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Politicians crave youth vote in upcoming election

Published: Monday, September 3, 2012

Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 23:09

Despite what was said at the RNC last week, this year’s election is offering nothing new when it comes to “opportunity” or “promises.” The same old politicians are relying on the same old politics and the same old strategies to get votes.

Whether from incumbents or challengers, liberal or conservative, politicians look at college campuses with the same hungry eyes: get the votes of the youth.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney denounced President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, saying it was based on “excitement” from Americans. But one of the strongest factors in Obama’s election was the youth, who were swept up in that “excitement.” According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of the democratic share of the presidential vote in 2008 came from voters under the age of 30. That was a
winning majority, and Romney is right to acknowledge those votes at the RNC.

Historically, college-age voters have been important, and in recent elections, those voters are a growing majority. Romney’s nomination acceptance speech was moving, but pandering to youth is the oldest strategy in the book.

What may prove critical in this election, though, are the youth voters now being dubbed “millennials.” Like the “baby boomers” before, millennials will become a widely influential force in society. One nonpartisan organization formed in 2011, Generation Opportunity, is becoming the largest beacon of the millennials, with over four million fans on Facebook. Supporting the rising importance of youth voters, Generation Opportunity reports that 76 percent of millennials plan to vote in the presidential election this year.

The election could be won by the youth vote through the mobilizing millennials. Obama knew this in 2008, and Romney fears this in 2012. The difference, however, is that Obama appealed greatly to youth as the young challenger against the elderly John McCain. Now, Obama is the incumbent, and Romney is seeking to steal the millennial votes.

Romney’s speech about new opportunities for Americans is nothing new. It may be a new election in a new year, but it is the same strategy from 2008. Romney’s offers are no more than an opportunist strategy to get the votes of the youth.

In the coming months, millennials will be preyed upon by opportunist politicians like Romney. A college campus is the ripest harvest of those opportunities, but students on campus need to be aware of the strategies of those seeking their attention

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