We’re still 10 months away from the 2012 elections, but the traditional circus of candidate groveling is well underway. The candidates are all hoping to capture a piece of the college student demographic: a cache of young and impressionable voters still untapped.
The six big names in the Republican primary have most of the nation’s attention right now, including the collegiate population. What they shouldn’t have is our support. The idealists among contemporary college students stand to gain much more via the Democratic vote, or at least the liberal one.
Consider the issues. As college students, two of our biggest election priorities should be unwavering support for education and lower taxes for when we go out into the world to scrape a living off our entry-level jobs. A liberal platform offers these benefits.
A Republican will not be spearheading a budget that’s generous to student loans and scant on defense spending.
Instead of generating ideas on education, current Republican favorite Mitt Romney is advocating a fence along the southern border to keep illegal immigrants out.
Despite an approval rating of 46 percent according to the most recent Gallup poll, President Barack Obama retains the potential for a successful second term.
Imagine Obama’s first term was a bit like his freshman year: a learning experience. He took office during a hostile and unfamiliar environment — a nation in dire straits — and had to focus on economic stabilization rather than a full-blown rescue mission. He ran into some big problems — the health care fiasco, for one — but he also did some undeniably good work, such as the capture of Osama bin Laden and the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell.
Putting a young, relatively inexperienced candidate like Obama into office works like an investment. Maybe everything the candidate stands for — a reinvigoration of the nation, fresh ideas, change — explodes into the picture early on. Or maybe the candidate inherits simultaneous social, economic, and military crises and has to slog through a rough boot camp. Term two could very well be when all the insight gained during that time produces just the president we were looking for.
Obama, as well as other liberal candidates who will be running independently, simply have more presidential clout: They respect the citizens of this country. We, as the up-and-coming heirs to the professional and political world, cannot underestimate the importance of an executive demonstrating concern for equal rights — across class, gender, race, sexual orientation and physical capability.
Such concern guarantees true respect of the people by its government, an essential tenet of democracy. For these issues and for the ways in which conservatism threatens to set back our country, college students should vote for the liberal side this November.
Francesca Bessey is a freshman majoring in narrative studies. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.
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