Can Republicans Woo Former Obama Youth?
The generation consisting of 18 to 29 year-olds is up for grabs in November. Republicans hoping to lure these young people to the conservative side are facing an uphill battle.
This demographic has consistently voted Democratic the last three election cycles. but the failed policies of Obama has created an opening a mile wide for the Republicans. Rising unemployment numbers and Obama's proximity to his own 1% fat cats like GE's Jeffrey Immelt can work to the GOP's advantage.
However, Republicans are already missing an opportunity to pummel Obama on the staggering 16.5% youth unemployment figure, while far left nonprofits like Young Invincibles set the narrative. The group just released a report, "No End in Sight? The Long-Term Youth Jobs Gap and What It Means for America."
The study outlines the "bleak" outlook for young people trying to enter the job market.
The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds now stands at 16.5 percent, more than double the rate for the population at large (8.2 percent). For Latino youth, the rate is 20.5 percent, and for African-American youth, 30.2 percent. Fewer than half of all young Americans hold any kind of job at all, says the report.
Young Invincibles is funded by Center for Community Change; the same organization that brought us the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act which played a pivotal role in the foreclosure crisis. But the YI claims to be non-partisan. They use the shtick that Obama isn't handing the AmeriCorps taxpayer grant machine enough money.
The situation, while grim, says O'Sullivan (co-author), isn't hopeless. If America's leaders were aggressively to pursue youth job-creation policies, he says, for example, boosting investment in AmeriCorps from the current $1 billion a year to $6.5 billion, the gap could be closed by 2016. Some 500,000 new youth jobs a year would be created, he says, for less money than the monthly cost of maintaining troops in Afghanistan.
Pouring more taxpayer money into AmeriCorps is not the answer. But that reality pales in comparison next to the promise of helping 20-somethings find a job.
Unlike Republicans, the left keeps it simple. Their 'we can help you' message mainlines straight to the younger generation's heart. Republicans can't seem to master this technique.
In fact, the majority of 20-somethings disgusted with Obama recoil at the thought of voting Republican.
Young Republican conservatives are trying to fight back. In May they launched a super PAC called Crossroads Generation. The group received $750 thousand from GOP organizations like Young Republicans to target under-30 voters.
In a recent yahoo article on how Republicans plan to take back the youth vote, the same youth whom Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush won over easily in 1984 and 1988, the authors cited Maverick PAC and Young Guns Action Fund in addition to American Crossroads as just a few of the efforts coming out of the conservative base.
Republican retreads like Rove and Gillespie are behind one of the groups; their presence serves only to alienate the anti-Bush millennials even more.
MavPAC and YG Action aren't the only groups focused on shoring up the Republican base of young voters this cycle. American Crossroads, a group co-founded by Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, announced the formation of Crossroads Generation earlier this year. In 2010, conservative operatives launched Generation Opportunity, which conducts nationwide voter registration drives targeting the younger set. Free from the restrictions of campaign finance laws, those independent groups will work to amplify the efforts of traditional party organizations.
The YG Action Fund President expressed how hard it will be for Republicans to win over the same group who deserted them in droves during the last two decades. Still he's hopeful.
"I am not here to say that there's some magic wand we're going to wave and all these voters are going to suddenly vote Republican," Murray said. "I think what we recognize is that there's a unique moment in time where there's a real choice being presented in this country, and many of these voters, once you articulate that voice, tend to say, 'You know, I want this freedom and opportunity, and I'm concerned about it.'"
Can Republicans convince young people they feel their pain? Do they know that facts and truth appear to be secondary to symbols and slogans in the battle to win the future?
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.