Free Markets, Free People

Democrats await Armageddon as youth vote deserts them

All the signs are there.   Independents breaking hard for the GOP.  Senior voters, a demographic the Democrats usually own, dissatisfied with the health care bill.  And the youth vote that was so large in 2008 is unengaged in 2010.

In fact, young people are now feeling “abandoned.”  And that has translated into a noticeable lack of enthusiasm on the college campus – a hotbed of Obama and thereby Democratic support:

Now, however, former Obama volunteers nationwide say that they and their former colleagues are less involved and more ambivalent. Experts say the usual midterm effect, in which young voters are especially likely to disengage, has combined with an unexpected distance that has arisen between Mr. Obama and many young constituents. While most of them still view him more favorably than their parents or grandparents do, various polls show that the youthful passion that led to action has not been sustained.

“They were emotionally invested,” said Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. “Somehow that should have been turned into, for Democrats, a revival of progressive policy, and in a neutral way, a revival of democracy starting with young people.”

“So far, it hasn’t happened,” he added.

It isn’t going to happen. It’s the result of writing checks your bank balance can’t cash. It’s the result of taking advantage of the gullibility of youth for political gain by making promises that were unrealistic when they were made. It’s Obama politics.  Grand and soaring rhetoric, while pleasing to the emotions, have to be grounded in the real world.  Over promising has its downside – being unable to accomplish what you’ve promised to do.  Whether or not it is the fault of the politician or the “system”, the politician is the one who made the promises and he’s the one who will be held to account for his lack of accomplishment.  Or that’s the way it usually works.

Obama has never had a record on which he had to run (or defend).  For the first time in his life he’s compiling one.  And it isn’t anything to brag about.  It is that record – doing or continuing a lot of things he promised to change as well as not accomplishing things he said he would – that he’ll be forced to defend in 2012.

If the level of engagement this year (and yes, I know mid-terms see the level of engagement drop in comparison to presidential election years) presages the same sort of level in 2012, Mr. Obama may be in trouble.  Obviously 2 years is a lifetime in politics.  But certain little things indicate that the Obama magic of 2008 just doesn’t work like it once did.   A stop in Cleveland to rally the vote attracts only 8,000 to an arena he filled with 16,000 in 2008.  Democratic candidates avoiding being linked to him or having him help their campaigns.

Many like to cite Bill Clinton as an example of what Barack Obama will do to survive and thrive if the GOP wins the House.   Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.  Clinton was – whether you liked him or not – the best consummate politician of our era, bar none.   The “triangulation” strategy allowed him to work with a Republican Congress to get what he wanted – something he learned after being defeated once as Governor in Arkansas.   Obama is much more an ideologue.  And if anyone could be more self-absorbed (and impressed with himself) than Clinton, it is Obama.  Obama has never suffered electoral defeat so he hasn’t learned Clinton’s lesson.   That will become obvious in the next 2 years.

The question, of course, is whether he and his campaign staff will have the accomplishments necessary to reengage and reenergize key constituencies such as the youth vote in time for 2012.  That depends, in large part, on how Obama retools his approach to working with the GOP.  And, to be quite blunt about it, it also depends, in large part, on how the GOP conducts itself as well.  My hopes are not very high in either area – which means the political season of the next 2 years ought to be very interesting indeed.



25 Responses to Democrats await Armageddon as youth vote deserts them

  • Theory: Many of the college juniors and seniors who drank the Obama koolaid in 2008 have awakened to the grim reality that there aren’t that many jobs out there for them.

  • Obama didn’t or couldn’t even throw a bone to his base. Gitmo, I can understand – he found it it was not so simple. How about DADT? I seriously doubt he would have lost any votes for allowing the courts to throw it out. Why did he persist to oppose it, even while claiming he did not? His own beliefs? The military? A liberal friend of mine claims the military wouldn’t stand for DADT’s repeal. Really? I don’t believe that, but maybe I am wrong. Even if he would have had some social cons upset, that might have worked to his favor if some of the weaker Tea Party candidates went off on social issues.
    Now, according to the FT and Megan McArdle, the Dems will support the elimination of the corporate income tax, if capital gains and dividend taxes are boosted to make up the shortfall. On the Atlantic site, some lefties seemed to like the idea but pooh-poohed the GOP playing ball. Personally, I cannot see Obama reducing taxes on corporations. I don’t think his base or most lefties would allow it – EVIL CORPORATIONS – and all. Is there anything to this? Would this be his triangulation move? Funny, if he had done this along with the Stimulus, he would have done much better I think. Why didn’t he do it then if he’s contemplating it now? Or is that just a trial balloon sent up.
    The canary in the coal mine may well be Sec. Clinton. If she leaves her cabinet position, I think it means she knows Obama will fail to triangulate. I am sure there will be other rats fleeing a sinking ship, Orszag comes to mind. Though, no tell-all books have come out yet. That to me says Obama plans to run again or is undecided. He will definitely enjoy making speeches about the nefarious Republicans for the next two years.

