Have the youth given up on Obama?
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December 30th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Have the youth given up on Obama?

Editor's Note: Brad Chase is a partner with Capitol Media Partners, a Los Angeles-based communications and public affairs consultancy.

By Brad Chase - Special to CNN

In 2008, the youth vote helped sweep Barack Obama into office.  Americans 18-29 spread the word on social media, energized fundraising and went to the polls.

In 2012, the youth vote is moving on and throwing those omnipresent “Hope” bumper stickers and t-shirts in garbage bins.

Not because of apathy.  Not because another candidate generates more enthusiasm.  Not because of his character.  Not because they think voting is pointless.  The 18-29 vote is up for grabs in 2012 because youth can’t afford cars to put bumper stickers on and those t-shirts are worn out from too many days sitting on the couch unemployed.

The sobering reality:  just 55.3 percent of Americans between 16 and 29 have jobs.  And earlier this year, Americans’ student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.

Rather than develop a lasting initiative to help young unemployed Americans, the President launched “Greater Together” – a campaign tool that offers community forums rather than jobs.  Rather than provide a bailout to those crushed by the burden of educational loans, his student debt relief program was pathetic – only reducing interest rates by a measly 0.5 percent.

No wonder less than half of Americans 18-29 approve of Obama.

It’s no surprise the President is ignoring millenials.  They’re too poor to donate to his campaign this election cycle.  Older Americans are 47 times richer than the young – a striking generational gap in prosperity that has widened from a 10 to 1 ratio when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection in 1984.  At the same time, Obama is ringing up donations from older voters.  In the first 10 months of 2011, he attended 58 fundraisers – twice the number President George W. Bush attended during the comparable period before his reelection.  That’s overkill when the GOP candidate is still TBD.

Millenials haven’t embraced any of the GOP candidates yet, but there’s a huge opportunity for the eventual nominee to swoop in and win over the youth vote.  They have a short memory, filled mostly with three difficult years under President Obama’s economic stewardship.  The Center for the Study of the American Electorate reports that the youth vote won’t come out strongly this time around, but there’s little doubt the voting bloc is up for grabs to the first candidate who offers up viable policies – not themes and slogans – to address their issues.

To win the youth vote in November, a Presidential candidate could start by:

Creating a limited student debt forgiveness program:  It would be impractical and foolhardy to create complete debt amnesty.  Instead, erase all federal student debt for those with more than $30,000 in federal student loan debt and cut the bill by 10 percent for those with debts under that threshold.  That still leaves students accountable – no free rides – but it eases the crushing burden on millions of millenials.  H.Res. 365 by Rep. Hansen Clark (D-MI) was a well-intentioned (albeit pie-in-the-sky) call for debt relief and it’s a good starting point for future efforts.

Controls on Predatory Lenders/ServicersMost students need their parents to co-sign loans and then take care of the bills themselves.  But private loan servicers like American Education Services (AES) have no oversight and resort to bully tactics to threaten students’ parents with credit rating ruin as little as five days after a bill comes overdue for the first time.  Not even credit card companies are that ruthless.  There’s nothing more humiliating and stressful to students or parents than getting harassed for short-term delinquencies.  There’s no need for a Credit Protection Financial Bureau, just more oversight on predators like AES.

Allowing Student Loan Discharge in Bankruptcy:  In 2005, bankruptcy law changed to specifically exclude private student loans from being discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.  Young adults don’t want the headache or stigma of going bankrupt, but sheltering private lenders at the expense of recent graduates is wrong.  H.R. 2028 will restore pre-2005 terms – support for the bill would be huge in generating millennial votes.

The ancillary benefit of student debt relief is a stimulus to the economy.  Older Americans might say that giving money back to the young is an invitation to run up debt again, but millenials have watched their parents get underwater with mortgages and credit cards – it’s the pot calling the kettle black to deny young adults their own bailout.  The stimulus will come in the form of solid and responsible purchases:  a first couch, a first bed, a first set of dinner plates.  This isn’t reckless spending, it’s the type of economic stimulus that Obama’s much-touted stimulus should have been.

