The Kids Are Alright – And Want You to Vote
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What’s the first thing you look for on dating apps? Nowadays, the kids are checking for height and…political affiliation? As we learn this week from Maddie Medved and Samantha Kanter, hosts of the podcast Girl and the Gov, politics has become personal. Civics class didn’t prepare us for this! With midterm elections just around the corner, they share with V all the issues that are inspiring young voters to show up to the polls. V also gets curious about how candidates can use social media to meet millennials and Gen Z where they are, plus the tools Maddie and Sammy launched to help bridge that gap.
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V Spehar, Maddie Medved, Sammy Kanter
V Spehar 00:05
Hey friends, as you probably know, the midterm elections are only one month away in the United States. And it is a big election, huge. Every single house seat is up for grabs. Did you guys know that? Like why was I unaware that every single congressional House seat was up for grabs? I mean, it probably should have known that but I thought they like rotated there was some sort of like some get to stay while the new ones come in. Nope. Every single seat, and a third of Senate seats are also up for grabs. It is an election that will determine if Democrats hold on to their tiny majority in the Senate, or if it’s going to flip back to Republicans. And if that wasn’t spooky, Halloween enough. There are three dozen governorships on the ballot. That is more than half of all US governors up for reelection total. Nearly as many State Attorney General’s Offices are also up for election. And as I mentioned, on Tuesday’s episode, when we were talking about the Supreme Court, you can not forget about the state offices, especially attorneys general, very important. Unfortunately, sometimes the gravity of something is no match for tradition. voters don’t turn out in the midterms as they do for presidential elections. And young people in particular can lag behind older folks when it comes to getting to the ballot. Okay, so that was the unfortunately part but the fortunate part is that there are two incredible young people who have a whole media platform for fixing this issue. Maddie Medved and Sammy Kanter founded Girl and the Gov, which is a media company all about civic engagement. They educate their young audience on the political process, from the politicians running to what is needed to cast a ballot, and they have a podcast, we love to see it, podcast friends, they’ve hosted events, they’re on social media, they are literally everywhere, very accessible and free to access. And they care a whole lot about putting the power into people’s hands, regardless of their party affiliation. I’m so excited to have them with us today. Because this is such a crucial time to be talking about politics and getting involved in caring about the vote. So Maddie and Sandy, welcome. Thank you so much for joining me, I am so excited to chat with you both about how you promote a show that helps inform young folks on the electorate without making them feel stupid. In fact, I think it’s even in the catchphrase for the show no stupid questions. Before we get into talking about the podcast and your work, and you just tell us a little bit about yourself. So maybe start with Maddie.
Maddie Medved 02:36
Yes, I grew up in the Bay Area. And I live in San Francisco. And I really came into kind of like my political awakening, I would say in college and had this passion like in the in the back me where I was like, I kind of always been interested in politics. Let’s see how it goes. declared my major political science. And I was like, oh my god, this is it. Love it.
V Spehar 02:58
And Samantha, tell me a little bit about you.
Sammy Kanter 03:00
Yes, kind of similar story in terms of declaring a major in college, being at Lafayette, it was government in law and having sort of a long interest in politics. To some degree, there is a notorious story where in middle school, I did stand up and tell everyone that George Bush was an asshole, I did get in trouble for that. So if anyone was wondering what happens to the kids that get detention for talking too much, this is where you end up, you end up in podcasting, and politics. So that’s sort of the you know, juxtaposition there. But really, you know, my career post college wasn’t in politics, it was in PR and communications in the design field, but I always wanted to still be civically engaged to still be, you know, somewhat touching politics and finding, you know, a way to do that. And I just, I struggled to find what that pathway was, that really worked for me. And, you know, a lot of things came together and coalesce, you know, the 2016, election 2018, some of my friends, you know, not really realizing their own, you know, power in terms of voting and being civically engaged and, you know, eventually found a way to pull those things together and solve for a whole new market, which is where grown, the GOV originated, where, you know, it’s really brought us today, and, you know, of course, where we hope to go, which is rebranding politics and making it accessible for everyone and having everyone get involved, and make sure you know, everyone’s included in that conversation. And let’s remove some of those barriers, which intimidation is certainly one of them.