    • Harun[The Dear Golfer] will definitely enjoy making speeches about the nefarious Republicans for the next two years.

      It’s all he seems to know how to do (aside from party and vacation on the public dime, that is).

      I think that this also gives a good indication that he WON’T follow Slick Willie “triangulation” model.  He has shown no ability at all to even recognize the need to work with opponents (unless they are foreigners), but rather has demonstrated a tremendous capacity to blame, duck, demonize, and pass the buck.  Slick Willie was very much interested (perhaps obsessively so) in his legacy.  The Dear Golfer, I think, would like to leave a nice legacy, but will willingly settle for being able to self-righteously claim that, “It somebody else’s fault.”

      • I am just trying to imagine Obama in 2015 saying “we can’t go back to the failed policies of my predecessor” with a straight face.

    • My feelings as to Obama strategy of DADT is that if he can get the courts to declare it un-Constitituional, it won’t ever be able to be brought back.  Frankly, you will have to judicate it now or later.

  • BTW, I rather hope the Dems do attempt to cut the corporate income tax. It only pulls in around 300 billion. If they want added taxes to make up for it, I suggest the GOP just pass a law that kills the tax and cuts 300 billion in spending. Then we will see if the Dems are serious about the economy or just looking for ways to look serious with the out that the GOP didn’t “compromise” on the issue.

    • Ewww…  Diabolically delicious!!!  I LIKE it…!!!!

      • and it would be insanely good for the country. Think about it, an entire class of anti-business taxes and regulations GONE. Off the table. Completely changes the business environment. Reduction of lobbying. Repatriation of profits. Lots of good stuff.
        I remember Kerry’s campaign had talked of cutting corporate taxes, probably as a sop, but maybe the Dems really do think its a tax that could go.

  • OPERATION OVER-REACH is all but complete now.  Obama has over-played his hand at every turn, and people are either 1) sick (those Collectivists who are on board with destroying America as we know her), 2) tired (most of the electorate and the population engaged in productive work, or incensed (those of us who see and understand what and who Obama and the Obami are).
    The American people can learn.  You and I have a job of educating our friends, neighbors, and families.

  • Where’s Erb?  I remember his last missive was right after O’Donnell won her primary.  “Now this election is getting fun” I believe was his smug message.

    You still having fun Erb? 

    • This election certainly is fun. All you have to do to see what I have to say about it is come over to my blog and read the umpteen posts I’ve made.

      And it’s not either true that they all basically same the same thing, and spread out all the possibilities without committing to any of them so I can point to them later no matter what happens and say I predicted it. They’re rich, creamy analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis}.

      It’s also not true that I’m staying away because I love to crow but can’t stand to see others crow the way some of you have been doing and probably will be doing a lot more after Tuesday. So put that right out of your mind. I’ve been busy. Those magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face and ample bosom won’t clean themselves out of my basement, you know. Or my car. Or my office.

      In fact, they’re getting worse as the election approaches. I think I heard a whole gang of them conspiring to turn the TV to Fox News all Tuesday night so they could watch the returns. One is apparently going to wink through those naughty librarian glasses every time a Republican wins. I know that you dense righties just melt when that happens, but I think it’s disgusting.

      • I noticed the professor put up a post predicting various races, but then hedged his bet in the most recent post “wishing” that the Dems would keep the House.  He’s got all the bases covered, except if the GOP gets better than expected results.   But then, he’ll just look for his “silver lining” somewhere.  It’s too bad we can’t get streaming video of him watching the results come in.

    • I confess my curiosity got the better of me and I looked at Erb’s blog. He concedes that probably the Democrats will lose the House, but is willing to scour the internet for any sign whatsoever to keep hope alive. After all he likes Obama and Pelosi.

      The richest bit was from his previous post about the Jon Stewart rally:
      <blockquote>The “Restore Sanity” rally hosted by Jon Stewart and (to a lesser extent) Stephen Colbert Saturday drew over 200,000 people, easily doubling the rally Glenn Beck hosted in August…</blockquote>

      • Well, it was twice as big! CBS said so! And they’re totally reliable! So don’t start up with any of those memos, which probably were just copies of real ones and were fake but accurate.

        And don’t you dare get out those aerial photographs either, you, you… non-believer!