Without the youth vote in 2008, the President would have lost North Carolina and Indiana – a 26 delegate swing equal to nearly 10 percent of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.  The 2012 election promises to be closer and the swing of the youth vote could be enough to tip the balance.  It’s time the President did some soul searching on his feelings toward the youth vote.  And he better do it soon, because the GOP candidate is waiting in the wings and won’t hesitate to take the youth vote.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Brad Chase.

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Topics: 2012 Election • President Obama • Youth

soundoff (996 Responses)
  1. Mike

    The article make the reference like I gave a HOOT about Obama to begin with. When the expectations were already well beneath from the start, failure of those expectations does not nothing but confirm what was aleady known about the in-expereince levels .... Damn I hate it when i'm right like most of the others who knew not voting for this idiot was the right thing to do from the start ....

    December 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  2. Dan

    Check out the author..works for a PR firm..this looks to be a bought and paid for PLANTED ARTICLE by someone with an agenda a and cash to spend

    December 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  3. Anthony

    You have to consider what the alternative is. Romney just compared Gingrich's campaign to the "Lucy" sitcom. Romney needs to update his cultural references.

    December 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  4. Jonn

    I have given up on him ever since he dropped the ball when the people took to the streets. That was his opportunity to ignite the nation in a movement to make real change like a real great president would have. Instead he sat there quiet. To me that tells me he was afraid to stand up and address the issues because he is a hypocrite who takes lobbyist kick backs and help towards his individual cause – to climb the political ladder. He had to keep his trap shut or be called out and smeared himself.

    I feel like the liberal media is behind Obama as well and selectively covers news based on what is good for him. The vibe in the USA is that the system is rigged! Whether it's true or not that is how it feels. And I am a successful business owner with 12 employees and we are all East Coast liberals who ride bikes more than drive cars. We love this land and want to make it better.

    Happy new year all, we will get through these times. Pull up your boots and get out there and help the people who have the balls to take to the streets. It's not about one man anymore, it's about us and getting our collective voices heard.

    December 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  5. I Have A Wee-Weed Up POTUS

    "Have the youth given up on Obama?"

    ...and the elderly, and the middle-aged, and the unborn.

    You name it...

    December 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  6. gunnyginalaska

    I have NO sympathy for ANYONE who voted FOR the Kenyan Occupier and is now jobless, homeless, etc. YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU VOTED FOR. My sympathy lies with the other Americans who PAY TAXES only to see it taken by the DEMS and given to the lazy, stupid, and illegal aliens to buy votes.

    If you're dumb enough to vote for an unqualified nattering nabob WHO LIED NON-STOP to get elected, who never stopped campaigning, and who is on his 20th vacation, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

    The Anti Liberal Zone dot com

    December 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  7. ian

    nobody cares.

    slow news day, msnbc?

    December 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  8. Justincaliforniasomewhere.

    Wait till next year. Once the GOP gives Mittins thier stamp of approval, those unhappy young people, lukewarm liberals & independants are going to come rushing back into Obama's arms. People must have been really really niave if they thought our problems that took yrs & yrs to create where just going to vanish once Obama took office. Obama said in 08 that things where not going to be easy. This is the first black president who made hope & change his slogan, the world litterally cried when he took office. Did anyone honeslty think the GOP was going to sit back & go easy on him? Nope. They see Obama as public enemey number 1. They are throwing thier absolute worst at Obama. You cant keep every promise when you have a congress that will sign a pledge to make you fail. The tea party? was created to destroy Obama period. Obama still has my vote.

    December 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • ddaamm

      Only people on the coasts think like you. The rest of us know better. You must have been "really really naive" to think that a community organizer with no experince could fix anything. You must have been "really really naive" to buy into the "hope and change" mantra. How come we've come out of previous recessions better than we are coming out of this one. It must be because the problem obama underestimated was bigger than he thought and has nothing to do withhis policies right? Your boy said that if he didn't get things turned around in three years he is going to be a one term pres. Steve Jobs also called it.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • grimmcreeper

      I guess that means the lowering of the ocean's tides will have to wait until 2012.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  9. yeppers

    No wonder folks are giving up on Oboma, He is for getting all the votes he can from a race and not the American people.

