is no free lunch? On average people will get from government exactly what they put in (minus administrative expenses). We have pretty much taxed the rich to the point where they are moving their money offshore and our industrial bases is hollowing out. The money obtained is pretty much committed to supporting our unemployed underclass, the military, and the medical and retirement expenses of our beloved baby boomers. That means there are just no more free goodies for those bright eyed young people who comprise the “future of our nation”. If you are young, know that your parents have sold you into perpetual tax servitude and you are on their own as far as your own needs are concerned. Deal with it.

  • Jack O’Byrne

    I remember all too well my years in college. Despite supporting Reagan, I held considerably more liberal social views than I do today. As each generation progresses into their adult years, conservatism manifests as they seek to protect the result of the labors.

    As the latin population integrates into society, they, too, will feel the conservative pull.

    We have always been and will ever continue to be a “right of center” nation, never fully conservative due to the difference between our social ideals– marital fidelty, prosperous home and family– and the fact of divorce, extra-marital affairs, failed business and obstinate, disrespectful children.

    “Right of Center” denotes our cultural honesty. We aspire to good government, efficient and well supported public and private expenditures, moral and ethical conduct, and recognition of our cultural failings.

    In the end, it all works out. Becoming conservative is the natural progression for each generation as we balance our ideals with our realities.

  • Engy

    Because jobs are scarce this demographic will swing anti-incumbant…it may not neccessarily help Romney but it certainly won’t help Obama who’s record on Jobs is dismal & reviving “Hope & Change” will ring hollow.

  • Delguy

    Yeah, I’m sure when it is spelled out that Romney and his Neanderthal party want to cut Pell grants and are totally against the DEMOCRATIC idea of forgiving student debt after 10 years, they’ll ALL flock to etch-a-sketch. Get a clue, please!

  • Johnno

    I haven’t seen the argument couched this way, but anyone who doesn’t see a 15 trillion dollar deficit and a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit as the harbinger of death for Millineals needs to spend some time thinking about it.

    At some point, cuts are going to have to be made and job killing taxes are going to have to be imposed. Failure to make such cuts now will only increase the pain of making them later, a pain that will be more strongly felt by the Millineals than the current generation.

    Thinking Millineals should drop the party labels and ask their politicians whether they will focus on cutting the size of the federal budget down from 25% of GDP to something closer to the traditional 18% of GDP. Democrats wont, Republicans claim they will. Anyone not living up to that claim needs to be removed and replaced with someone who will, or everyone sinks.

  • Captain Kirk

    Atlas Shrugged, the Federalist Papers. these should be required reading. BOTH gave me a very clear picture in my 20’s of what the real story was. While the Federalist Papers are a very hard read and perhaps should be taught as part of a course on Government, Atlas Shrugged begins to read itself after you get about a third of the way into it.

  • Captain Kirk

    I believe young people (as well as most others) are waking up to the fact that there is a certain amount of dishonesty or incompetence (perhaps both) to the ‘liberal-progressive’ line. I believe that when Obama stated that for the Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare would be an extreme act on a piece of legislation passed by a ‘strong majority’ that he effectively “JUMPED THE SHARK”. Certainly a Hardvard constitutional law professor knows that every law must pass with a majority. ObamaCare passed by just a few votes in the House and had to be made law through Parlimentary gimick (reconciliation) that was not intended for such laws. I would also expect the president to KNOW the difference between creating new law from the bench such as gay marriage (judicial activism) and the testing of a law for “fidelity” to the constitution (the entire reason the Supreme Court exists!!!!). One can only conclude ignorance, in which case Obama is incompetent…or dishonesty, in which case he is untrustworthy. You decide.

  • No One Important

    The “youth” are graduating now with the equivelent of a mortgage on their backs already. One difference, these student loans can’t be discharged under bankruptcy laws like an underwater mortgage.

    There are no jobs. They are underwater before they even hit the job market. They have been taught to expect, feel entitled, to a good paying job as soon as they exit, and are finding out there are none. Coupled with the worthless degrees that easy tuition money has created (like homes ridiculously over priced). . . . .the next bubble is going to be the education bubble.

    How do you think these students will feel when this “bubble” bursts, and they have a degree that cost them 100K that is now going for 50K? There are going to be some really angry people out there.

