Young People Disenchanted With Obama, Would Prefer To Vote Clinton

Illustration for article titled Young People Disenchanted With Obama, Would Prefer To Vote Clinton

President Obama had a tremendous amount of support from young people in 2008, but like many other Americans their fondness for Obama is waning. Many Millennials were convinced that Obama would bring hope, change, and possibly a unicorn that poops cans of Red Bull, but since he only passed health care reform, ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and oversaw the killing of Osama Bin Laden, they're sorely disappointed. Now if Obama wants to win another term in office, he may have to convince young voters that he's still capable of meeting their unrealistic expectations.


NPR reports that in the last presidential election, millennials voted for Obama by a ratio of 2 to 1, which is the largest margin of victory within a single age group since 1972. (Full disclosure: Apparently as someone born between 1981 and 1993, I'm a Millennial. Though, I wrote school reports on a typewriter and can only name two Jonas Brothers, so I'm not sure how that's possible.) Young voters devoted their time and money to Obama's campaign in 2008, and now there are 8 million more registered voters who weren't old enough to vote in the last election. They're are generally more liberal, with 50 percent identifying as Democrats compared to only 34 percent who say they're Republicans. At 49 percent, the President's approval rating is much higher among Millennials than among other groups, but many say they're less excited about keeping Obama in office than they were about helping him get the Republicans out of office three years ago.

Lillie Catlin, a student at Bryn Mawr College who's decided to be an Obama campaign volunteer even though the title's lost its panache, believes the kids will get fired up again once Obama is facing off against some generic Republican (let's just say Romney). She says:

"There's not as much attention, because there's no primary going on. He still has a job to do. So he's not campaigning as much. And there's not as much of a frenzy about who will we choose: We already know."

There is one person in politics who Millennials are still wildly enthusiastic about. '90s nostalgia is hot right now, and in addition to the return of Clarissa Explains It All they'd like to see more of Bill Clinton. When asked to name the best president in their lifetime, 14% of young people named Obama, but Clinton won by a landslide. Support from young voters will be crucial in the election, so Obama might want to turn to Clinton for a little help on the campaign trail. Millenials may have been in grade school when Clinton was in office, but we'll always have a soft spot for the man who taught us that "oral sex" and "phone sex" are not the same thing.

Millennials Uncertain Of Loyalty Toward Obama [NPR]


Seoul Sister

I worked for the Obama campaign in 2008. And I worked for Organizing For America in 2010. I'll vote for Obama in 2012. I am one of those young people who worked her ass off and ate, slept, and drank primaries and election to see Obama win in 2008.

I am disappointed in him. I am not as disappointed as some others, because even in 2008, I tempered my expectations with my cynical opinion that everything is getting worse and will only continue to decay until outrageous catastrophe and suffering forces us to to change for the better.

But there are serious, legitimate disappointments. I strongly dislike this narrative that liberals unhappy with Obama are unreasonable purists who won't give the man a break. It is this continued attitude that dismisses liberals and leftists, that leads to people like the Chief of Staff telling 'the professional left' to suck it up and shut the fuck up, and leads to me wanting to just quit American politics entirely.

The disdain for their own base is unconscionable. The GOP at least pretends to lionize their conservative base, they cater to them now and again. The DNC basically smirks at us and tells us "Well, go ahead and don't vote - enjoy the Republicans."

Obama wasn't going to change everything over night. The Republicans and conservative democrats have been huge impediments to his agenda. But none of them made him pick guys like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. None of them made him pursue deportation more rabidly than George W. Bush or Clinton ever had. Nobody made him hold off on nationalizing Citigroup, or told him to abandon labor, or hug so fucking tight to the Bush tax cuts.

In his campaign, he talked about defending labor rights and said, "I won't just defend you, I'll march with you." Now look at the bullshit laws getting passed in Ohio and Wisconsin and Maine and other states. Look at the voter suppression that has been passed as legislation. I don't ask him to get in the thick of it. I don't need him to march with us. But I'd like for some of his staff, some of his campaign infrastructure to be used to help out the causes in Ohio and Wisconsin. His administration seems at best, disinterested, and at worst, scared of being linked to labor in an election.

I hate the tone of this article, and the narrative going on that young people and liberals and unions are babies, crying because their wishes didn't magically come true.