        By the holy writ of post-modernism, we have a socially constructed consensus that Stewart’s rally was bigger, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing.

        If you say Beck’s rally was bigger, you doth protest too much. {chuckle} {giggle} {eyes rolling}

  • The battle to restore economic and personal freedom in the United States is going to be long and hard.  We have voter fraud and its attendant litigation to think about tomorrow.  After the GOP takes the House, it will be a readjustment –  not yet a revolution.  Democrats probably calcualted that they could be suicidal for 2010 if they could just get “Obamacare” passed, and the nose of the camel would be in the tent.  It would take root just as Social Security and Medicare have done, and conservatives would have neither the  votes nor the will to repeal it.

    But it needs to be repealed and replaced with something better – such as HR 3400, sponsored by Congressman Tom Price (R-GA).  It probably won’t happen until after 2013 at the earliest.  Then conservatives need to continue to build majorities, and replace Social Security, Medicare, and the current Income Tax Code with something better. 

    There are some very good ideas for replacements; we just need to think of how to implement them incrementally over the long term.  This battle is going to be long and hard, and the case for conservatism must be made clearly, effectively, and frequently.

  • I’m really unsure of why the youth vote is disenfranchised.
    It may not be dissatisfaction with spending policies.  It could be he didn’t do enough.
    They did what they were told in electing Obama and weren’t truly motivated on their own so they have to real interest.  And the paradise on earth Obama was suppose to create by just being there didn’t come about.  idk.
    I believe its a lack of the promised fulfillment that their programming told them they were received if they voted for Obama.  But I doubt they understand the connections, themselves.  Its probably subconscious.  And its probably purely limited to simply: voted for Obama, don’t fee fulfilled, sit this one out.  Consciously they may tell themselves because Obama didn’t do enough or America is too racist.  The excuses for them not feeling fulfilled are legion and the young don’t have the intellectual independence anymore to figure it out for themselves.
    I expect this generation to float between liberal radicalism and indifference.  They don’t have the capacity to embrace anything else.  I’ve tried to warn people about the level and refinement of brainwashing that’s happened in the schools.  And indifference is the best you’ll ever hope for politically.  They are a lost generation.

    • Let’s say a whole lot of people were interested in showing that America had progressed past racism and could elect a black guy president. To be a part of that movement would be amazing – you’d be making history! OK. The black guy is elected now. Do you get all excited about voting in a bunch of reps to help him 2 years later? No. History has been made, Its done. I’d say that covers 10% of Obama supporters in 2008, maybe more.
      This is not to knock him: Obama is an historic president. Colin Powell could have done this, too, and been mediocre for 8 years with no harm. Instead, we get this feel-good wave right at the wrong time. But really, its good news. Nobody is pushing for even more government like in the 30’s with communist and fascist models showing us “how the future would be.” Actually, I am amazed that the public doesn’t look at Wall Street and start voting in 5-year plan guys.The media,  academia, and the school system have failed – thankfully.

    • JPM- I dunno if they’re really a lost generation.  Life tends to be an effective teacher.

    • I would imagine that people in college are likely to consider the issue of jobs as much more important in the practical sense.  They may not discuss it nearly as much as they do other (ideological) issues, but I think it’s one issue that they have to do more than just discuss.  And it’s an issue that they can’t just politicize.  When the jobs (the ones that are going to pay for that college education and the life that they are planning) do not materialize, it can’t help but kill morale.

    • Today’s youth haven’t been out enough in the world yet to connect the dots, but they will, they will.

      And when they do, they will realize that their financial future has been foreclosed by entitlements and government debt.

      Then it will become generational war.

  • I don’t agree that Clinton was such a great politician. He failed to pass Hillarycare, lost Congress to the Republicans, then tacked right signing welfare reform, etc.

    Bill’s skill was being popular. Sure, he managed that, but he couldn’t pull off any agenda. If the end game is opinion polls, then perhaps you are correct. If the end game is pushing through an agenda then Bill is really a loser.

    As far as Obama stands, I don’t see him moving right. He’s a far left true believer, and the left owns him. Bill was more about Bill, and the left didn’t really own him. Bill was willing to tack, and his supporters were (mostly) willing to let him. I don’t think Obama is willing to tack, and his supporters won’t allow it. And Obama listens to his supporters, if the new book on “Obama’s Wars” is correct. 

    • Bill’s skill was being popular. Sure, he managed that, but he couldn’t pull off any agenda.

      >>>>  But that’s all Clinton ever really cared about.  Agenda was secondary.

  • Frankly, the heavy lifting begins when Congress comes back from recess.  There will be no wait till January.