    As for those who think “Ron Paul” is a factor – he isn’t. He never has been. Neither is a 3rd party Gary Johnson. Ron Paul was supposed to “dominate” those caucuses, remember? He hasn’t. He hasn’t won a single caucus. Ask yourself why. (The ron paul campaign even said they didn’t understand.)

    Because, “students” grow up and enter the real world, and realize how silly Ron Paul is. His percentage of support never grows. There’s a reason. People grow up. There are always new “college” kids that join, but Ron Paul’s support never grows past that.

    Gary Johnson didn’t appeal to a majority of the voters. That’s why he was eventually left out. To cry foul is to ignore the fact that he just didn’t appeal to a majority of the voters. Not because it was some “scheme.” Having a temper tantrum because millions of people didn’t support you doesn’t speak well of the candidate.

    Reality is sinking in, even to college kids. Ron Paul is not the answer, neither is a 3rd party Gary Johnson. The only way to make a difference is by voting and working within the parties. Not spit balling from outside. If you refuse to participate with the rest of the nation, why would you expect anyone to care what you are saying?

    Being a “Rebel without a cause” doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to listen to you. Get involved with those who can make a difference for you. Stop acting like a “fringe group” and you’ll stop being treated like a fringe group.

    Want financial reform? Get involved with the GOP, and make a difference. Clinging to strange people like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson isn’t going to suddenly make you relevant. And if you keep supporting the democrats, why would you expect the GOP to care what you say?

    The youth have created their own isolation. Only the youth can fix their isolation problem.

    And throwing a temper tantrum by insisting on a 3rd party isn’t going to gain you any respect either.

    As I said, eventually, most people grow up.

  • Red in Denver

    So…. evidently, millennials can interpret unemployment numbers vs. the shrinking workforce, as well as the swelling number of people collecting welfare, food stamps, SS disability, etc.

    You have to be able to think logically and look at more than just one segment of the economy to see how it’s really doing. The unemployment rate does not tell the full story; in particular, due to the growing number of people (like me) who have completely dropped out of the workforce.

    Glad to see they are definitely a lot smarter than what would be indicated by our less-than-stellar education system today.

  • http://AOL Jim Christensen

    Young people have always been naive and idealistic. Diplomas and degrees don’t necessarily extrapolate to intelligence. What do you expect from an educational system that starts indoctrinating our children in grade school? Or of students who graduate from our institutions of higher learning where 83% of the faculty are self-avowed liberals?

    Maybe some young people are starting to wake up? Those who thought Obama was the Messiah in 2008, are looking for jobs now. For those not still living at home with Mommy and Daddy, the real world is going to be a terrible shock for them. Their naive and unrealistic visions of being lead into the great Utopian paradise promised them, will be shaken to the core!

    It reminds me of a few old adages I’ve always loved:

    “If you’re 25 and not a Democrat, you have no heart!”
    “If you’re 50 and not a Republican you have no brains!”


  • huxley

    I suspect we are only five to ten years away from generational war, as the Boomers retire and the Millennials realize how badly they have been shortchanged by liberal policies and economic mismanagement.

  • Rob Darby

    @Jim – the one glaring problem with your adage reflecting the inevitable conservatism (I would argue ECONOMIC CONSERVATISM) that correlates with growing older is that the 2 parties have taken extreme social positions that are not pallitible to some of us. On the right, you have the Evangelical dogma and on the left you have the protection of outdated public sector unions and neverending unfunded social entitlements. Younger voters and some of us aging former “liberals” understand the need to reign in entitlements and protect what we have earned. On the other hand, the only options offered on the right, are candidates who are openly hostile to gays, minorities, and the new faces of America. Essentially, we are asked to choose between one of 2 outdated political parties.

  • Jim

    I am not surprised that young people aren’t jumping on board this year. They are idealistic but become dumbfounded when they learn that politics is a big farce. Our political leaders, from both parties, demonstrate daily that they are totally impotent when it comes to doing our country’s business. They are so partisan and polarized they can’t get anything accomplished. Even though it is unpopular with our career politicians, we must, somehow, implement mandatory term limits. This is our only hope.

  • Ann

    4 years ago I was 17, now I’m 21. 4 years ago, 28 year olds were 24. 18-24 groups today aren’t the same 18-24 of 4 years ago. Most are still for Obama with a few for Ron.