V Spehar 04:31
And I remember being in school, since we’re talking about school right now. And you would get like extra credit if you registered to vote, or you could write a quick little essay on who the President was, at that time, get a little extra credit. And as a person who was constantly missing assignments, I was doing all the extra credit I possibly could. Given that y’all went to school, like essentially a decade after I did was that something that still was going on? If
Maddie Medved 04:53
you really look at Civic Education from me, and maybe it starts in middle school like a little bit in into high school. I feel like it’s really centered around like US history. It’s not really about civics in the way like our government works and how you can get involved as a citizen. I feel like I didn’t really understand that until my more focused classes in college, around politics, around civics around like, how the Senate works. How do you pass a bill like, in all of that, I think is missing from education. I don’t think you get it unless you made your political science, which is crazy, because obviously, everyone needs to know how this works. Everyone needs to be involved. And so I feel like that’s a real kind of foundation and kind of pillar of what we want to do, which is answer all those civic questions kind of provide that civic education that’s like really been missing forever across the board. So it’s interesting to kind of like, go back to your education and look at it and be like, where was that? It’s like, I don’t remember a lot of that, any of that.
V Spehar 05:51
But I mean, I went to school, I remember starting in sixth grade, we did have a class called civics. And they taught us how Congress works, how the government works, why you should be involved. And now talking to Gen Z, they are echoing the same thing you’re saying, which is that it appears that the school systems have almost removed civics and in doing so left people ignorant to what their power is. And that is why I think it’s so important that you girls are here today to talk more about this, because like you said, we’re missing this entire education that at one point, America did say, I don’t care if they didn’t care if my mother was Republican, if my father was a Democrat, those things didn’t matter. nearly as much as I see people identify with them now, it was like these children need to understand how to be the leaders of the future. And I do wonder, when we got away from that, and who was maybe responsible for that.
Sammy Kanter 06:36
I think it’s something that really needs to be solved for. And I think one of the areas that it can be solved at is school board, which has been a position that we have seen a lot of buzz around, particularly this year. I mean, I think it’s personally the hottest seat around.
V Spehar 06:51
Yeah, tell me a little bit more about the school board and the importance of people understanding the power that school boards have.
Sammy Kanter 06:57
Yeah, well, I mean, school board really dictates, you know, what kids in a particular district learn about and what books they have available to them, and how, you know, they’re taught what the priorities are there. And, you know, it’s one of those things where people don’t realize how much power that really holds, you know, and also I think education as a whole education is such a critical issue. And it’s usually the issue that’s like, told it’s not sexy like, and we’ll be the first to say a lot of times that when we cover issues on our own podcasts, like we haven’t talked about education, nearly as much as we should, because it’s oftentimes not like the spicy thing. You know, what’s, we’re looking at reproductive rights, we’re looking at climate justice. And all of these things are very important. I don’t want to take away from that at all. But like, at the root of all of this is education. Educating people is what creates change. And that happens from preschool and on and school board really directs what happens there. So it’s all connected, but making sure that we have people that are educated themselves on what can actually help kids and our next generation of leaders. I mean, it’s just super critical. If we’re not electing the right people there. We are starting the cycle from a really bad place. And it’s like, we need to fix the issues at the source not band-aid them later on. And that’s why, you know, we’re really seeing this fight there.
V Spehar 08:21
What was the first thing that you learned in school, higher education that you were like, what?
Sammy Kanter 08:29
I took a class that was actually a congressional simulation, where we were Senators, there were lobbyists, there were a journalist, there was the president, like everyone was simulated in the class. And there was a whole semester long where everyone pretended to be, you know, Mitch McConnell and the president, we were like, trying to pass bills, the lobbyists were like sneaking checks under the desk. It was so cool. And I ended up taking it. So like, if you want to be a lobbyist, you have to take it the next year, and like, be the lobbyists because you already know how the class works. So I took it both years because like, this is so iconic, but it’s also like you learned so much just like being in that and kind of understanding how it works. So that was definitely like a big highlight. I feel like of my higher education experience around politics.
V Spehar 09:12
And that just sounds to me like something that kids in high school would love to do. I mean, role drama was the drama team was hot. But yes, just that role playing that feeling that part that being putting yourself in those shoes is what helps people learn in such an authentic way. Sammy being an east coaster, did you get to go on the eighth grade field trip to Washington, DC?
Sammy Kanter 09:32
Oh, yes. And let me tell you my outfit from that. Incredible, incredible. I’ve really I teach in that moment in DC on those steps, the pink madras shorts iconic. That was my big moment. But no, that was I eighth grade was also a great year.
