Youth in Revolt Against Obama!

Why Millennials are giving the president the cold shoulder.

This article appeared at The Daily Beast on November 20, 2013. Read it there.

It’s like totally official, now, bro: Even the young Americans who were central to Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and 2012 are sick of the president, with a large and growing majority disapproving of the job he’s doing. In this, they’re just like their elders.

A new Quinnipiac Poll finds that only 36 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 approve of the job the president is doing while fully 54 percent of the kids give him the thumbs down (10 percent didn’t know or care enough to respond to the topic). Back in March 2009, 62 percent of 18 to 29 years approved, compared to just 20 percent disapproving.

Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid. As bad as Obama’s time in office has been for older Americans, nobody has taken it on the chin quite as bad as kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke, and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get a job.

Observers sympathetic to the president and a progressive Democratic agenda chalk the sharp decline up to the clusterfucked rollout of Obamacare. “Because they came of age watching a Republican president fail massively in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crisis, Millennials are predisposed to favor Democrats,” writes Peter Beinart, coming up with arguably the most inventive new variation on the old “blame Bush” meme. Beinart notes that even as Millennials are less trusting of government than Gen Xers and baby boomers had been in their 20s, they were more likely to support both Obama and his health care reform plan. “If Obamacare never gets fixed,” frets Beinart, “it might just sour the single best relationship the Democratic Party has: its love affair with the young.”

Well, then, the Dems are officially on the market for a new love connection. While there’s no question that the launch of Obamacare has been a major disaster, the fact is that the youth revolt against Obama started almost immediately after he moved into the White House. In 2008, Obama won 66 percent of votes cast by 18-29 year olds. In 2012, he racked up just 60 percent. More tellingly, the participation rate among younger voters dropped precipitously between those elections, with Obama pulling 2.4 million fewer votes from 18-29 year olds in 2012. The second time around, he just wasn’t putting young asses in the voting booth anymore.

Who can blame them for not showing up? The abysmal and pathetic launch of healthcare.gov is simply the cherry on top of a shit sundae Obama’s been whipping up for the kids. You can protest that the stimulus should have been bigger, but when you judge its success against what the Obama administration claimed it would do, it was an epic fail. While masquerading as the peace and freedom candidate – easy to do against such hawkish characters as Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election – Obama prided himself on tripling troop strength in Afghanistan and tried to extend our stays there and in Iraq. But for the vocal pushback from Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and a bunch of younger, non-interventionist Republicans, there’s every reason that the U.S. would have started an unsanctioned war in Syria, just as it did in Libya (where things are working out...how, again?).

The president has been genuinely awful on pot legalization and dragged his feet on gay marriage – issues on which younger voters are in front of the general population – and he spent his first term deporting more immigrants than George W. Bush managed to in eight years (despite minor reprieves announced in time for the 2012 elections, the deportations keep on happening). The revelations of widespread, Obama-approved drone strikes, the compilation of a presidential kill list, and the data collection of phone logs and internet traffic don’t exactly inspire warm and fuzzy feelings from a generation that lives online. His response to the Gulf oil spill was dithering to non-existent and his alt-energy plans have come to naught even as fracking has put the country on a path to something like energy independence. And clandestine attempts to expand onerous copyright laws and outlaw cellphone unlocking via the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty aren’t helping either.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama seemed like the coolest cat to hit the national scene in a long time, almost scientifically engineered to appeal to idealistic young Americans. He was the perfect combination of a dream dad and an older brother who could run you ragged up and down the basketball court, wink and nod about smoking dope, and hip you to some older but still cool music, you know? In 2008, the Pravda of youth culture,Rolling Stone, slathered the future president with praise for being so with it that he even knew how to use...an iPod. We were all pretty sure that his eventual Republican challenger, John McCain, had stopped listening to music when Rudy Vallee went electric or Stephen Foster released his Chris Gaines record or something, but there Obama was, listening to Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheryl Crow, and even Jay-Z. “I have pretty eclectic tastes,” Obama told Rolling Stone. He even went on to invoke “Maggie’s Farm,” Dylan’s classic song of generational defiance and opting out. "It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric," explained.

Yeah, well, it’s all over now baby blue. Like Bush before him – and in many wars, even worse than Bush before him - Obama has personified the failure of leaders to speak plainly, honestly and directly and to enact simple, effective, financially responsible policies that speak to Americans’ hopes and dreams. The great political continuity in the 21st century is one of transpartisan failure and the continuing flight from party affiliation by more and more Americans.

Beinart and others like him are right to note that Obama’s and the Democrats’ decline in popularity is not automatically the Republicans’ gain (though get a load of this: Ken Cuccinelli won the 18-24 year-old vote against Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race). But just as there’s no reason to expect the problems with Obamacare to be fixed anytime soon, there’s no reason to think that youth disaffection with the president is going to get better over the remainder of his second term. He’s failed with younger voters not in spite of his policies but because of them. Along the way, he transmogrified from a hipster dad into a near-total drag whose control is as absolute as his inability to get anything right.