  • Chris

    Delguy. Forgiving debt after 10 years is a “democratic idea?” No it isn’t. Taking out a $30,000 loan, and then NOT paying it back is called STEALING. If you borrow money, PAY IT BACK!!! You Communist thief.

  • Ramesh Chandra

    I am glad that the millennial are as and young people.opening their minds all arguments. When i was their age I was in a socialistic society, where communists and socialists exploited the Rickshaw-vallahs. I used to take them my snacks and what little change i could gather to the striking Rickshaw drivers, while their leaders were grabbing land. The only opportunities can be open to people is by “Economics of empowerment”. No society benefited from hero worship or blind belief of one person. Government, unions, big businesses all are power houses. Structural changes are needed to reduce them to size. Victor and Walter Ruether never envisioned an empire. Neros will fiddle and let Rome burn. We need to be active enthusiastically. But be active to force structural changes. Make the Pres and congress meet their fiduciary responsibility first. Stop talking big words, start talking detailed solutions. The best way to stop financial collapse in 2008 is not “change we can believe in”. It is using the analytic skills we have to hire 200,000 unemployed MBAs to decipher Mortgage backed security contracts and put the rogues in jail. Instead the executive let the corruption and waste increase in the bureaucracy. “Tes We Can” cannot be left as a slogun. It needs to be followed by thorough planning and execution. It requires true Management and Leadrship. O failed utterly in these two vital roles. Can Romney as the first real proven Manager take the leadership mantle. We need to chose between these two alternatives and make them accountable. Not just despair and give up.

  • tpaine

    Guess what? Fresh faced “millennials” with their new, VERY expensive college degrees can’t find jobs either!!
    Little reading of history would have taught them that socialism has NEVER worked anywhere, at any time.

  • Oscart Pukt

    I hope that young people begin to understand that the Democratic People’s Republic of University Campuses and the People’s Socialist Republic of the White House are not realistic models for the future of the United States of America.
    If you choose Security over Freedom, you will wind up with neither.

  • William

    The reality is that most young people are just ignorant. I would know, I am 20 and a college student. I am doing mostly online courses though since then I can graduate cheaper. My generation is degenerate; ~ 40% out of wedlock kids, terrible morals, dysgenic fertility. Student loans were never meant to be paid back. Education , except for perhaps some high level science courses will need to move online. It was a racket by design. Academia is corrupt to the core. Homeschoolers are now 5% of the nation. And they score better then public school students! There is no industry besides education where ‘do it yourself’ beats the ‘experts’. I am definitely going to homeschool my kids. In the future there will be no public schools K – 12 , except for kids of incompetent parents. The reason my generation believes in tolerance is simply because they have no moral values at all. They are genuinely sociopaths. Amoral and totally selfish. I agree though w/ Mead on the blue model. It has to go. I am not sure when it will happen, but managerial welfare capitalism is a total joke producing a nation of infants – moral and intellectual.

  • Andrew

    Obviously, young people will probably always trend towards the Left as it is the realm of idealism. And to reiterate what the article said: Obama hasn’t *lost* the youth vote, he’s merely had his formerly massive lead cut down to single digits.

    Anger and/or disrespect aimed at young people for favoring Obama in such lopsided numbers is misplaced. You can’t expect a group that’s been indoctrinated with the buzz-words of the Left for 20+ years to not heed the utopian dog whistle that was the 2008 Obama campaign. It is the “Greatest Generation” and the Baby Boomers who raised us, taught us, chose which schools to send us to, passed the laws under which we are governed, etc. If you’re going to blame anyone for losing the youth vote by such a massive margin, take a look in the mirror.

    Anyway, economics may well begin pushing younger people to the Right more quickly than would normally be the case. It is very perturbing to know, incontrovertibly, that we must reform our social welfare programs (i.e. Social Security and Medicare) or we will destroy our economy. The Left is now acting as the champions of the status quo, which we know to be unsustainable. All it takes is someone who can articulate the problem (which is self-evident) and a viable solution.

    Those out there talking about Johnson and Paul: get over yourselves. The non-Leftie youth of America do not overwhelmingly support Libertarians. Ron Paul regularly made factually incorrect statements with regards to foreign policy. There’s a reason he is popular with the youth, and that’s because he presents the other side of the Left’s utopian coin. Great ideas domestically, horribly unserious on foreign policy issues.

