Crossroads Generation, a new Republican-leaning Super PAC, hopes to convince the two-thirds of young Americans who bought into President Obama’s message of “hope and change” in 2008 that his policies have failed and to present a conservative alternative.
The group has posted a series of videos on its website making the case for how the president’s policies have made it difficult for millions of young people to find jobs after college and how it has caused many to have to move back in with their parents.
At the same time, young people have become burdened by $1 trillion in student-loan debt – 2/3 of which is held by those under the age of 30.
“Many young people were very optimistic when they voted for Obama in 2008,” said Kristen Soltis, a communications adviser to the organization. “Obama was sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’ candidate.’”
Young people thought that Obama would make Washington run “flawlessly” and that the economy would improve but have since soured as the president’s policies have failed to deliver the desired results, according to Soltis.
The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone notes that young people are less engaged than they were four years ago and that only 41 percent supported his policies as of the end of April. This is significant considering that over 60 percent of young Americans voted for Obama in 2008.
“Obama has not won all of the young voters this time. They are frustrated with the economy,” Soltis said. “We plan to ask, ‘Do you think Obama’s presidency has lived up to your expectations?’”
Crossroads Generation plans to spend $50,000 buying online ads targeted in at young swing voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia in a bid to tap into the younger generation’s disillusionment with the president’s policies.
The Super PAC is a joint venture between the College Republican National Committee, the Republican State Leadership Committee and former Bush adviser Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads. It is being funded by start-up grants from the three groups to the tune of $750,000.
According to Soltis, Crossroads Generation has a long-term vision for getting young Americans who might not consider themselves Republicans to vote for GOP candidates. It hopes to convince them that the ideas of limited government, economic opportunity and individual liberty offer them the best opportunity for the future rather than the government dependency offered by the Democrats.
“Government solutions are not the best solutions,” Soltis said. “The goal here is not just to win votes in an election but to bring my generation around to conservative policies.”
Young Americans tend to develop a lifelong voting pattern with their first election, and Soltis hopes to warm today’s younger generation to the idea of voting Republican.
The last time the GOP had a strong outreach to young Americans was during the Reagan era and resulted in the emergence of Gen-Xers as the most Republican demographic in America today, according to the Pew Research Center.
Soltis is game for a repeat for her generation.