GOTV: How conservatives can win the youth vote

Celia Bigelow Founder, Students Against Barack Obama
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We’re down to the final few days of the most important election of our generation. What are conservatives doing to help get out the youth vote on campus?

In 2008, Senator Obama’s most important voter demographic was young Americans, a group he won by a 34-point margin — 66 percent to 32 percent. President Obama knows the importance of the youth vote in this election, and he knows he needs to win at least 55% of it to ensure another victory.

But President Obama’s support among young people is waning. A recent Pew Research poll shows that the president’s support among the MTV generation has dropped 10 points since 2008, from 66 percent to 56 percent. Romney can improve substantially on McCain’s 2008 performance with young voters, but only if conservatives do everything in their power over the coming days to rally students.

Conservative leaders, grassroots volunteers, and students should pose a simple question to young people: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? The answer is obvious: young people are not better off, and they deserve better. Still, conservatives need to explain to them just how much worse off they are now — and why President Obama deserves some of the blame.

Here are the five main points conservatives should be hitting on college campuses:

  1. The youth unemployment rate during President Obama’s term has averaged 17.5% — the highest ever for a presidential term. An estimated 397,000 youth jobs have been lost in the last four years.
  1. Obamacare will increase youth healthcare costs by 45 percent. Some student healthcare plans have already increased in cost by as much as 1,112 percent due to Obamacare.
  1. In 2008, President Obama said, “When I’m president, I will make college affordable for every American.” However, due to his easy loan policies, college tuition has increased 25 percent since he took office, while average student loan debt has increased 16 percent.
  1. College graduates have a 30 percent chance of moving home with their parents after graduation.
  1. It’s time to stop blaming Bush. President Reagan turned a worse economy around in just four years. Youth unemployment during the Reagan recovery dropped 43 percent, from 18.8 percent to 10.7 percent.

Obama knows he can’t run on his economic record, which is why his campaign team is getting creative with its get-out-the-vote (GOTV) tactics. On the first day of early voting in Fort Collins, Colorado, a complaint was filed against Obama for America for offering free pizza and prizes to students in exchange for their votes.

On Ohio State University’s campus, leftist organizers have been busing as many as 500 students at a time to early voting centers. The Obama campaign even has an office on campus, advertised with a poster on the front window that says, “Catch a ride with us [to an early voting center],” and “Free Food; Come Together; Make History.”

Conservatives should be directly combating this on campus. Disenchanted young people are looking for answers to why “hope and change” has turned into “misery and disaster.” Conservatives must offer them those answers.

President Obama, despite his best efforts, has failed to regain the support he has lost among young Americans, and conservatives have an historic opportunity to gain young Americans’ support. The GOTV efforts that will unfold over the next few days will be their last chance to do so. If conservatives make an honest attempt to tie students’ struggles to President Obama’s devastating policies, the president will be the one left devastated on November 6.

Celia Bigelow, age 22, is the founder of Students Against Barack Obama, a project of American Majority Action.