In terms of basic demographics, the future belongs to Millennials because they are young. For good and ill, they will inherit the world their elders made for them. In terms of politics, the future belongs to leaders and parties who not only agree with the record-high percentage of Americans who think the government has too much power but actually propose to give some of it away.

This article appeared at The Daily Beast on November 20, 2013. Read it there.

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  • ||

    And if they do finally get a job, a significant chunk of their after tax income is going to be consumed by overpriced health insurance.

  • Dweebston||

    So much this. I can't believe older libs feel they're doing their younger compatriots a service by cranking up the latter's expenditures to eleven.

  • AlexInCT||

    You think they care? They are entitled to free shit, meaning paid for by others, and they don't care whom those others are as long as it is not them.

    Liberals are the most generous people you will ever encounter, but only with other people's money.

  • Dweebston||

    I think they're split between those fool enough to think they're doing young people a favor (via urchins like Fluke) and those for whom, as you note, the young merely serve to sucker in the old. In either case I can't fathom how liberals fail to understand that radically amplifying the expenses for an important demographic will aid either voters or party.

  • Brian D||

    Meh. Watch them faithfully flock back to Team Blue just in time to prevent whatever milquetoast moderate right-wing extremist candidate Tea Red props up.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Team Red may want to help out here by not nominating someone with little appeal to young voters. The 18-24 year old was won frequently by Republicans until about 2004. If you think of the GOP candidates from then on, and their efforts (or lack thereof) to appeal to young voters, there is little wonder young people did not vote for them.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Some quick math reveals that since the election of 1992 the average age of GOP Presidential candidates has been 65; for the average age of the Democrat Presidential candidate was 51.

  • AlexInCT||

    At this point, if there was any sanity and sense in this world, Team Red should be able to nominate a fucking pet rock and have it beat your next lying democrat, but we all know that as soon as Team Blue promises these morons they will help them (by screwing someone else preferably) they will be right there again sucking Team Blue cock.

    Stupid people that are detached from how the real world works, will keep doing stupid shit.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Soooo--McCain and Romney were bad choices.

    Fiscally moronic and socially inept isn't what the kids are into?

    The kids don't like RINOs?

    I'm not sure you understand that what you're saying here doesn't jibe with your own expressed views.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -The kids don't like RINOs?

    They do not like people who lack appeal to them. If you subtract the ages of the Dem candidates from the age of the GOP candidates for Presidential contests 1992-2012 you get:

    22
    23
    2
    -3
    25
    14

    For a lot of those elections you are talking about people two generations removed, rather than one, from these young people. Regardless of specific policies, the appeal is going to be difficult.

  • wareagle||

    could have sworn I've seen this story before.

  • ||

    Me too. I'm having triple- or quadruple-deja vu.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's just a glitch in the matrix.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    And he still hasn't fixed the (Freudian) typo that I pointed out a couple of versions back:

    Like Bush before him – and in many wars, even worse than Bush before him

  • Alice Bowie||

    kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke, and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get a job.

    And this is Obama's doing?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's the cumulative effect of a century's worth of regulation upon regulation constricting the economy to the point where it can barely function. Obama just happens to be the guy in office as the final straws are laid upon the economy's back.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Obama just happens to be the guy in office as the final straws are laid upon the economy's back.

    I will agree it is a culmination of long misrule that can not all be blamed on Obama, but he is currently exacerbating, rather than mitigating, the process and therefore deserves the blame.

  • Dweebston||

    How do you ask a man to be the last to die first against the wall for a mistake long train of abuses and usurpations?

    Trick question: you don't ask.

  • AlexInCT||

    Saying Obama is just exacerbating the problems is being rather generous. Because of the nanny state's growth we had been on a slow pace to an implosion, but with decades before it was all to come about, until Obama took over. In 5 short years he ate up practically 95% of that time and made sure the disaster was a given, and soon.

  • Calidissident||

    IMO Bush started pressing the accelerator down, although Obama went pedal to the metal when he took office.

  • Floridian||

    Well since the small company I work for had to sell the business to a large national corporation because they could no longer afford to negotiate the Byzantine regulations of Obama care or absorb the 50 percent increase in premium cost and our HR/billing department is being fired, why don't you ask them what the President has done for them.

  • Dweebston||

    why don't you ask them what the President has done for them.

    Freed them from the shackles of their wage slavery, that they may live leisurely lives of aesthetic contemplation against the pastoral backdrop of perfect economic harmony.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    And this is Obama's doing?


    Yes.

    Next question? You there, with the polka-dot bowtie?

    Ok, to be frank (and not mike or luke) it wasn't Barry who imposed the first minimum-wage laws or labor regulations or the ADA or the EPA or the SEC or OSHA/MSHA or payroll taxes or zoning laws or licensing laws or the Fed or the IRS or the FDA or permits or the other thousands of little impediments to economic growth. No, he didn't start them.