V Spehar 09:50
We have to stop. Yeah, we have to stop there. For folks who don’t know, every school on the East Coast. Pretty much every school on the East Coast and eighth grade. You get to take a four day trip to Washington, DC. And you do take this iconic photo of you all on the steps of I believe the Supreme Court, perhaps it’s like something. And it’s a panoramic photo of your whole class and you go to the Smithsonian museums, and you learn about the White House, and you get to stop by different places. And they take you to lunch at the world famous Applebee’s of Washington DC, right? And like, you got to like whatever McDonald’s is there. But it is the first time and I hope that they still do this trip, because it really is that moment where the government becomes real to you. And you’re in eighth grade, you’re like, what? 12 or 13? And like, Yeah, you get the neon shirt from the guy on the corner. And yeah, you get it all. And it’s such a bonding experience that kids on the East Coast get to have, I’m not sure what the West Coast does for civics on that side.
Maddie Medved 10:50
I feel like my best friend was in private school, and she got to go there, the private school kids, but I didn’t get to go. But it’s actually really interesting. You raised that because I think it is such an important piece of education that definitely should be implemented, because I was actually born in Washington, DC, and then very, like, quickly after that moved, and I didn’t go back. And I actually haven’t been back since I was 10. And when I was 10. I was like this, it’s like a really kind of awe inspiring place, especially if as a kid, and I think it is really an important kind of moment. In your education growing up to like, yeah, really get that first kind of hint of like, what is the government? What are all these crazy buildings like, where am I and I think like being there is actually a really important moment, as you know, a kid growing up, and hopefully it can spark maybe some inspiration to ultimately learn more ultimately, maybe like get involved or spark that, like, I want to be the president when I grew up.
V Spehar 11:46
It makes it possible; you can see it. So you can hear from anyone that it’s a swamp, and it’s a terrible place. And then you get there, and the streets sparkle and shine. And the White House is like even bigger than you imagine. And the museums are so incredible, and you’re just surrounded by so much power, so much history. And it just really is awe inspiring and striking. We’re going to take a quick break while we reminisce on our memories of the eighth grade field trip to Washington, DC. And when we get back, we’re going to talk a little bit about the approach that y’all have taken to your content and maintaining a real bipartisanship and why that’s important. So we’ll have that right when we get back. All right, and we are back. And we are chatting with Sammy and Maddie from he girl on the gov podcast. And I wanted to ask you all, you know, now getting into the podcast content, your content is very bipartisan. Politics is not typically that way, especially nowadays, people are very all or nothing in their stances. And what I appreciate about the work that you’re doing, is that you’ve chosen to truly include people, whether they’re coming from a place of great education or no education with they’re coming from the right or the left, talk to me about what made you choose that path, it’s a harder path.
Maddie Medved 13:10
It is a harder path. And you know, it’s funny, when we first started the podcast we wanted to be we’re kind of strictly bipartisan, but it was an interesting time because it was right before the 2020 election. And so we found ourselves and we honestly keep finding ourselves in the spot where there’s so much at stake, that there are some things that we can’t be bipartisan about and that, you know, we have to provide certain resources on and educate on a certain issue. And so something that we’ve kind of shifted towards, it’s not really about like Democrat versus Republican, but like we have these kind of more progressive values that we hold personally. And that we also, you know, find it’s crucial and like to educate on in a way, just because literal lives are at stake. So we kind of have shifted away from like, we are absolutely holding both sides accountable. In fact, we love doing it, and we love coming for Democrats and Republicans. But what we kind of hold true and like real foundation of what we push out there is that, you know, we have these values that we will stick with and make sure that like, we are uplifting voices that need to be.
V Spehar 14:19
Yeah, and I think that’s a testament to honesty because no one’s truly exactly dead center, right? There’s going to be things that affect us more or the other. I get told all the time that I’m very nonpartisan, until it comes to an LGBTQ issue. And then I think people give me the grace to understand I’m going to have a personal lived experience that is going to guide the way that I feel about this particular topic. And as long as we’re transparent about that, I think folks, you know, continue to trust us and that’s so important. Sammy, your content is meeting millennials and Gen Z at their level, you know, just like they listen to podcasts, they love social media, you’re right there where they are. But these are groups that are known for their opinions, but not necessarily for the voter turnout so far. What do you think is keeping millennials and Gen Z from the ballot?
