On March 11, Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren went on Fox & Friends to blame the low youth turnout in last night’s Democratic primary elections on the ABC reality show The Bachelor. Lahren suggested that young voters “looking for a freebie or a handout” can’t be counted on to vote, because it’s not “glitzy and glamorous” enough to peel them away from a Bachelor season finale, Twitter, or alcohol.
Lahren’s complete ignorance of youth voter suppression, fashioned into holier-than-thou insults by the 27-year-old talking head, was enthusiastically received by the Fox & Friends hosts. Ainsley Earhardt added that young people could have also been too busy making guacamole and buying Coca-Cola to vote, and Brian Kilmeade complained that “We're not asking you to give up 12 hours, just 12 minutes.”
On the same primary election night, there were multiple reports of long lines at collegiate polling places, with at least one voter having to exit the line before voting because the wait was too long. Quinton Lucas, the Mayor of Kansas City, MO, was even turned away from his own polling place despite previously voting for himself four times; he later found out that a worker had entered his name into the system as “Lucan Quinton.” Last week’s Super Tuesday Democratic primary contests were also plagued by extremely long lines, with one man having to wait almost seven hours before voting at Texas Southern University.
In October 2019, The New York Times reported on nationwide efforts to suppress the youth vote, led by Republicans with the clear intent of reducing the Democratic vote. GOP legislators closed many polling places heavily used by young voters in the 2018 midterms, after they helped Democrats take back the House of Representatives. Closing polling sites on college campuses, despite an increase in youth turnout from the 2014 midterms, overloads the polling sites that remain and directly contributes to the long lines that dissuade voters from voting. Voter ID laws, another favorite conservative policy, also limit otherwise eligible college students from voting by restricting the validity of out-of-state or school-issued ID cards.
But on Fox News, none of that is important, and youth turnout was low because everyone just wanted to watch The Bachelor instead of voting.