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Youth Vote & Facebook May Decide Iranian Election

With as much as 50% of the voters under the age of 30, the youth vote as well as Facebook may prove to be deciding factors in the upcoming June 12 Iranian presidential elections. Sensing his grip on power possiby slipping away, the government of controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Facebook ahead of the election as most of the buzz among young voters is highly favorable of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the Independent Reformist candidate for president. mousavi.jpg

The fact of the matter is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has burnt down much of his popularity at home by his constant confrontations with the West as well the terrible economy he has fostered. Grocery prices have doubled since Ahmadienjad was elected president in 2005. Prior to that election, Admadinejad was the controversial Mayor of Tehran who once ordered the streets of the city widened so that some Islamic prophets could walk those wide streets once unbelievers in the world would be defeated in a future war with Islam.

The middle class of Iran prefers a better business climate and more Western trade and would prefer to avoid potential war in the future over the Iranian nuclear program. Likewise, many young people in Iran feel that Ahmadinejad has sucked hope out the country and has only been too controversial and badly mishandled the Iranian economy. Mousavi may not be the Iranian Barack Obama, however he's seen as the best hope for change and reform among the three presidential candidates. Mousavi would likely move to advance relations with the West and improve trade. And even though the development of nuclear power is a source of pride among many in Iran, Mousavi would likely seek to divorce the peaceful development of nuclear power from any military intentions.

Mousavi has also proven the ability to draw huge crowds at rally events on very short notice as well. With only a two day notice, Mousavi drew a large 15,000 person crowd recently. Former president and moderate cleric, Mohammed Khatami withdrew from the race and supported Mousavi as the best hope for reformers to win the election. And most of the talk about the election in Facebook has been heavily weighted towards Mousavi as well, leading to the government of Ahmadinejad's government banning Facebook prior to the election.

Mousavi would have a full plate in working to improve the economy mess made by Ahmadinejad as well as improving relations with the West. Further, Mousavi promises greater civil liberties such as more freedom of speech in Iran. That would be a sharp contrast from Ahmadinjad ruling out of fear, and falsely accusing some of spying for Israel and allowing public hangings.

Some polls suggest that Mousavi may have a moderate to huge lead. Other polls, put Ahmadinejad ahead. However, it is really not known just how reliable any of these polls actually are. One poll entirely comprised of just workers has Mousavi leading by 52 to 36% over Ahmadinejad. However, another poll that includes small towns and village actually has Mousavi running third in the race with Ahmadinjad leading. But it is highly likely that a runoff election may take place, and that Ahmadinejad is running far behind the 61.89% that he received in the 2005 Iranian election when he defeated former President Akbar Rafsanjani.

With the potential of the huge youth vote, and Ahmadinejad so far running far below his 2005 election margin, it is highly likely that Mousavi may win the election coming up in a few days, and the relations with Tehran and Washington may start to improve somewhat from the low point they have sunken to under Ahmadinejad.

Just like the recent American presidential election, hope and change are big factors in the upcoming Iranian presidential election.


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Comments (10)

Herman:

I do hope Mousavi wins. Thanks for the article.

Paul Hooson:

Hello Herman. I'm highly hopeful that Mousavi wins and rolls back Iran's nuclear weapons program, opens a dialogue and hopefully trade with Washington, and the domestic economy in Iran improves under him. He's the certainly the best bet to turn around the bad relations fostered by Ahmadinejad. A peaceful exchange of power in elections is always preferable to war in my view. Now about that North Korea....

Doubting Thomas:

I hope it'll be Mousavi also - but I believe Ahmadinejad will likely get it. He controls the 'machine' politics, and has successfully put down student 'uprisings'. I don't think he'll go peacefully - unless the mullahs cut off all their support for him.

drlava:

Lets not forget that Irans relapse into fundamentalism was fueled by Bush's 2002 State of the Union declaration of "axis of evil".

I think Bush thought the correct statement was "axes of evil."

Doubting Thomas:

Yes, but it really started under the weak Carter administration, Lava, then boiled along for years.

Seriously, there's lots more to history and a lot more to the motivations behind various countries and leaders than simple reactions to whatever Bush did or said.

Lee Ward:

Let's not ignore the simple truth -- Bush lit a match to the Middle East. Contrast this to the efforts of Clinton at resolving the matter through diplomacy and detente and its easy to see that GWB indeed had an axe to grind.

It was Bush, all Bush - only Bush, and nothing but the Bush.... well, with Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld sent over by Bush Sr to help, of course.

GHWB - September 11, 1990:

We stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge: a new era -- freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace.

Jr Bush set out to complete the mission, and boy oh boy did he fuck it up.

ed davis:

Yeah! Cuz otherwise we'd all be happy citizens of the earth living in peace forever. Too bad George Bush fucked it all up. When George Bush said that there is evil in the world, he created evil. There was no such thing as evil until Bush the Moron spoke it into existence. Obama is gonna fix that. We are going to defeat our enemies with kindness. They'll respond, just wait. Go Obama! Go Hillary! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words! Words!

Lee Ward:

Relax, Ed. I know there are still a lot of bed-wetting conservatives out there who think we have to kill off every single Muslim in order to prevent a 9/11 recurrence, but the adults are in charge now.

It'll be okay, little fella... don't cry.

ke_future:

really, lee, what adults are those, cuz i sure as hell haven't seen any.

and ed's got a point. no matter what you think, bush is not the cause of every problem in the world. not even close. all i can assume is that you, dr lava, and most of you on the left have never actually studied history or paid much attention to it. because if you had, then you would know that blaming bush for iranian fundamentalism is just plain stupid.

drlava:

I am lucky enough to live in a city of 4 million people with an ethnic diversity wide and exciting.

In my neighborhood on one corner is an Afghan restaurant, a Morrocan and my favorite, an Iranian. I have been eating Chicken Khoubedieh Kabobs with biryani rice with cucumbers and feta there for almost 10 years. Having been to Tehran back in the 70's I struck up a friendship with the Iranian owners of the cafe. We have celebrated weddings and birthdays there and had many discussions related to the politics of their homeland. Many of their relatives live in Iran.

I can assure you that the perception in Iran is that Bush set back the progress made toward westernization 20 years.

As far as the history of Iran goes...isn't it funny how conservatives begin the history in 1979. Ignoring what the CIA did to them in 1953.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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