Somewhere between 200,000 and 800,000 people marched in Washington D.C. this weekend to lend their support to a budding movement created by the survivors of the Parkland High School shooting. They call it March For Our Lives.
Several million people marched worldwide, including communities in Washington. If the organizers’ estimate is correct, think about the D.C. turnout for a minute: 800,000 people. The current population of Seattle is 704,352.
If you don’t think that something significant is going on, you’re not paying attention. Take seven minutes and watch one of the best speeches you’ll ever see from Emma Gonzales. Not the best speech by a high school student, one of the best speeches period. She took to the stage in front of a crowd nearing a million people and connected emotionally like few people could have. It was impressive and inspiring.
FULL SPEECH: #EmmaGonzalez names the murdered Parkland victims and observes several minutes of silence in a 6-minute, 20-second speech that covered the same time it took the gunman to kill 17 people in her high school:
“Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.” pic.twitter.com/lMnkpkEpfU
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) March 24, 2018
So what difference will it make? That remains to be seen, of course.
March For Our Lives
This was just one of the hundreds of marches that happened around the country over the weekend. Let’s imagine for a minute that these 800,000 teens all decide to vote when they turn 18 in the next election. What would that have done in the last election?
That’s enough votes to flip Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Georgia from Red to Blue with over 40,000 votes to spare.
Now clearly I understand that’s not exactly how the electoral college works. I just wanted to put the numbers in some kind of context. And I’m not necessarily endorsing everything the March For Our Lives movement stands for, but I am impressed with what they accomplished this weekend.
This is how democracy works in the modern era. We’ve recently seen how social media can be used in underhanded ways to manipulate an election. These young people may be showing us another way that social media can influence voting.
The NRA claims between 5-7 million members that it can mobilize to vote. They clearly have only begun. But what if March For Our Lives can mobilize the people that showed up on Saturday to the voting booth?
I guess we’ll find out on November 3, 2020.
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