It was both the youth vote and Latinos that helped get President Barack Obama elected in 2008. One is still hanging in there and the other has real reservations over what he has done for them. Even though Hispanics are concerned that the President hasn’t done enough for their people, they still support him. Considering the way the GOP looks down on this group, that’s a wise choice. The younger vote is something else, and unless Obama puts them back to work soon, they may just skip the elections.
Only 55.3 percent of Americans age 16 to 29 have jobs. According to Brad Chase, Barack Obama missed the boat on two issues. Rather than create jobs for the young unemployed, he talked about it in community forums. Rather then really providing a bailout on the huge burden of college loans, he only reduced rates by a pathetic 0.5 percent. This has led to an approval rate by the 18 to 29 age group of less than 50 percent.
But the Prez just may have his sights on the burgeoning Latino voting population to carry him through in 2012. Combining this with running against a Republican Congress that has done everything they can to defeat anything he proposes, but has done nothing of their own in the last three years may be a winning combination. At the end of the year, Hispanics favored the President over GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by a margin of over 2 to 1.
According to a Pew survey, two-thirds of Latino registered voters supported Democrats where only 20 percent were for Republicans. However, Obama’s deportations are an issue where 77 percent who knew of this disapproved of the administration’s policy. But in a recent proposed change in migrant policy where immigrants closely related to U.S. Citizens would not have to leave the country to apply for legal status, the President got their attention again.
There is a group up for grabs, the Millenials, in their early 20s, and Brad Chase says they have a short memory, but they have experienced hard times in Obama’s last three years. They aren’t yet leaning to the right, but neither are they enthused with the left. They are currently in the middle, and The Center for the Study of the American Electorate says they can be had by a candidate that focuses on answers to their issues.
Chase says the President or a presidential candidate might do or talk about doing three things for the youth vote. First, create a limited student debt forgiveness program for those over $30,000. Second, Place control on “Predatory lender/services” where servicers like American Education Services (AES) resort to bullying tactics with parents. Third, allow the discharge of a student loan in bankruptcy.
With two-thirds of registered Hispanic voters favoring the Democratic Party, there is good reason to believe this could translate into more Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate and House, as well as state legislatures. This will be more prominent in border-states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas that have hefty Latino populations. Once this trend gets rolling it will be hard to stop considering the boom in the growth of Hispanics throughout the U.S.
One thing is certain, with a 9 percent favor rating of Congress, which is primarily focused on the GOP, and early signs that these yahoos aren’t about to change their tactics—specifically because the Tea Party won’t let them—progressives in the next few months leading up to November must emphasize this to the public. If we, starting with President Obama, don’t take full advantage of this golden opportunity, it will be a loss that goes down in history.