Metropolitik: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney campaigns focus on the children
Campaign season has so far focused on a variety of target demographics. We had women voters, we had Catholic voters, we even had mom voters — some of whom were probably women Catholics! This week it’s all about the kiddos.
President Barack Obama, calling for a freeze of interest rates on student loans, had planned a weeklong effort to woo the young voters that helped propelled him to victory in 2008. “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury,” he said in his radio address.
Unsurprisingly, Romney jumped on that ship — to the chagrin of his Republican allies in the House, who see the estimated $6 billion price tag of such an effort as unacceptable. “I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans,” Romney stated.
Romney’s pivot may be due to fears that Obama could again carry the youth. “I think this is a time when young people are questioning the support they gave to President Obama three and a half years ago,” Romney said Monday. “He promised bringing the country together. That sure hasn’t happened.”
Yes, and Romney’s going to do his damnedest to make sure that certainly doesn’t happen in the next few months!
But hey, cynicism aside, this is good for students and families. Election season is one of those rare moments when we can actually extract real concessions from candidates desperate for our support.
Whether the strategy of courting young voters will pay off is another question. The youth vote (from those 18 to 29 years old) has actually been on the decline since a recent high of 24 percent of the electorate in 1984. Obama’s “historic”?rallying of this demographic represented 18 percent of that electorate — up, it’s true, from a low of some 17 percent in the years between 1996 and 2004. One whole point!
The 2008 Obama campaign galvanized those inclined to vote. Can Romney do the same? Well, do robots carry umbrellas? We don’t know, actually.
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