    December 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  10. Patriotic1


    December 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  11. neo_joel

    The problem with people is that we want more with less.. more money with less hr of work. We are a lazzy generation. There are plenty of opportunities to be successful. Just look for it. Work hard, save money, don't spend it on stupid irrational things

    December 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • JPS


      December 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  12. mike

    I not giving up on Obama: he will continue to deliver America to the Gays, to the Hispanics, to the leftists.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  13. c

    Obama has done nothing but continue, and in some cases, worsen the corrupt policies of Bush. Bush=Obama=Romney–they are all the same corrupt, liars. Obama is a complete failure and changed nothing, and only escalated our problems. RON PAUL has the vote of the youth, and this time, Ron Paul is a candidate we can trust, a candidate who on record has never wavered, never flip-flopped, is principled, dignified, can not be bought out by big corporations and wall street, and who will END THE WARS and BRING THE TROOPS HOME. RON PAUL HAS THE BACKING OF THE YOUTH, and voting for Ron Paul is the greatest protest you can make towards the corruption in Washington.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  14. Keep the Change

    Hoax and Chains – brought to us by Obama and KY Jelly.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  15. retief1954

    So, "youth" will abandon Obama, and vote instead for.... Romney? Santorum? Gingrich? Sorry guys, I'm just not seein' that happen. They may be young, but they're not stupid.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • ddaamm

      We're hoping they stay home which will hurt obankrupt's chances

      December 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  16. coderjones

    i've given up on this system
    its greedy, corrupt and inhumane
    politicians are professional liars
    the fact that religion is thrown into the decision making process, makes everybody unsafe
    as long as humans believe they know the will of any god, humans are in danger

    December 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  17. Wolf Daddy

    Obama needs to go! He is a HUGE liar! all the people who voted for him were stupid fools! How did he get away with the fast & furious? Obama should be in jail for that crap along with Holder! Everyone who voted for Obama please redeem yourself by registaring as a Republican and voting for Ron Paul !

    December 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  18. Scott

    Although I may have given up on Obama, it is not for the typical reasons one might assume. My faith has been shattered by the fact that Obama and most democrat leaders, unlike the GOP – have the stomach to follow through with their agenda even when elected by the majority of Americans. Far too many opportunities have been missed to correct the direction this country has taken under the ideology and actions of the GOP.

    Will I vote for Obama again? You bet! If it means keeping the conservative party out of the White House therefore preventing them from picking up where they left off in terms of destroying the economic fiber of the middle class then my vote goes to Obama.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Wolf Daddy

      scott people like you need to kill youselves you are too stupid and are ruining this country

      December 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • ready

        What would be better than Obama? Romney? That is laughable. Gingrich? Even more hilarious.

        Romney is a white obama. Except he might actually BE liberal instead of a neocon which Obama is. Gingrich? Hes immoral

        December 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • ddaamm

      I guess you need a strong stomach when you flip flop as much as a democrat does. The only faction within the government that sticks to what they say is the tea party. They are against wastefull spending and cutting the deficit. They are the only ones who are doing what they campaigned on. Obama and the dems only pander.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • lapog

      Very well articulated. My thoughts exactly. Obama for 2012.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • Wolf Daddy

        you too, kill yourself or leave our country, anyone who doesn't support the 2nd amendment is anti american,if you think the 2nd amendment is out dated then you might as well rip up the whole thing up and start a new country

        December 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Smart

      Stop it SCOTT!! Stop cutting & pasting your comment! Obama had his chance and paased Obamacare which will help ruin our economy more then has already be done! He should have done what was NEEDED! Jobs!!!

      December 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
    • CHE

      @Scott, you bring HOPE to us all.
      For The Record: I wasn't going to answer a text message I received from Pres. Obama for dinner date few seconds ago. Reading your post I've decided to give the man a chance as compared to these primitive, backward Repuke crazies with low IQ's. You bet your ASS I am in.
      Obama 2012 WIN hands down!

