BILL MOYERS: In 2008, millennial, your generation, voted for Obama by a 34 point margin compared to a nine-point margin, four years earlier, for John Kerry. I mean, they came out -- you came out, your generation, and were a decisive, if not the decisive factor in Obama's margin. Will your generation come out for Obama again?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think it's a really difficult question. I think the Millennial generation still is showing preferences for Democratic policies for Democratic values and ideals and for Democratic candidates over Republican candidates. But you have to realize that just like with all other kinds of voters, young voters are voting on the economy.

And as the Dēmos report "The State of Young America" has shown, this generation, my generation is really feeling the brunt of the recession that capped off 30 years of widening economic inequality and insecurity. And so young people can't say that they're better off financially than they were four years ago. I really believe that given the levels of unemployment in the young adult generation, the president needs to call for-- and I understand it would be difficult to pass through Congress.

But on the campaign trail, he needs to call for a WPA style, generational jobs program all across this country. And it would be a transformational generational experience. It would be something that would expose people to different Americans from different walks of life. But it would also be something that would say, finally, for once and for all, 'Yes, your American Government is on your side, young people. We're not always going to leave you to the mercy of the banks and selfish employers and the vagaries of the so-called 'free market. We're going to say that your future matters to us as a country.'

BILL MOYERS: You're calling for more and more government help. You just asked Obama to take a more aggressive position with using the government to put people to work. You're up against, of course, the predisposition of people out across the country that, 'I don't want to pay taxes to those folks who haven't been spending it well, fighting wars, passing the cost on. Extending benefits to Wall Street, bailing out the banks. I don't want to support government anymore.'

HEATHER McGHEE: Absolutely. I mean I think that in order for us as Americans, who want to see public solutions to our common problems, to really achieve what we want to achieve, we are going to have to clean up Washington first. It is absolutely important. For example, why would the American people trust Washington to do what's right when they know that so much of their energy is focused on rewarding the people who brought them to the party, which is the wealthiest people in the country and the organized corporate elite?

And so we've got to clean up the money in politics problem. And it's time to take that incredibly personal issue of your own personal finances and make them political.

BILL MOYERS: Doing what?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think we need to stay politically involved on policy issues. We need to, as a generation, really be the generation that calls for and holds leaders accountable for cleaning up Washington, for addressing the political inequality that is perpetuating economic inequality. We need to become a very politically engaged generation. We need to run for office, debt be damned.

Will Millennials Rally Behind Obama Again?

February 10, 2012

President Obama relied on enthusiastic support from Millennials to reach the White House in 2008, but they haven’t been immune to tough economic times — nor the despair that comes with it. Will they support Obama with the same vigor in 2012, and — if not — what can the President do to re-inspire them? In this web-exclusive preview clip, Heather McGhee, a Millennial herself who directs the Washington office of the research and advocacy group Demos, answers that direct question.

The full episode, “Economic Malpractice and the Millennials” can be seen here.

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  • HHH

    Knowing younger people who voted for Obama last time, I would say no, they will not come out in  numbers like they did last time. They feel sold out by Obama and rightfully so. 

  • Calhoun Paul

    I was in Grant Park in Chicago election night, and saw tens of thousands of  idealistic young people elated at the election of a man promising them “Change They Could Believe In”.  Personally I am still waiting to know exactly what that “change” he was talking about is or was, and just what President Obama really stands for beyond electoral politics. At the time of the election, I wondered how our newly elected president might utilize the the support of young people that he and his campaign had so skillfully mobilized, and unfortunately it appears that he simply turned his back once he was in office. Now that things have not gone as well as expected, Mr. Obama’s campaign once again extends its hand in the hope that those same young people will rally behind him once again. Who could blame them if they ask quite directly why?

  • Blake James Archibald

    I agree with HHH, the short answer is no, not in the numbers they did in 2008. If I wasn’t so interested in politics, and so against whatever republican runs against him, I wouldn’t vote for him or at all this year. Most of my friends who did vote for him do feel played by him and will not bother to vote. And now he wants to cut the corporate tax rate, which might not be a bad thing if he closes loopholes and it increases the overall revenue generated from corporations, but I have a feeling by the time that proposal gets through congress it will be all cuts to the rate and no loopholes will be closed.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately there appears to have been a lot of success by the GOP to manipulate the Millennials.  The whole goal of the GOP has been to prevent the President from getting ANYTHING accomplished so that his 2008 supporters will stay away from the polls in 2012.  That will then help the GOP candidate and potentially allow the GOP to completely destroy everything Obama has accomplished AND do even more damage to the hopes of the Millennials.  I strongly recommend that they do a serious review of all the things President Obama HAS accomplished since the media will never present them with that information.  The media only focuses on whatever is negative right this very moment.  Millennials should then consider that rather significant accomplishment list against the efforts by the GOP to block anything and everything in order to dishearten the Millennials as much as possible.  The Millennials should also seriously consider how much damage Romney, the Wall Street job destroying insider, will likely do to the goals of Millennials.  The GOP is ALREADY doing everything they possibly can to destroy the regulations Obama fought to place on Wall Street.  With Mr. Mitt “Wall Street Insider” Romney in the White House, you can be assured that Wall Street will be continuing to use YOUR economy as THEIR gambling play toy for years to come.

  • Betty, Obama supporter

    Why?  Because the alternative is so unthinkable!

  • Charlie Branch

    Closed primaries in a number of states will serve to perpetuate the exclusionary nature of the two-party system.  When I had Civics class, we were taught that the system of elections was designed to develop and change the party and candidate platforms, as was the legislative process, to meld the best ideas into legislation and candidates.  As Gerry Spence argues, we have lost the ability to argue in this country, as it has all generated into positions of the extremes.  For example, “A liberal, a moderate, and a conservative walk into a bar.  The bartender says, ‘Hi, Mitt!'”  We need to forget labels and be willing to listening to other viewpoints beyond our own chorus, and be willing to change to accept the best in rational, not emotional, discourse.