  • Anonymous

    Ron Paul is the guy for the YOUTH, that is clear. Obama is worse than Bush…or perhaps no different. GOOGLE RON PAUL if you haven’t already.

  • Don

    You mean the young, brainwashed, idiot, brains, of mush or becoming disillusioned?

  • Krazeehors

    I heard just today that students across the country are organizing and raising money to go across the nation to campaign for Romney.

    This is great news. Young people are finally waking up.

  • Hunter Comstock

    Get as good an education as you can without breaking the bank, get ready to roll up your sleeves and go to work. There is something out there and you can find it. Do not depend on anyone but yourself and you will make it. Generations of young people before you have done it and you can too. Good luck! One other bit of advice. If someone wants to raise your taxes, vote against them!

  • Ryan

    Wow, I read a lot of comments on here talking for young people, yet almost none were from actual young people.

    Gen Y’s (I’m a part of it) disappointment with Obama is based on the fact that he hasn’t been nearly as Liberal as we thought he was. He’s Governed from the position of just left of center to just right of center.

    He hasn’t pursued meaningful financial reform, he’s raised military spending, kept Guantanamo open, extended the Patriot Act, and has continued and even upped the intensity on the war on drugs…Yes, the same Obama which the Right claims is an extremist Socialist is somehow too moderate for Progressives.

    So, if the problem with Obama among youth voters is that he hasn’t been Liberal enough then tell me how in the world Romney appeals to them? Obviously, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for Obama to rally the youth vote nearly as much as he did in 08 but I guarantee you that he will win the youth vote by the mid to high teens.

    Lastly, did anyone even bother to actually read the article?

    Among the issues Millennials believe are critically important, more than three-quarters (76 percent) cite jobs and unemployment, followed by the federal deficit (55 percent), and education (54 percent). Only 1-in-5 say social issues like abortion (22 percent) or same-sex marriage (22 percent) are critical.

    “College-age Millennials are also notable for their support for economic reforms that address the gap between the rich and the poor,” said Daniel Cox, Research Director at Public Religion Research Institute. “More than 6-in-10 Millennials say that one of the biggest problems in this country is that we don’t give everyone an equal chance in life.”

    Nearly 7-in-10 (69 percent) Millennials believe that the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, while 28 percent disagree. Younger Millennials also strongly favor (72 percent) a policy sometimes called the “Buffett Rule,” which would increase the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million a year. But Millennials also show some concerns about the role of government; two-thirds (67 percent) agree that poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.

    In a nutshell, what is important to youth voters is basically the platform of Obama. Romney, on the other hand, perfectly represents what we think has ruined America. So, has the level enthusiasm for Obama has dropped off a bit? Yes. Does that mean that youth support for the GOP is going to increase in the next election? Not one bit.


    Tell BO & his Sasquatch to get out by Jan 19th or Tony (convicted felon) Rezko won’t get his white house rental security deposit back

  • Mightycline

    To Bart Hall that said: Remember, these are not the SAME students as four years ago…….well there are too many that are the same. The extra years needed today for a BS is in excess of 4, my friend. This is what has caused grads and mom and dad to owe 140 thou for a degree in basket weaving and no job.

  • Braulio A

    Apparently the author of this article has not been following the Ron Paul Campaign or wants to ignore its magnetic appeal to the youth. He has been drawing record crowds that none of the others have come close to during the entire season. There has been a near absolute black out of his success in at universities as well as a media black out of the real delegate count. The out and out fraud in the Republican party will be the only reason Ron Paul does not win in a brokered convention. The youth is behind Ron Paul in great numbers!