      December 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
      • Wolf Daddy

        your scott ! and Obama is a huge failure! Ron Paul is our only hope! Obama supporters are seriously retarded, and need to leave our country, if you dont support the 2nd amendment then you might as well not support the 1st or anyone of them!

        December 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • CHE

        FYI: A sentence begins with a Capital letter and ends with a FULL STOP. Just like a typical crazy Repuke with low IQ and brain deficiencies, you have no clue where to place your comers or periods.
        Did you even set foot in 1st-Grade or you miss that yellow school bus in your trailer park. Seek some education for the sake of all Americans. RACIST Ron Paul my ASS!

        December 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Maria D.

      Scott – you're a brainwashed socialist but you're too narrow-minded to realize that.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  19. casper

    youth are turned off by tea party violence and GOP "No No No creativity" circus. Obama 2012 is obvious

    December 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • mat

      what violence? you mean like in the OWS tents?

      December 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  20. Keep the Change

    Obama for ex president in 2012! Yes We Can't!!

    December 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • Maude

      WRONG, I won't let it happen. OBAMA will win the next election, I assure you.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
      • Keep the Change

        Yes You Can't!! Buh Bye Barry!

        December 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  21. ready

    Yes I have given up on Obama, I want Ron Paul to have a turn to ruin this country now.

    Obama literally is George Bush entirely outside of his ability to form coherant sentences. Everything else, his entire policy, is 2006 republican.

    Its funny that people think romney will be different. Hes more liberal than obama has been.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  22. mat

    Translation: buy them off with taxpayers money.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  23. rch46

    Obama is a dolt.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
    • CHE

      I thought at 46 yrs. old you should have some brains. Instead you have Texas shoe wax brains. Dumb for inactivity. Have your brain shock to melt your shoe wax brains. Ditto-head!

      December 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  24. craigmk1974

    Young people tend to be inexperienced, ignorant, non-working and gullible. Is it no surprise this group of people got Obama elected president? The best experience anyone can get is after college when you are out in the workforce working a full time job and living on your own, paying your own bills.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  25. CHE

    Yeb; since Pres. Obama behaves like timidity WIMP chicken with broken wings who caves in to GOP at every turn. He could hardly come out swinging or stick a punch and bloody the stinky noses of those GOP imbecilic idiots hindering progress of the country. The youth of America wants someone who can stand his grounds against GOP idiotic bullies. His cave-ins were real turnoffs for anyone who voted for him inclu. his so-called youth voting base, resulting in low turnout in Nov 2010 mid-term elections. I have to drag my son by the ASS to bring him to polling station. I must say he voted under duress. Extending Bush tax cuts for the rich made things even worse. Pres. Obama have still not explained to us for his stupid actions when he has over 87% of Americans against any extension of Bush tax-cuts for the rich. How dare he goes against this grain is beyond us to this day.

    Extending Bush tax cuts for the rich is non-negotiable ………….. period!

    December 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  26. sunfly

    Their simply is not a candidate anyone under 30 can relate to, but probably Obama comes closest, and when it counts will likely get the votes. It is not all because those under 30 are in a bad position either, are politicians are simply out of touch.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  27. Ken Pittman WBSM

    Blame the policy to accommodate illegal immigrants who are taking all the youth and lower skill jobs from our own deserving citizens and quite often the liberal policy toward IAs is forcing many youth to turn to crime for money. America should be able to dictate who comes in, who is and isn't needed etc.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • mat

      Most american youth dont know which end of the hammer to swing. They think honest work is beneath them and that they should all start out 100K a year sitting behind the desk goofing off on a computer.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  28. mat

    College is not a right. If you have run up debt you cannot afford it is your own fault. Thats why we had the meltdown. Like it or not when you take loans these people cover you with their money and expect to be repaid. When you dont pay your debts you have stolen.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  29. chinkster

    Obama- you sucki sucki – lol

    December 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
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