Sammy Kanter 15:03
I think there’s tons of barriers. I think, first and foremost, it’s overwhelming to even figure out okay, where do I register to vote? How do I do it? Okay? What if I actually do show up? Is it going to make a difference, and I think that’s a huge conversation, the idea of am, am I going to be the person that swings an election or changes the game, and honestly, especially at the local election level, you can be that one vote that actually changes the whole game. So I think there’s a misunderstanding with a lot of young voters about how powerful their one vote can be, no matter where you are in this country, it does not matter. But I think that it’s also the approach that politics has taken forever. And that is to really ignore young people and not bring them into this space until they’re so frustrated with something at say, age 50-60, etc, that they actually, you know, go on and you know, decide to vote get engaged, there’s just this huge missed opportunity to engage with voters. And generally speaking, I mean, I think politics is behind the times, and hopefully, through what we’re doing, we can help change that and engage young people from the face. But also, I will say we’re trying to change it from the back, too, we just launched a newsletter called hashtag viral. It’s basically social media consulting right to your inbox is made specifically for the political industry. And part of why we created that besides that we want to bring politics into the 21st century, is that young people are on social media, we want to teach politicians how to actually use it. And we’ve had so much experience, and there’s no shame in this game, but where politicians or their teams or just people that are working for amazing organizations doing great work, don’t know how to use social media at all, they don’t even know how to log in, I’m not even kidding you. And again, no shame in the game. But we need to be, you know, helping from the back end, in addition to the front end, and together that will change what we can accomplish. But both need to come together on that. So hopefully, hopefully, we’re doing that in a good way. We’ll see.
Maddie Medved 17:04
It’s really evolved into like Sam said, like kind of a two prong approach for us. At first, it was like the podcast and, you know, trying to market politics to young people. And now, like being in this space, we realized that, you know, social media and young people kind of need to be marketed to politicians as well and like, so that they can realize how to reach them. So it’s really kind of evolved. Now we’re like, you know, trying to bridge that gap from both like young people getting civically engaged, but also politics finally, like actually taking the steps to reach young people. Because right now, it’s, I think, the perfect time to like, young people really are wanting to be engaged, there’s so much at stake, there’s so much going on. Just trying to bridge that gap. And it’s been an interesting evolution in that sense.
Sammy Kanter 17:51
And I want to say like one other thing, too, and that is that, really, I think, forever politics, talking about politics has been looked at is so taboo, like it’s the thing, you don’t want to bring up on a date, right? politics, religion, money, it’s the same thing in friend groups, you don’t want to rock the boat. And it’s the easiest way to of course, rock the boat. But now, I think what we’re trying to do is change that. But I think the overall sentiment around that is changing too. We’re just happened to be a part of that. But social media has been key in knocking down those barriers, because it’s hard to ignore, you can turn off CNN, you can, but like, realistically, are you going to, you know, give up Instagram and TikTok? I don’t. I’ve looked some people do it. So it’s not going to be me. Not going to be me.
V Spehar 18:30
Speaking of though young people and not wanting to talk about politics as it relates to dates are friends groups. What is dating like for young people right now in such a hot political climate? It must be very difficult. Yeah.
Maddie Medved 18:44
As far as the dating world, it really is interesting. And that’s kind of a part of our show, kind of part of our content, like we try to implement, you know, some of the more kind of social parts of our life to because having these conversations like talking about your date from the other night, and then like transitioning into politics. And that’s something that actually has resonated with a lot of our audience of being like, I love how it’s just like girl talk. And then we’re all walls and we’re talking about like reproductive freedom, and we’re getting to the nitty gritty and like policy and all this stuff. So it’s like trying to like show that you can do both.
V Spehar 19:15
Because it matters now, right? Go on a date. Let’s say you go on a date with a guy and it turns out that he is not for bodily autonomy. He celebrated the fall of Roe v. Wade, are you going to feel safe, continuing an intimate relationship with this person who wouldn’t support your right to contraception perhaps, or to Plan B or to abortion if necessary? What are those conversations like between young people right now?
Maddie Medved 19:37
It’s like a big it’s for me personally, too. It’s huge. I’m on dating apps. And the first thing I look at is his height and his political affiliation. Yes. But I’m seriously I’m like I’m axing conservatives, because I just personally it’s politics has become so personal and dating couldn’t be more personal. So it’s like, I want someone who aligns with me on some of these values that are so important to me, especially right now. And yeah, it’s interesting, Sam and I talk about all the time like we kind of have a different experience probably than most people because the first question that’s asked on a day is like, what do you do? And so we both like work in politics. So the politics conversation kind of always immediately comes up with just kind of a good vetting system, even though sometimes you walk away from day like, god dammit, not another one of those like, but yeah, I’ve had some interesting dating experiences. I’ve had men like, actually hide the fact that they’re conservative for me for most of the time we’re dating. And this is like talking staged isn’t anything serious, but like few weeks of talking, maybe a few dates. And then I, you know, we stopped talking and then all of a sudden, he’s posting about how you shouldn’t wear masks and, you know, anti-COVID protection, like posts. I’ve lived through that those type of experiences, which is interesting. But it’s a tricky road out there. Especially adding all the political drama on top of dating. It’s a lot.
