Four years ago, Sean “Diddy” Combs took his hip-hop swagger across the nation in an effort to get young people to vote, with the bold slogan “Vote or Die.” Now, on the eve of Super Tuesday’s primary contests, the entertainer has just a simple message: Go vote. “If we want to stop the war, if we want to get the economy better, I think that young people need to understand they have to take matters into their own hands,” Combs, 38, told Some political analysts believe the youth vote could be a key factor in this year’s presidential election.
On Tuesday, more than 20 states will hold primaries that will help determine the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees for president. Sen. Hillary Clinton is locked in a close race with fellow Sen. Barack Obama on the Democratic side, while Sen. John McCain could further cement his front-runner status over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Republican race.
Combs launched the non-partisan group Citizen Change in 2004 for the purpose of increasing the youth vote, and used his celebrity status to raise voting awareness among the youth. Statistics suggest voter turnout among young people increased in 2004 and 2006, and Diddy believes it will grow even more this political season.
“The seeds that we planted in ’04 are now coming to fruition,” he told the AP. “A lot of young people have decided that this is their future. This president is going to decide their future.”
Back then, Combs refused to endorse a candidate and is keeping to that policy this time around, for now, at least.
“I didn’t really want to get in the political game but I wanted to see young people become empowered,” he said. “That’s where my attention is at.”
Still, he said he finds this year’s political contests to be “exciting.”
“To have an African-American man and a woman in, it’s going to go down in history as the most historical election,” he said. “And I think that young people will have a hand in the result.”