    He only made them worse. That's all.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yes, but... with Obamacare waivers he's showed us the way out for the next president.

    Just announce that you will not enforce any of those provisions during your presidency.

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    Yea, and I'm sure they have prime beach real-estate to sell us in North Dakota. Unless something radical happens, it will simply be Team Red making us suck Insurance Industry cock instead of Team Blue. Do you really think rotund asswipe Chris Christie is going to do anything other than hump the leg of the Insurance lobby?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "I drink your HOPE. I drink it up."

  • Floridian||

    DRAINAGE!!!!!!!!
    *kills Brooks with bowling pin*

  • eyeroller||

    Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid.

    Does "gullible" qualify as stupid?

  • Homple||

    The dozen or so Millennials I've met in the last year are ignorant and therefore gullible. Their heads have been stuffed with proggie claptrap from Sesame Street through a masters degree.

    They're so far gone that it's saddening to listen to them.

  • AlexInCT||

    They're so far gone that it's saddening to listen to them.

    It would be comedic if you didn't realize they get to vote and fuck us all over because of the fantasies of the great progressive paradise state they have been made to believe in.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They're so far gone that it's saddening to listen to them.

    And the best part is that they went 10s to 100s of thousands of dollars in debt for that brainwashing.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    As bad as Obama’s time in office has been for older Americans, nobody has taken it on the chin quite as bad as kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke, and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get a job.

    Blame Walmart.

  • Killazontherun||

    I remember the 70s when the fairly waged employees of K-Mart strode amongst us like kings.

  • db||

    I grew up in a town and era where K-Mart was an anchor store at the local mall.

  • PowerBottom||

    And again, they'll happily goosestep to the polls to vote for the 'D' candidate come 2016. It'll be a a new candidate, not a soiled Obama after a lackluster first term like 2012. The only somewhat bright spot is that Obama may have dashed enough hopes among the young-uns that relatively few of them even show up.

  • OldMexican||

    Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid.


    Oh, they're stupid, all right, just not super-stupid. You still read a few bitter-enders holding on to dear life in a few blogs and on the few online liberal newspapers hanging on in life-support; but I don't believe all millenials will continue hitching their wagon to Barry's star much longer.

  • datcv||

    No but they're "ready for Hilary!"

  • OldMexican||

    In terms of basic demographics, the future belongs to Millennials because they are young.


    ♪ We are young,
    heartache to heartache we stand ♫
    No promises, no demands
    Obamacare Is The Last Battlefield ♫

  • Azathoth!!||

    kids under 30

    Kids are under 18. Part of our problem is that we've forgotten this. The endless frustrated adolescence that has been forced on millennials has damaged them beyond measure.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Next up:

    Adolescence till 40. You won't be considered an adult until your on the back 9.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    Actually biological children are under the age of puberty and under 11 years old (11 being roughly the time they gain abstract thinking, the last step in having a fully functioning brain).
    It's important to remember a 15 year old isn't a child just because the law says so. Or else someone may declare that a 9 year old is legally an adult (i.e. sharia marriage laws)

    /nitpick

  • Alice Bowie||

    My friends,

    Do you please believe that we have too many regulations?
    Or, do you believe we have the wrong types of regulations on commerce?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yes.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid. As bad as Obama’s time in office has been for older Americans, nobody has taken it on the chin quite as bad as kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke, and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get a job.

    I'd guess that those who assign any blame to Obama, blame him for not doing enough. So I wouldn't rule out stupidity.

  • Sugarsail||

    Nah, the young lefties out here in Cali would come to Obummer's defense if he ate babies on TV and cite some Noam Chompsky paper as to why eating babies is for the greater good. The girls have shrines in their bedrooms that they fiddle their beans to at night when the drapes are closed. The youth is so starstruck it's amazing.

  • Response||

    "In terms of basic demographics, the future belongs to Millennials because they are young. For good and ill, they will inherit the world their elders made for them."

    Actually that contradicts the rest of the article. They helped vote him in - they should take responsibility for the world they helped make.

  • Calidissident||

    True (although only generally speaking. Not all Millenials voted for Obama), although America's problems did not start with Obama. He has certainly made things worse, but let's not downplay what happened before either.

  • Response||

    You are quite correct. Just pointing out that statements contradiction to the rest of the article.

    I was young once and voted conservative (economics over social issues) - which was a tough road to walk. Didn't even know libertarian was an option until about 5 years ago... damn, I wish the internet had been around when I was younger.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    “Because they came of age watching a Republican president fail massively in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crisis, Millennials are predisposed to favor Democrats,” writes Peter Beinart, coming up with arguably the most inventive new variation on the old “blame Bush” meme.
    Funny enough, that's a valid "blame booosh" argument. Bush also had some people believe America was just a few steps away from becoming a full-blown Christian theocracy. In hindsight the guy was all talk and probably helped the Atheist movement more than he helped Christians. (Islamic terrorism & 9/11 obviously also helped)

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