V Spehar 20:59
Because it’s not something you could ignore the way that maybe we used to be able to kind of be like, Okay, well, this is it, this one or this one. I mean, honestly, during the 2012 election, which is last time I did it, because I’m lucky to be married and out of this with like, you know, it was like, okay, Obama or Romney, right? Like, you could have some differences. It wasn’t that bad. It was gonna be you’re gonna you felt like you were going to be okay, kind of whichever way it went, if your guy didn’t win, but nowadays, yeah, it’s so different. It’s like, will you accept my LGBTQ friends? Are you voting against their ability to exist in this world? Will you support me if we become pregnant and can’t move forward with that pregnancy? Do you support immigration? Do you support COVID in public health, private protocols? It’s so different than Are you fiscally conservative liberally social or whatever? Where are you? You know, so divided, politics has become a religion. And so just like some folks will only date within their religion for the obvious factors of like, that’s what your family believes. That’s what your culture is. That’s how you’re going to be showing that that’s how you spend your time. It feels like politics has really taken that kind of turn for folks into a religious state. And I don’t know if you’re seeing that at your generation, too.
Sammy Kanter 22:04
Yeah, definitely. Well, because I think now the conversation is about human rights, and people’s ability to have bodily autonomy and exist and, you know, have access to all of their rights. It’s no longer oh, like, so and so like, decided they want to give more money to fix potholes. And that person would rather buy like, I don’t know, street barriers, like, it’s not that conversation anymore. It’s just, it never was that simple. But the way that it was marketed and felt, I think was very different. And I think people’s understandings and the most like the things that were happening just felt a little bit more subdued. But I think at this point, it’s just really hard to ignore. And I think there’s also a difference between being friends with people and continuing a productive conversation. When you don’t agree or aren’t on the same side of the aisle. I think dating becomes very different. You know, I think because I definitely I have friends that are more conservative that are, you know, on both sides of the aisle, for sure. But I know and I’ve actually dated a Trump supporter, which is a whole story, total accident. Sidenote.
V Spehar 23:06
Did you just like find the red hat in his room one day?
Maddie Medved 23:11
That’s my, that’s one of my stories as well. Like we both dated closeted Trump supporters.
Definitely come from a town that’s like the classic like fiscally conservative, socially liberal scenario. But regardless of that, like I was like, okay, like, I definitely dated my fair share of that crew, like, absolutely. And this particular character, I thought, fell into that bucket. And then we were having like a conversation with a late night conversation. It was like, well, yeah, it was a Trump supporter. And I thought he was choking. And he was not choking. And I was like, I don’t even know I’m so many dates in the situation. I don’t even know what to do. Like, I was literally besides myself, it was like, we fundamentally disagree on so many levels. And then he goes to me on New Year’s, which was a blessing. So I think that God was like, out there being like, ma’am, we gotta kick this one to the curb. And I was, you know.
Sammy Kanter 23:20
It’s gotta be hard, right, though, because this is the thing. You find these folks. And like, you could find somebody who came from a deeply religious background, let’s say, and maybe you weren’t, and you guys come together, and you love each other as people, and you sort of compromise and you could work it together. But it doesn’t like you guys are saying it doesn’t work that way. Now, it’s like, it’s such a hard extremism, that there’s not that ability to sort of say, Okay, I’ll let a little go you little go. We’re going to create new values. People aren’t willing to
V Spehar 24:35
Yeah, I mean, it even goes back to the conversation around like our content and the bipartisan conversation. It’s like, there’s really this is too important. There’s too much at stake. And like Sam said, like, It’s human. There’s a lot of this, these issues now that we’re dealing with are human rights issues, and you just can’t compromise on that. So it’s an interesting tricky spot we’re in right now in history.
V Spehar 24:56
Yeah, we’re gonna take a quick break to just think about all the people we have stated in the past and where they are on the political spectrum now. And you know, we’ll take a little break, we’ll come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about your segment, keeping up with the candidates, and how you interview and like you said, hold these political folks accountable. We’ll have that right after the break. And we are back. Thank you all for sticking with us. This is a very exciting conversation. I mean, we’ve gotten into so much already, we’re not even to really the podcast yet. So I want to get to that right now. You have a segment called keeping up with the candidates. Tell me about that.
