Remember Julio Osegueda? He was a student at Edison State College in Fort Meyers, Fla. After having a conversation with Barack Obama, Julio had the mother of all O-basms.
Following the election, Obama was out stumping for his “stimulus” package (a.k.a. colossal failure). BHO was having one of his customary staged town hall meetings, complete with cream puff questions, when Julio stepped to the microphone. That’s when he went full zombie on us.
“Oh, it’s such a blessing to see you, Mr. President. Thank you for taking time out of your day!” Julio shouted. “Oh, gracious God, thank you so much!”
Julio then raised his hands to the heavens (from whence Dear Leader descended) while praising the Good Lord for the opportunity, the privilege, to ask Obama a question. Seeing BHO in the flesh is one thing. But asking him a question? Oh gracious God is right!
Obama was amused. His massive ego stroked, no doubt. Throughout the experience, Julio could barely contain his excitement. And that is why Julio is the poster boy … oops … er … poster child (wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect) for all that ailed the mental mummification of the youth vote back in 2008.
That was then. Today’s a different story. A growing number of young people are skeptical that Barack Obama still possesses the ability to make unicorns leap out from the Cartoon Network and into their college dorm rooms.
A survey by Harvard’s Institute of Politics shows that only 46 percent of voters under 30 approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, numbers that are slightly higher than the national average, but a troubling figure for a President who locked up that same age demographic by a whopping 2-to-1 margin in November four years ago. In fact, according to the same Harvard poll, 36 percent of younger voters believe that BHO won’t even win reelection.
The sizzle has fizzled, and it’s not hard to see why.
Only 55% of Americans between 16 and 29 have jobs, which is a mind-boggling statistic. Obama’s insatiable appetite for government spending is crushing the country fiscally, with credit agencies warning us of future downgrades, and student loans are out of control as the debt on those loans now surpasses credit card debt.
It’s no mystery why 52% of “millennials” say that the country is “off on the wrong track.”
“This survey may well serve as an ominous sign for Barack Obama’s 2012 chances, and the political engagement of America’s largest generation,” remarked John Della Volpe, who is the polling director at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. The Fall 2011 survey was released Dec. 15.
That statement is not a stretch. It was the commanding victories with the youth vote in Florida, Indiana and North Carolina that propelled Obama to win those three vitally important swing states. Obama pretty much destroyed Gramps McCain there. In North Carolina, for instance, BHO won an eye-popping 74 percent of young people.
That’s not to say that the eventual GOP has a lock on these voters. Far from it. Obama still leads a generic Republican opponent by 6 percentage points and the front-runner Mitt Romney by even more, 11 percent. As the campaign kicks into full gear, Team Obama has dispatched representatives to college campuses across America to “discuss and debate the issues with students,” notes the Boston Globe. “Greater Together” is the name of the initiative, and it seeks to ignite the same fervor and delusion that had large swaths of young Americans believe they were electing Will Smith for President, not the scrawny street agitator from Chicago we got instead.
But as Trey Grayson, director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, observes, “The opportunity exists for all political parties and campaigns to reengage this generation,” because “those who do can maximize results in 2012.”
Focus on ObamaCare
Obama’s already touting how under his health-care overhaul, young people can now forgo adulthood and stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. Republicans should counter that, under the same law, insurance companies can no longer vary price according to one’s age or health status. It’s called “Community Rating,” and it essentially means that young people, or their parents for now, must subsidize the costs of older Americans who get sick a lot more.
Take statism head-on
Younger voters are easily susceptible to the leftist promises of Big Government bringing society’s ills to a halt. After all, young people are weaned on “social justice” bromides throughout academia and, well, they’re young: Chances are they haven’t experienced the breaking burden of bureaucracy for themselves. That’s why Republican candidates should make appeals to “freedom” and “liberty,” directly contrasting their policies to the Left’s worldview of amassing legions of busybodies in Washington, D.C., who force us to subscribe to their health-care plans, income brackets, and insolvent retirement funds.
Bottom line: We’re the iPod generation. Appeal to our cravings for customization, personal autonomy, and ingenuity. (To his credit, Ron Paul has stressed this theme particularly to younger audiences.)
Take the message to campus
Obama routinely appeared on college campuses in the lead-up to the 2008 election. And frequents them often to this day. While younger voters don’t have money to donate, they do provide the energy and also serve as an army of volunteers who go door-to-door and man phone banks. Now that the rose has wilted on the Obama love affair, it’s an opportune time for the GOP candidates to bring home the message that liberalism is a torpedo aimed directly at the lives of the millions that make up the youth vote.
And there are millions of them, 35 million voters ages 18 to 29 to be exact. It’s a base that Republicans best not ignore, for they are not only the voters of today, they are also the voters of tomorrow.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter