What went wrong? The president and his aides failed to keep his youth movement engaged. But part of the problem also is the inability of the millennial generation to remain attached to a cause. The generation that brought Obama to power is connected online but has no loyalty to institutions — including, it turns out, the Obama White House.
Either way, when everything goes to hell in November, Milbank's got his bases covered on blame. It's those damn kids, but also That Damn President.
Young voters, after playing a big role in the campaign, became little more than an e-mail list for the White House and Obama’s Organizing for Action group. Then came health-care reform. The millennials, very liberal overall, saw Obama’s plan as too timid; they were disillusioned by his failure to fight for the “public option” of government-run health plans.
This cost Obama the young activists he would need to rally enrollment in Obamacare. Polling by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that, while the generation looks more favorably on big-government solutions than do older generations, the millennials disapprove of Obamacare in the same proportion as the rest of the population.
Even if Obama had worked harder to keep his youth army engaged, it’s not entirely clear that the effort would have succeeded. As a group, the generation’s attachment is fickle.
We didn't get the public option, so apparently the Millennials have all turned into libertarian dudebros who will back the GOP now. If they even vote at all, because CRUSHING ENNUI.
The millennials are at least as passionate as earlier generations and more entrepreneurial, but they lack ties to institutions — unions, political parties, churches — because of their online existence. “The organizational structure they’re growing up in is so weak,” Tufts’ Levine tells me. As a result, “there aren’t very many durable institutions that can capitalize on their enthusiasm. They’re being asked to do it themselves, online, and it’s a tall order.”
It's the internet's fault, really.