The grassroots group Let Freedom Ring (LFR) owns the domain for studentsforobama.org and is using it as a last minute push to lead student voters away from President Barack Obama in the week leading up to the election.
Clemson University student John Paul Cassil sequestered the website from the Obama campaign in early October, by buying up the domain before Obama’s campaign was able to get to it.
He is now working as an activist with LFR to convince college students that Obama does not have their best interests at heart.
“We hope to gain as large of a movement as possible,” said Cassil in an interview. “Obviously, the domain name is attention-grabbing. We’ve had numerous people visit the website trying to get to the Obama campaign’s website who get to see why their peers have awakened to his failures.”
The website opens with a personal video of a young man who says he voted for Obama in 2008 because of his charisma and energy but will no longer be supporting him because he has seen no economic improvements in either his life or the life of his friends.
The website then asks you to click “continue” and the viewer is immediately re-directed to a website called “Students ‘No Longer’ For Obama.”
“In the past four years, we have changed. We once supported President Obama. Obama made many good promises. Obama seemed non-partisan and willing to bring about change. He was charismatic. We were excited to see what would come of his administration,” the website text reads. “Sadly, Obama has failed us, instituting policies that have negatively affected us.”
Studentsnolongerforobama.com features three videos of testimony from students who said they voted for Obama in the past but no longer will support him in 2012.
“President Obama’s record is terrible, and students have noticed,” said Cassil. “Instead of bringing about that Hope and Change for a better life, he’s destroyed our chances of good careers. This administration is a roadblock in student’s career paths.”
LFR is asking more non-Obama supporters to send their stories in in video format and is even offering a $2500 prize for the best video.
Cassil is using social media and the draw of 15 awards of $500 or more in order to attract young people to the site and make a difference in the election.
He is sure students will act once they realize how important this election will be for their careers and the rest of their lives.
“Students, especially, have other concerns on their plate,” Cassil said. “They don’t have time for activism if a major test is due. However, once they realize that it is directly affecting them, their pocketbooks, and their careers, then they feel compelled to act.”
So far, with such a short period of time it has only been able to collect four videos and there are only six days left.
It is too early to tell whether their last minute efforts to turn students against Obama will have any affect at all on the election.