Sammy Kanter 25:47
Yeah. So really, I mean, this came out of the idea of needing to actually get to know the candidates, a little bit personality wise, but also in a way where you got the quick, fast facts about what they were running for, where they’re running all those details that you need to know. And I think there is such a missing element in the media market for candidates, especially at the local level. And I’m not saying that we haven’t had national folks on, you know, keeping up with the candidates, obviously, it’s a great segment for them as well. But we really wanted to be able to provide an opportunity for press coverage, and for a moment for them to have a shareable resource to put on, you know, social media share in a newsletter, whatever it is of them really getting to get interviewed and speak on behalf of their campaign. And so often, these races could be won or could be have, you know, change made if people actually knew about their campaigns, and they had wave marketing and social media gives a great opportunity for doing that. But people have to, of course, still, you know, there’s so marketing involved with getting people to those social media pages, and that costs money. So we want to be able to provide, you know, that opportunity for candidates to really get a foot in the door to get in front of voters, especially young voters. And doing the segment is a great addendum to the podcast, because the podcast only comes out once a week in terms of our interview episodes. But there are so many amazing people and candidates to speak with, we have to have more and more of it. So it really it gives us a little bit of a great way to extend those conversations to dip even further into local politics and bring attention to these amazing candidates, and provide background on these races that people just they should know about, and no shame in their game again. But you know, don’t.
V Spehar 27:31
Have you seen any pushback on this being taken seriously, or are you guys like I am getting called an influencer more often?
Maddie Medved 27:43
Yeah, we definitely are called political influencers on the reg. And yeah, I mean, honestly, we kind of have gotten pushed back, I would say it is harder to kind of snag some of those bigger, higher profile names and politics to come on the show, which is always so interesting to us, because we’re like, we have a very engaged audience of young people that could really help you. And we’d be at your campaign or just, you know, even, you know, growing your social media or having, you know, people really support you as a as a candidate or as an elected. And we’ve definitely noticed, like, we’re definitely not on the top priority of press opportunities. Like they’re taking the CNN, you know, primetime slot over, over anything else.
V Spehar 28:29
Because people who watch CNN or Fox are already voters, they’re already voting, they’re voting to have their values reaffirmed, or they’re watching to have their values reaffirmed, they’re not potentially a new voter, they’re not potentially a new community. So wanted to know, what are your strategies when you’re going after somebody that you say I want to give platform to, like I saw you interviewed my friend, Ken Russell, my guy, district 27 was stolen from him and I will die. But I love Ken Russell, so much, and I saw that you guys had him on. He’s a politician who did such a great job. Using social media of reaching out to young folks tell us a little bit just about what finding him and engaging him was like, as a good example of somebody who’s doing it right.
Maddie Medved 29:11
You know, we’ve been following him for a while. And we wanted to get him on the show. And to talk specifically about why it’s so important to use social media, how it’s worked for him, and because he’s such a great model for how candidates should be using this tool. And the conversation was so interesting, because he you know, was dropped by the D Triple C. And it’s just crazy to me that that would be the strategy by the […] we’ll see when you have an amazing candidate, a young candidate who has this amazing following. He’s literally being recognized on the streets and in restaurants like why would you not capitalize on that this guy’s already got name recognition. I already got like this kind of has mobilized people around him.
V Spehar 29:55
I was just at the White House humblebrag and Joe Biden sat down. And one of the first stories he was telling this group of Gen Z’ers was about how when he was 29 years old, the former governor of Delaware had basically held his hand to the Senate. And he did everything he could to pass that baton of power. And he was calling him jelly. And he was so young. And the first time he met him, he like, had a towel wrapped around his waist, and he was shaving, and they were like, Joey, you gotta get dressed, you gotta go, you’re gonna be the next senator for Delaware. And he was 29 years old. And he couldn’t have said 29 more times to a group of 29 year olds, who then looked at him and were like, are you passing the baton? Because I’m reaching for it. I’m reaching for it. And what you’re asking us to do a lot of time young people is believing and support this established Democrats who are putting their finger on the scale in ways that we’ve, the young people aren’t liking they’re not liking, they’re not happy about it. So I wanted to know, kind of your thoughts on that whole situation and how we get them to pass this baton.
