Fact: The Democrats’ chances of winning in November if the youth – 18-29-year-olds – don’t turn out in droves are significantly diminished. The question on everyone’s minds until Clinton’s speech the Wednesday of the convention – Who is going to motivate the whippersnappers? Can anyone motivate us?
President Obama certainly hasn’t been able to so far, relative to ’08. Romney’s assertion that the first job you’ll have after graduation will be on the unemployment line will, at best, depress voter turnout – not to mention its significant potential for making the voters depressed.
Romney wants us to stay home because most of us turned out for Obama in ’08, and, historically, young people tend to be more liberal than their elders. Obama has less incentive to talk to us before GOTV (Get out the Vote) because we’re a turnout battle, not a persuasion battle.
While not being fortunate enough to attend the Republican National Convention (for fear of Hurricanes) I was able to attend the Democratic National Convention. While at the DNC, I was able to sit in on tons of meetings and had floor tickets to both Wednesday and Thursday night’s primetime lineups. Tuesday night I had to slum it at the CNNGrill (and by “slum it,” I mean “enjoy free beer, food and sit not 20 feet from where CNN was live broadcasting their coverage of the DNC”).
As much as I love name-dropping, it would take a couple hundred words – so to keep it short, I got to meet nearly everyone I wanted to and saw Vice President Biden’s, President Clinton’s and President Obama’s speeches live (in addition to other sub-headliners).
A few Wednesday nights ago, Bill Clinton delivered the nominating speech, speaking to both the hearts and minds of youths struggling to discover inspiration and incentive. To catch the attention of our demographic, he emphasized the President’s student loan reform plan.
“It gives students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years,” Clinton said. “It means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear of a job with a modest income – a teacher, a police officer, [small town doctor] in a little rural area. They won’t have to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay the debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary.”
Students shouldn’t constrict their dreams because of finances, do what you want to do, be who you want to be and never look back….
Not in this economy. Obama just promised students the world and more. Is there anything more on students’ minds than: “How am I going to pay for college?” “Will I have a job after graduation?” “Is my degree worth what I’m paying for it?”
President Clinton laid out a means for students to pursue their dreams and make college affordable while doing it. If this is truly what the Democrats are offering with an Obama re-elect, all I can say is, “Where do I sign up?”
But hold on a second…what if I don’t vote for student issues because I don’t qualify for student loans? (Much like how you don’t care that 17 year olds can’t vote anymore after you turn 18). Let’s also say I end up paying over $200,000 to a school that treats me like garbage – and the proposed loan availability isn’t going to do me much good.
If there were a candidate who could expand the availability of student loans, keep the interest rates on those loans low and, fix the cost of tuition (price you pay freshman year is the price you pay senior year), then I’d say, “Sign me up.”
The reason Obama keeps spanking Romney on education is because Romney’s focus is on the economy. No one has figured out how to pay for making higher education more affordable. We have two options as youths (listen up middle- and high-schoolers – this part is for you):
- Re-elect the President and hope he fulfills his campaign promises.
- Elect Governor Romney and hope he doesn’t fulfill his campaign promises.
Young folks, it’s your choice – in more ways than one: Vote and win, or don’t and lose.