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. chinkster

    Obama- you very bad , you have to lose because your blackening up the white house !!! yes , thats right i said what 80% of you cowards wouldnt dare.. chinky knows,, lol

    December 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • Maude

      You must a 60 year fat dude with this kind of bafoon like comment. Can you take it somewhere else please.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • RaKa

      Ahhh, the proverbial liberal cop out. This is one of the many reasons he will fail. His followers are oh so quick to play the race card. This keeps you from having to attempt the daunting task of trying to sound intelligent.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  2. RaKa

    Of course I've given up on Obama. This is a no brainer. At this point only Extreme Liberal Activist are sticking by him. Democrats are bailing on him.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • CHE

      Speak for yourself buddy.
      You sound like one of those crazy Repuke's with midget brains.
      Does the saying; the devil you know is better than the angel you don't know; ring a bell?
      At least Pres. Obama’s brains are firing on all 6-cylinders whilst midget brain GOPers combined are firing minutely on one-cylinder.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  3. Jack

    No, but I have given up on the Republican 1% Party. Christ couldn't fix the mess Bush left.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  4. denise richards

    No way. He has shown integrity, determination and grace throughout. The president had not only been given a tougher-than- tough road to travel in getting anything done on the hill and let us not forget what he inherited! It would take more than four years for anyone to get the majic wand to pass over the awesome mess which fell in his lap.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  5. Jeffery Dawkins

    Liberals are so uninformed. We like in a capitalist society. In this type of society you don't punish businesses, you don't punish the rich, and you don't punish the middle class, which is what the liberals are doing. You promote business growth by not regulating and not overtaxing. This is why a good, true Libertarian candidate would be a help to our country. Big government doesn't work. Healthcare is a private organization, and it is a privilege. The incentives to get a job and work have been taken away from Americans by liberals who want the taxpayer money, and money we don't have, to be spent on people who don't feel like accomplishing anything. I have news for them: This is America, and this is how it works, If you don't do anything you'll never be anything. America needs to revert to our old values before this big liberal movement came into place. We need strong leaders again. I'm not going to say that Bush Jr. was a superb president, but Obama isn't working either. This is why I'm voting for Ron Paul.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  6. Livefree88

    So the government forced these kids to pick a college that they have no realistic possibility to ever pay back? I know through the new federal college funding program they are passing out student loans like candy. Sorta like the Fanny-may and freddie-mac did on home loans. Leaving us responsible wage earners to pick up the bill. I cant afford a Ivy-league education for my own kids but now you feel that i owe your kid an education you cannot afford. Makes me want to hurl!.....

    December 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  7. Miss Demeanor

    RE: "Bud pretty simple Tom... Profits equal jobs... jeeee
    Well, businesses are sitting have been sitting on large piles of cash (because they are making good profits) for over a year now but are hiring few workers. They will hire again when consumer demand rises. Consumer demand will rise when consumer confidence rises. Consumer confidence is low because jobs are tight. Do you see how it all works together? Oversimplistic-glenn-beck dogmatic slogans like 'profits equal jobs' persuade voters to elect buffons like Dubbya... and you see what he left us with....

    December 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • Maude

      LONG LIVE OBAMA !!! I will cry like those North Korean women in the middle of sunset Blvd. if Obama not elected.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  8. husker2

    So if student loan debt could have avenues for forgiveness; does that mean that the $37,000 that I paid back, several years ago, have some redemption?

    December 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  9. Johnny 5

    Youths and adults alike.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  10. Realist

    Been a Republican all my life. Voted for McCain and was very upset by the attacks on McCain from the right.
    Thought Obama had no executive experience, and his race and background would make governing difficult.
    Obama thought reason and compromise would work in governing. He alienated the left wing of his party by his willingness to compromise on SS and medicare. The Republicans boxed in by the tea party clearly made it their business to obstruct any progress. The middle class is being destroyed. The Bush tax cuts which greatly favored the wealthy (Job creators?) worsened the deficit and did not create jobs. The job creator myth is a laughable theory. Despite being richer than ever they aren't creating jobs. The truth is a healthy middle class creates the demand for goods and services that make the need for new business and jobs. Obama is on the side of the middle class. Claims that he is a socialist is silly. Every President we have had when the economy was healthy and the middle class was growing supported a steeply progressive income tax. That's not Socialism it's the only way to prevent Capitalism from sinking into Feudalism! History has shown unfettered Capitalism results in a few very wealthy and many poor. Folled by depression.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • cp125

      very well put...thank you!

      December 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • Richard Mayers

      Unfortunately what your saying will not be understood by the average American. We're in lot's of trouble. Another 3-5 years before it really hit's the fan.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  11. Sardo Numspa

    I have absolutely given up on Obama. He has proven to be nearly worthless.