Sammy Kanter 30:53
I think this is going to continue to evolve. I think this is the first election cycle where Tic Toc, for example, is really front and center in it. But I think it’s going to come from the can it’s gonna come from the young people saying, Okay, you guys go do your thing. But like we’re not participating then. And I think that’s going to continue to happen more and more. And I think with the availability of social media, in essentially free media, again, you still have to put money behind it. But free media, essentially, we’re going to start seeing that change more and more, because I’m not, you know, nothing wrong with phone banking, go to it, if that’s your vibe, we totally support it. But look, I’m 29 years old, if I don’t know the number that’s calling you, I’m not picking up my phone. You’re right, you know, establish campaigns can keep doing the same tactics, but they’re going to stop working at a certain point. And they’re going to have to evolve and they’re going to have to change otherwise. It’s their loss and obviously becomes all of our losses. But there’s got to be a change point.
Maddie Medved 31:48
It’s interesting how even the texting has evolved, like for me, like, well, we like we pay attention, Sam, specifically, because she’ll make like TikTok about campaign tax and how terrible they are.
Sammy Kanter 32:00
I have also been blocked the D Triple C at this point. I think they I literally think they took me off the list. Because I started roasting their tags, we have a campaign or a series on TikTok called tax mess to tech success. And basically we take the taxman like this is it might be a disaster, like the best backdrop, yeah, we’ll do better. And then we revise it and like this would be the approach to take this would be actually effective for your voter. So it’s like a fun little marketing moment.
V Spehar 32:26
You were a PR professional, that’s free advice right there.
Maddie Medved 32:29
Literally, but it’s also interesting. I mean, for me to everyone’s different. Everyone consumes information differently. Personally, I don’t like even look at those texts anymore. either. I’m like, we need to enter new mediums enter new platforms to reach people. And I think it’s still important, like we said to phonebank, because there is a demographic of people who do answer the phone, and you know, who do kind of appreciate being reached that way. But it’s just about continuing to expand the way you try to reach people and those tactics and, you know, social media is right there for you. And I just feel like, you know, politics are not capitalizing on it the way they should.
V Spehar 33:18
But there is this idea, also with candidates to that will say, just make it go viral. You can’t do that.
Sammy Kanter 33:23
Oh my god, no. Like, if we think about our content, the content that we’re like, this is cold, this is going to literally light the airwaves or the TikTok waves, whatever, we want to call it on fire. It’d be like five views, and then nothing really, okay, whatever, throw it to the wind, that’s the thing that does enormously well. So it’s, you just can’t it’s honestly, I mean, there’s the same thing happening in the music industry, right, where all these record companies want these artists to go viral with a song before they actually release it. And it’s becoming this whole larger conversation about, you know, holding artists hostage to the sort of virality you know, issue and whatnot. And these artists are getting super frustrated, like, I can’t make this go viral, it either will or won’t. And sometimes, you know, it’s subject to a gazillion different things. And, you know, it takes work, it takes effort, and there’s no guarantees in it. So you can’t just be like, oh, I’m gonna pop on TikTok today and everything’s just gonna go viral.
Maddie Medved 34:19
I think what’s interesting too, about tick tock specifically, because the content that works on tick tock is really kind of often like kind of off the cuff like genuine content. And politics isn’t known for being very genuine most of the time, and it’s scripted. And you know, you have people in your ear telling you how to act, how to behave, what to wear, what to look like, and I think that’s a shift that I think a lot of candidates maybe aren’t ready for, or establishment politicians aren’t ready for. I don’t know how to even do is like kind of to put their human self out there to genuine way and that’s what really works on TikTok I feel like and so I think that’s definitely also a barrier for kind of the typical politics that we know to enter the space because it’s not the polished, you know, CNN moment that they’re used to. So that’s an interesting kind of dynamic. I always like think about as well.
V Spehar 35:17
What do you think is going to inspire young people to show up to vote most the cycle? We’ve got the midterms in a month.
Sammy Kanter 35:25
Reproductive rights, and climate justice, I think those are the two top things with and also what’s the then the list goes on? Because now I’m gonna also say gun reform, because that’s huge. Do kids want to go to school without dying? I mean, it’s these things, I would say they’re the little things, but they’re not the little things. But there’s so many issues that are just top of mind, it’s hard to boil it down to just one. But I think the one where there’s the most headlines that we are, you know, continuing to see that will be in people’s faces, its reproductive rights, for sure, hands down, in my opinion.
V Spehar 35:57
And you think that that’s accurate, because I’m seeing that from the Democratic establishment and from small creators, everything is like talking about the Roe decision talking about Dobbs, talking about reproductive rights. And I was wondering, as a gay person, I care very much about bodily autonomy of the people that this is going to more directly affect, but it’s doesn’t directly affect me. So I’m very much wondering like, this is the right message, though this isn’t over focusing on a single issue. This is the issue that’s gonna get people out to the polls.
