I’m always entertained when older folks try to reach out to people my age. It’s hardly ever a pretty sight and most of the time these attempts end up being hilarious. I found myself chuckling at Barack Obama’s most recent effort to beg young voters to come out to the polls this November.
This snoozer video featured Obama’s rhythmic phrasing and melodious voice preaching to first-time voters about why they should come out to vote in this year’s congressional election. He talked about all the problems he inherited and the wondrous programs he’s installed to solve them.
No one is buying it anymore, especially young people.
The youth are drawn to lofty ideals, and three years ago, Obama’s rhetoric was full of them. He promised transparency, post-partisanship, and a newer, better Washington. Now, we’re realizing this rhetoric didn’t matter and was "just words, just speeches."
Young people are turned off by argumentative and divisive politics. From Obama, we expected a more unified America and a new era of compromise. Instead, we got ugly Chicago-style politics where the President has demonized his political opponents and forced down his landmark legislation with bare majorities.
The only bipartisanship we have seen during this administration has been against Obama’s divisive policies. Dozens of Democrats voted against the stimulus bill, Obamacare, and cap-and-trade.
Even the most liberal of my generation are frustrated with the President. They would have liked for him to stick closer to his ideological leftism by proposing a single-payer health-care system and much stricter environment regulation. The radical environmentalists on college campuses across the country were furious when Obama opened up the coasts for limited drilling.
Young Americans are realizing they did not get the politician they bargained for.
Better yet, some of us are realizing that the Obama presidency is punishing our future. Down the road, we will be the ones forced to pay off the record-breaking deficits and debt that Obama’s budgets and trillion-dollar spending programs are leaving us.
Three years ago, Obama began a presidential candidacy based on changing the establishment, but now, he has become "The Man." The hope people had during the 2008 campaign has been lost to the realities of Obama’s policies.
There is little doubt that Obama will have a hard time reconnecting with the new voters he had in 2008. While he may get the koolaid-drinkers, it appears most everyone else is dissatified with him and his policies.
The funny thing is that he isn’t even up for reelection. Those unfortunate politicians—congressional Democrats—have never been very popular with young voters. Frankly, my demographic only pays attention to presidential races.
Young people have historically never cared about off-year congressional elections. We have never had a strong turn-out. Obama would need more than messianic powers to magically reinspire young people to like him again, and then get them to turn out to vote in an off-year election in which he isn’t even running.
If Obama continues to try and force this turn-out message with younger voters, he will continue to lose our interest. What was cool about the 2008 campaign is that Obama’s outreach to the youth seemed natural and effortless. When he spoke to us, it didn’t seem overtly political. Last week’s attempt reeked of pandering.
If any political movement will get some youth turn-out, it may be the Tea Parties. College students love freedom and liberty, and if the movement can do a better job of sticking with this fresh idealism, they may see some success.
Obama has consistently attacked young people’s future financial freedom. The Tea Parties and the conservative movement have began to offer a new hope of fiscal responsibility and a dedication to liberty.
As Obama has shown, empty rhetoric will eventually wear off on young people if it is not backed up with principled governance. Young Americans want to see a stark change in the way Washington operates, and whichever party can deliver this first will win the hearts and minds of the youth for generations to come.