  • Anonymous 2

    Truth is, much of what is posted here is a condescending attitude toward our young Americans. If you think they are stupid, perhaps it’s because they have generally been taught with a prevailing agenda that has never worked civic or social setting in history. Progressive and liberal teachers have been allowed free reign with our young people because of the ignorance or naivety of the general population. A large part of our population expressed the same lack of insight in the last election. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is this: “If you voted for the current president in the last election to prove you’re not a racist, then vote for someone else in this one to prove you’re not an idiot”. Although, I believe that the opposition candidate was not much of a choice either.
    The younger citizens of America are not stupid. They have been indoctrinated in a big way, and as they exercise their independent thinking processes, they are in large numbers rejecting the slop fed to them in the name of progressivism. This is why they are flocking to Ron Paul in huge numbers. When reality hits you in the face, it tends to wake you up. I would ask, whats wrong with a country that compartmentalizes seniors from youth as if they are not both Americans? What’s wrong with an administration that panders on the basis of ethnicity? Everything. Sooner or later, YOU are the one who is either being targeted or neglected. Young people are not stupid. And given the truth, they will generally reject lies. Not many posts on here give them credit. If you want to change the outcome of the next election, reach out to them, and teach them. It has been far too long that people shoved the responsibility of the education of their children off to someone else. They AND US will pay the price for their ignorance and our blase’ attitudes, if we allow it to continue. They WANT TO KNOW…help them learn. They are beginning to realize, if things don’t change…their future is bleak. Ron Paul is the candidate who cares about America in the way that will help her. What is so strange about fixing our problems? What is so strange about getting our nose out of other people’s business? Have we gone so long neglecting America’s issues that we don’t even think in terms of correcting them? God help us…and Help us elect a man like Ron Paul who tells the truth. This is what is resonating with with younger America….and boomers like me.

  • Alex

    Ryan, if you represent an audience larger than the typical gathering in a faculty lounge, the republic is beyond doomed. Liberalism has never worked anywhere it has been tried. History of full of socialist, communist, Marxists, and other -ist regimes and the only thing each produced was misery for its populace. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    –yes, the drug war is a failure but both parties are too heavily invested in it to get out. The drug war means more money than any of the Big Pharma baddies.
    –income inequality is NOT the business of the govt; it is a natural function of capitalism and since your professors obviously never taught you – capitalism is the only system in which you can move to a higher income level. You can also move lower if you screw your customers or manage money poorly.
    –society owes you nothing beyond a govt that will protect your rights. And you owe it nothing beyond paying your own way thru life and not infringing on the rights of others.
    –by every calculus, Obama’s record has been abysmal and it has been so on purpose. Whether it is higher gas prices, unemployment increases, a refusal to spur the domestic energy industry, or pretending the Arab Spring was something other than an opening for the Muslim Brotherhood, the man is evil. He could give a damn about you. Or me, for that matter.

    If you wish to be part of the growing looter class that depends on govt for its existence, then vote for Obama. But look around the world or pick up a history book; there is not a single example of success involving central planning. Not a one. Your getting a college degree proves equality of opportunity all by itself. But you want equality of outcome and while a leftist system can ensure that, its version of equality means shared misery.

  • Archie

    Ron Paul is the only one who will not put all
    I FEMA concentration camps

  • Claudia

    Bravo, Alex!! I agree whole heartedly!!

  • Korean Vet

    As a “Tea-Party” member–I became interested
    in “Finding a Presidential Candidate” who
    had a record of “Not Voting for Much-More
    Spending” & who would try to get a “Balanced
    Budget” that would Reduce Taxes-! The only
    one–with a “True-Record” of this–was “Ron
    Paul”-! And I noted–that the Biggest Donor
    for one Candidate was “Goldman Sachs”–which
    is the same Financial Bank that “Obama gave
    more “Billions of Bail-Out Money” than the
    rest of the Banks put together-! And they’ve
    also furnished their trainning to all of the
    Fed-Bank’s Graduates–“Paulson, Bernanke, &
    Geithner”-! So they’re all Buddies or “Birds
    of the same Feather”–regardless of Political
    Party–that’s involved-! So–I’ve NOT trusted
    any of those people–they all think this money is theirs–& it’s Tax-Payers’ Money–
    instead-! They’ve all “Gotten Big Bonuses”
    & “Big Pay-Raises” for years-! So guess
    what they’ve done with your ‘Future Money’-!?
    Did you Work Real-Hard to get some Money-!?
    How Hard–did They have to Work to get Yours?
    Think about it–“Is Ron Paul–the only one–
    who wanted to “Audit the Fed” & Find Out–
    where all our “U.S. Money” has gone-!? Vote
    to Find Out–“The Truth”-! (The others don’t
    seem to care-!)

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