Maddie Medved 36:23
I think it’s the right messaging for sure. And I’m, we always talk about how Democrats really bad at marketing and communications, but I will say over the past, like this through this summer, and where we’re at now, I think they are taking the right approach of like, as you know, we talked about a lot on our show where like, you know, even Arizona and how, you know, their abortion ban just went into place last week, like, it’s awful. But like, now, there was an op-ed that was like, Democrats don’t lie. Like you’re a little excited about this, to use this. Like it’s true. It’s like how we have to, you know, capitalize on this terrible moment. And it’s kind of even similar to what happened in 2020. Like, that’s what like the heat of 2020 was what turned people out to vote. And it’s these really these issues that people care about a lot that I think needs to be capitalized on, through marketing and messaging, that ultimately will pull people out to the polls and in midterm specifically, because this that’s a whole, that’s another interesting part of it. It’s like, the presidential election is easier to get people out, especially with what we dealt with in 2020. But these midterms, it’s gonna be interesting to see with also very existential issues on the ballot in a midterm, like, will that work out? We’ll see, but I think the Democrats are correct in really capitalizing on these, like human rights that are being threatened and attacked. And I think that’s the messaging.
V Spehar 37:42
I guess, that was proven with the Kansas election recently, that was very focused on Roe v Wade.
Sammy Kanter 37:48
A 1,000%, and I think it provides a really good opportunity for unification because this is an issue that it’s not just, you know, one position that really has you know, skin in the game, you can speak about this as a candidate from a governor, race, you can speak at this at the state level, you can speak at this, you know, from an attorney general’s perspective, there are so many races on the ballot, that have such a hand in what this will look like at each state level and nationally. And so I think that ability for all these different candidates to talk about it and also, you know, from the same lens creates a really great marketing opportunity, which like Maddie said, they’re actually taking advantage of which is shot. I don’t want to see chef’s kiss like it feels dramatic. But you know, it’s on the right.
V Spehar 38:36
What is giving y’all hope, politics can be so hopeful, what are you really happy about right now? What’s going great?
Maddie Medved 38:43
I honestly am just excited and hopeful just about young people I have been obviously, that’s what we are doing this work for is that there is so much power there. And I think we saw a really inspiring amount of young people turnout in 2020. And I’m just hoping that continues. And because over the years, we’ve also just seen young people be more engaged than they ever have. We’ve also seen politics really come in to the mainstream more than we’ve ever seen. We’ve seen influencers and celebrities use their platform for voter registration and things like that. So I’m hopeful that all of that will ultimately add up and hopefully get us a good turnout in November.
V Spehar 39:18
I am so I feel inspired. I’m feeling good. The kids are okay.
Maddie Medved 39:23
The kids are trying to be okay, and we’re gonna do our best to be okay.
V Spehar 39:27
And I appreciate you both being here with me. I feel very included in the youth of America’s enthusiasm for voting right now, which is great. We’re going to get more folks on that eighth grade field trip, if it’s the last thing we do because that really does make such a difference in the way that young people feel included in the civic process and they should be even before you’re allowed to vote. So Sammy and Maddie, thank you for being with me. We will find you at the Girl and the Gov podcast and what is your social handles again
Maddie Medved 39:54
@girlandthegov on Instagram and we are at TikTok is also at @girlandthegov we also have a second, so go check us out and thank you so much for having us by the way.
Sammy Kanter 40:05
I do want to make one note is the girl and the gov have like Instagram as the action items Instagram so if you want action items go there if you want guest information and details behind the scenes growing up the podcast is that Instagram account but yeah, like Maddy said, thank you so much for having us.
V Spehar 40:20
Yeah, that’s very considerate to not bombard people with activist calls to action, if that’s not the way that they want to show up to this, but they still want to feel included. So I appreciate that. We will link to all of this in the show notes. Y’all have a great week and I will see you at the polls in November. Oh my god, you gals are the best. Thank you so much for being here for stopping by the studio to chat with us about everything from hitting the ballot box to swiping left on conservatives. Brutal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you again for being here. And folks at home, be sure to tune into this Tuesday’s episode when we are going to dig into the headlines you care most about and we’ll get to meet a new friend who will teach us some more cool stuff. We are also looking for folks who have had gender affirming surgery, like a top surgery or something like that, to share their story. So if you have gone through that process and you want to share your story, please leave me a voicemail and tell me what it meant to you to be able to access that procedure 612-293-8550, subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcast follow me at under the desk news and vote for God’s sake vote.
V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.