Ignoring GOP voter suppression and long lines, Fox & Friends says youth turnout is low because of reality TV

The show's hosts and guest suggested St. Patrick’s Day parties, ABC’s The Bachelor, Twitter, and a lack of glitz and glamor as reasons for low youth turnout

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. 

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Citation From the March 11, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): That younger generation seems to show up for rallies but doesn't show up to vote. How do you figure that?

TOMI LAHREN (FOX NATION HOST): Well, they show up to rallies, they show up for the fun events, of course, they show up on Twitter to support the revolution, but as many of us suspected, it's very different to support a revolution from Twitter when there's crowds involved, when you can have your moment in the sun and you can be part of a movement, and when you actually have to go to the polls on Bachelor finale night, the two are very different things. One of them takes effort. Which, we know that the Bernie Sanders crowd that maybe is looking for a freebie or a handout might not be the most reliable when it comes to voter turnout. Just a thought.

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Think about that, because it's interesting you said The Bachelor. I called my dad; my dad was watching The Bachelor last night and we started talking about next Tuesday. Next Tuesday is St. Patrick's Day. The young voters might not show up on that day either.

LAHREN: You know, Ainsley, I have a feeling that you may be right about that. Again, it's just showing that the social media activism that's really propped up people like Bernie Sanders, AOC, and others is not the same as showing up in real life.


LAHREN: I'm not saying Bernie Sanders supporters or Joe Biden supporters are not necessarily hard-working Americans. But there is a big difference between those who scream and yell and have signs and tweet and get angry over things on Twitter, and those who are actually going to be the type of Americans that want to waste their time on a Tuesday night to go do this thing called voting. It's a very different thing, especially for young people. 


LAHREN: These people that show up to the rallies, it's like showing up for a concert. It's showing up for something that you can put on your social media and say, “I was here." But it's not the same as just going to vote. The two are very different. One is a lot more glitzy and glamorous and the other just takes a little bit of effort on a Bachelor night, on a St. Patrick's Day, something that a lot of young people quite frankly aren't just -- not willing to do.

KILMEADE: I can't wait to tell the young generation they didn't have to make a choice, because the polls will probably close by the time the Bachelor finale got underway. We're not asking you to give up 12 hours, just 12 minutes.

EARHARDT: They were making guacamole in the hours before. They were shopping for their Coca-Cola. 

KILMEADE: You're right. They were crushing some guac.