In a phone call with college journalists on Monday, President Obama began attempting to galvanize youth voters, many of whom supported him in 2008 but seem unlikely to rally around the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
"Back in 2008, a lot of young people got involved in my campaign because they … generally felt that we needed to bring about fundamental changes in how we operate," said Obama. "And this is all before the financial crisis. And I think lot of people felt our campaign gave them a vehicle to get engaged and involved in shaping this country over the long term."
Acknowledging that some of the changes on which he'd campaigned had yet to surface — "A lot of old politics is still operating in Washington" — Obama told the young people that frustration was not an excuse not to be vigilant about the political process. "You can't sit it out," he said. "You can't suddenly just check in once every 10 years or so on an exciting presidential election and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we have a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans. … That is a big choice. That has big consequences."
Despite his pleas, it seems unlikely that Obama’s speechmaking will make much difference. A Gallup poll from September showed that the number of young voters who have devoted "quite a lot" of thought to the November election has dropped 56 points since November of 2008, when Obama was elected president.
What a difference two years makes.
—Cord Jefferson is a staff writer at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.