Opinion: Obama Has Failed His Young Supporters
President Barack Obama’s major support in the 2012 presidential election is the same age group that helped him cross the finish line as a winner in 2008. It’s the young people throughout the nation that still shout his praises the loudest.
Gallup has reported during Obama’s presidency that the president has enjoyed a high approval rating from voters aged 18-to-29. The data says as much as 66% of the nation’s youngest voters approve of what he’s doing. The percentages of people supporting him dwindle with the older age groups.
It is confusing as to why this would be the case. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised “hope and change” – likely as a marketing measure to promote his candidacy. Of the Americans who embraced the form of marketing that Obama offered, it is difficult to understand why the young Americans are still supporting him in 2012 – or to understand why Obama would even have the audacity to expect their continued support.
After having given their votes to the promise of “hope and change” for a better America in 2008, the promise has not formalized. Obama has failed them greatly. By now, young people have realized that the promised “hope” has greatly diminished and that any amount of “change” really hasn’t helped them at all.
One might think that the older generation would have more understanding of the lack of “hope and change” from President Obama’s four years in office. After all, older people are used to waiting for most everything while young people are not. One would think that younger people in the nation would be less willing to give Obama more time to accomplish his promised-goals.
The older generation is used to working and then waiting for results. The younger generation has little time or patience for waiting. With new technology, all the younger generation knows is what they’ve experienced during their lifetime – quick results which give instant gratification.
In the old days, if someone wanted information, it involved more work than it does today. It involved a trip to the library and research that involved taking notes with pencil and paper. Young people never had to experience the extra effort or the waiting involved with the process of obtaining information. These days, obviously, the Internet is available in homes for information to be found immediately. And as far as taking notes, it’s easier to click the print button.
Waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail or for a return phone call would likely drive them crazy. In these times, lucky for them, messaging via emails, chats, and social media is immediate. So the question is: why then have they been so content in waiting for Obama’s promises to be fulfilled when they aren’t used to waiting around for much of anything?
This is not a criticism of young people, it’s simply an observation. After all, instant gratification is practically all they’ve ever known – but they aren’t getting any gratification from Obama regarding “hope and change.” Worse than not receiving their promises from the man that they had so much faith in, young people are bombarded with bad news for their future.
The young peoples’ job market is beyond bleak. More young people are looking for work now than they were four years ago. Under Obama, this wasn’t supposed to happen. The promise was that he had the answers and the job situation would improve. Furthermore, the young and educated professional-wannabes are doing jobs that require no more than a high school diploma because of the current job market.
The benefits of their time and expense in getting higher education look as if it may have been a waste. Before they even begin working for Social Security, they hear that it will likely not be there when they retire in decades to come. The promises were supposed to erase fears, not increase them.
In 2008, young voters expressed great concern about the political divide in this country. By 2012, that political division between conservatives and liberals is wider than before.
The hopes that minorities – young and old – had for change in America went untouched during the Obama administration. What Obama hasn’t done to improve the lives of African-Americans and Latinos is astounding. Many Americans chose Obama on the promise of an improved life for minorities – only to be extremely disappointed four years later. Black unemployment is worse than it has ever been. Crime rates are off the charts compared to previous times. The only change has been for the worse.
If anything, there’s less “hope” for young people after four years of an Obama presidency. So, why are they continually polled to be so fascinated with this president? It’s confusing.
Maybe it’s just not “cool” for young voters to admit that Obama didn’t deliver that “hope and change” that they believed in. And it’s probably not “cool” to admit that someone else – Mitt Romney – might deliver the change they haven’t seen. As a result, they will probably show their frustration with the endless wait for promised “hope and change” by not showing up at the polls in November – and if they don’t, it will be disappointingly understandable.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.