Compounding disinterest: Democrats exploit Millennial voters at their peril
posted at 7:53 pm on October 21, 2009 by Patrick Ishmael
Buoyed by a lopsided victory among young voters, the Obama Administration was convinced that theirs was the Millennial generation — that is, voters between the ages of 18 and 30. And who can blame them? When you win an age subset by a better than 2-to-1 margin, some crowing is in order. Said Democratic strategist James Carville this Spring: “Every growing demographic is trending Democratic and I think we’re probably on the verge of another 40-year era of party dominance here.”
He may first want to focus on surviving the first four. With the country still hemorrhaging jobs despite the Administration’s stimulus predictions — a prediction they’ve so far miscalculated by 6.2 million jobs – the professional outlook for students and recent graduates is an increasingly bleak one. 9.8% overall unemployment is devastating. The 18.5% unemployment rate for young people is simply horrific. And like the official unemployment number, the youth unemployment figure doesn’t count those no longer seeking work. In short, the pain is much deeper than the numbers, already awful, suggest.
This is no Eva Peron moment. Don’t cry for us, Federal Government, but by God, don’t make things worse for us. So far we have a Legislature contemplating Cap-and-Trade legislation that will massively raise the cost of our energy; health care legislation that will disproportionately be paid for on our backs; and a disaster-of-a-stimulus that has successfully led legislators to contemplate… a couple more rounds. And those new burdens will be financed… how? What isn’t paid for in today’s new taxes on the young — naturally paid out of our generation’s current earnings — will have to get paid out of our future earnings in the form of debt. Lagging youth earnings means more debt, which means higher taxes for me and my peers in the future and slower economic growth, which means a poorer country, and which means… you get the picture.
It’s as if we’re being taken for granted.
Factor in the enhanced demands made on the social security system and an ever-escalating addiction to waste and pork, and you have the makings of a Congress that’s intractable, unresponsive, and particularly deleterious to the interests of a growing swath of the electorate — a swath whose paychecks will be underwriting these boondoggles for years to come.
And those paychecks will speak. It’s not big news yet, but the absence of discernible accomplishment of the current political class is not going altogether unnoticed among young people, and the discontent is showing up slowly and in nuanced ways. A poll conducted by SurveyUSA following Obama’s Nobel award found that New Yorkers were split 46-46 on whether he deserved it. Every age group thought he’d (barely) merited the award, with one exception: 18-34 year olds, who disagreed by a 49% to 40% margin. Among SurveyUSA’s other localized polling on the issue, that margin among the youth was closely mirrored in San Diego and Roanoke, with the single exception in Los Angeles.
Still, Obama’s approval rate among youth voters is high. Why? A lot of us look to the approval rating of the President as an effective barometer of public satisfaction in the government, but in many ways it’s simply not so; as Allahpundit summarized yesterday, practically no one’s happy with what our representatives are doing on Capitol Hill, or at least not by any sort of plurality. The fact is that Obama’s Administration is for us Millennials more a cultural phenomenon than a political one, and one that like many cultural phenomenons, wears out over time. Today, Obama’s positive brand recognition clings to middling, and disintegrating, support among voters, with youth approval hovering above that of the general public, but once that youth approval rafter cracks, the whole House of O will come tumbling down rapidly, with both Houses of Congress with it.
Meanwhile, the cap-trade-health-care-stimulus-special-interest-goodie-bag-conflagration marches on, and it’s a not-so-delicate dance across the backs of a youthful, trusting, and buoyant subset of the population. All the while, my generation is viewing the proceedings with two interests in mind. On the one hand, it wants to like Obama and celebrate his message of Hope. On the other hand, it also wants jobs, affordable energy, and to retain its wealth.
Between the two, I’ll let you guess which is the most dispensable.
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