Election 2014: Obama woos Millennials at 'tech incubator'

Young adults are critical to Democrats' chances in Nov. 4 midterms. President Obama will acknowledge their job and student-debt woes, while touting gains in health coverage and employment. 

Carolyn Kaster/AP
President Barack Obama smiles as he walks from the Oval Office and across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., before traveling to New York.

President Obama reaches out Thursday to young voters, a key demographic for Democrats in next month’s midterm elections.

The president is speaking in mid-afternoon at a Los Angeles-area tech company. He will highlight “the important economic progress our country has made and one generation in particular – Millennials – who will shape our economy for decades to come,” according to White House press guidance.

“Millennials” are those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, a cohort that is the most diverse, educated, and tech-savvy in American history. But many Millennials are also saddled with student debt and faced bleak job prospects when they entered the workforce during the recession that began in late 2007.

A study by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics last spring showed that fewer than one-quarter (23 percent) of 18- to 29-year-olds say they will “definitely be voting” in November, down from 34 percent late last year. The poll also found that 44 percent of young people who voted for Republican Mitt Romney for president in 2012 “definitely” plan to vote, versus only 35 percent of young Obama voters.

Obama will be speaking at so-called “tech incubator” Cross Campus in Santa Monica, Calif., which the White House describes as “a collaborative space that brings together freelancers, creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalist-funded startup teams.”

Obama plans to make the case for progress made during his administration, while also acknowledging the challenges young adults have faced as they entered the workforce during trying economic times, according to news reports.

Last week, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers put out a 49-page report called “15 Economic Facts About Millennials.”

“Their early adult lives have been shaped by the experience of establishing their careers at a time when economic opportunities are relatively scarce,” the report says. “Today, although the economy is well into its recovery, the recession still affects lives of Millennials and will likely continue to do so for years to come.”

Millennial unemployment is at 8.6 percent, higher than the September jobless figure of 5.9 percent for the American population as a whole, but declining as the economy recovers.

One point the president is expected to tout Thursday is the popular provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health plan. In addition, young adults with low income, and not covered by their parents, have been getting subsidies under the ACA to purchase coverage.

Between 2010 and the first quarter of 2014, the uninsurance rate among people aged 19 to 25 fell by 13.2 percentage points, a 40 percent decline, the White House report says.

Like the Democrats, conservatives are investing in outreach to young voters. This week the political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity launched a six-figure initiative aimed at Millennials. The campaign, called Defending Your Dream, is operating in states where Democrats are fighting to hold onto vulnerable Senate seats: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take over the Senate. 

While in Los Angeles, Obama also will appear at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at a private residence. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.