    That said, he'd have to slaughter puppies with a 5 iron on live television while quoting from the Necronomicon before I would vote for anything coming out of the GOP camp. I'll take his brand of spineless incompetence long before I vote for ultra-religious individual rights-shattering freaks.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • Livefree88

      Take another look at Ron Paul. He doesn't fit the classic ideo-evangelical right wing mold you described

      December 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  12. Michael Field

    It's amazing the amount of Conservative idiots living in good ole America. Most of the posts here from those repubs who hate Obama actually got their news from FOX. Their ignorance of what actually took place over the last four years is so amazing I just really hope NOT to see ANY Republican candidate in the White House in years. Their followers are just simply stupid non-reading morons. No wonder the world just laughs at the ignorance of you Americans. Just for the record. THE WORLD LOVES OBAMA. NOT ANYTHING REPUBLICAN.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • sixer6josh6

      I hate liberals ahahhahah!!! They are so so stupid... AHhhh I'm so mad at them... Me – 1, You – 0

      December 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  13. Maude

    LONG LIVE OBAMA !!! I will cry like those North Korean women in the middle of sunset Blvd. if Obama not elected.

    Hooray for Obama, Hooray for Obama !!!!

    December 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  14. sixer6josh6

    Ineptocracy – a sustem of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid fo rby the cofiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers...

    December 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  15. cp125

    No... of course not! How is it his fault that our unemployment isn't moving downward? It is not the government's responsibility to create jobs that is the so called "job creators" responsibility. The government's responsibility is to make the climate favorable for job creation which Obama has done time & time again and has been rebuffed time and time again by our repub controlled house. Once all those bums are gone in the next election, it'll be smooth sailing for our country in general and our economy in particular.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Christopher

      That sounds good and I agree and all, but if you look two or three post down from yours, folks like jiggaboo will never allow smooth sailing in this country. Fools like that make me wanna have eyes in my elbows and a$$ cheeks and one in the chamber with the racist sh!t they spew...and here we are in the 21st century, what a disgrace to the human race some folks are...smdh!

      December 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  16. anon

    Student loan forgiveness, really? rolleyes Did you big government nanny, thieving, liberal-cornsucking sodomites learn anything from home loan/foreclosure forgiveness?

    December 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  17. Brent Johnson

    President Obama has apparently decided to rest on his successes; Tax reform; illegal immigration; energy independence; reduced spending/debt reduction; job creation. What's left for him to accomplish?

    December 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  18. jiggaboo

    Name a country that thrives under a black leader you can't. This affirmative. Action monkey is not qualified. The top 10 homicide cities are all black. Jiggas equal destruction. IMPEACH THE PRIMATE BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!! THIS GHETTO NIGA AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PRIMATE WANTS TO DESTROY AMERICA. SEND HIM BACK TO HIS HOMELAND WHERE THEY ARE STILL AMAZED BY THE WHEEL AND FIRE

    December 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • Christopher

      Your mother had an STD when she gave birth to you didn't she? It soounds as if you've got lesions on your brain, if in fact you have a brain!

      December 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  19. Tiffany

    CNN, do you own Fox network or do they own CNN??? Just wondering....One person's opinion does not always speak for the entire group. Can half of the commenters seriously know why the post ignorant comments about The President of the United States? Problably not, because CNN is just as ignorant....It must be horrible to be Black in America.....to all the replies....you know where to stick IT!!! Next....

    December 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  20. Richard Mayers

    America has a short memory. Obama won the election not only due to his speaking abilities but that Americans were totally fed up with Bush, Cheney and the rest of them. Unfortunately, Obama is turning out to not be the savior many expected. Even though he has an almost impossible job, he is not getting the right messages across. The biggest problem is that Obama's deficiencies will open the door for one of these Republican clowns to win and then God help us all.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  21. Ray

    I believe that Universities that failed to produce should be expected to provide partial refunds to all of their students, not just the ones they lured with massive debt.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  22. Socialist Pig

    Change we can believe in!

    December 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  23. Mark

    Obama was the least-qualified presidential candidate of a major party in history. His performance in office is consistent with his legislative record. More often than not, he has voted "present" or not shown up when push has come to shove.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  24. Chris Martin

    Obama fooled me once, and I voted for him in 2008 because I thought he was sincere about change. Once elected, however, he merely continued Bush's domestic and foreign policies (i.e. more foreign wars, corporate bailouts, domestic surveillance, refusal to close Gitmo, failure to prosecute banker's mortgage fraud, crackdowns on medical marijuana clinics, health care reform that brought huge taxpayer subsidies to big pharma and insurance companies, etc.). I'll throw away my vote on a third party candidate before voting for Obama again.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  25. WDinDallas

    They are older, employed and are now Republicans.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  26. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    You could hardly blame them if they gave up on everybody.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  27. 11B-USAinfantry

    i have not given up on re president i am serving proudly for this country, I believe in his case you cant change things in four years thats just crazy talk so far i believe he is doing a great job an i will vote for him in election time comes around i guess i am the 18-29 year olds who will still vote for him.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  28. 11B-USAinfantry

    i have not given up on are president i am serving proudly for this country, I believe in his case you cant change things in four years thats just crazy talk so far i believe he is doing a great job an i will vote for him in election time comes around i guess i am the 18-29 year olds who will still vote for him.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • concerned

      Of course four years is enough time to improve things ....if you know what you're doing. Every recession since the Grat Depression was ended in less than four years....until this one. Under 0bama, things have actually gotten worse since he got into office.

      Try this. Forget his skin color and imagine that he's a Republican, but everything else is exactly the same. Bet you want to see him thrown out of office, impeached and convicted, right? Well, there you go.

      December 30, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  29. Ryan

    Did anyone go to work today?

    December 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  30. brian mchugh

    youth for Ron Paul 2012

    December 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
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