Election season is here, and that means President Obama will be skipping out on more national security briefings so he can hobnob with Democratic fat cats. Friday’s presidential schedule includes a Democratic National Committee event at a California millionaire’s home, a quick announcement that the mountains around Los Angeles have been nationalized, and a trip to San Francisco for a fundraising party at the W Hotel.
Before returning Saturday, Mr. Obama will meet behind closed doors with the 25 donors who signed the biggest checks. Campaigning with the younger, poorer generation is left to surrogates, such as Rock the Vote, an outfit that was big in the 1990s but has lately fallen into obscurity, if not irrelevancy.
Ashley Spillane, the organization’s new president, is determined to put the Rock the Vote back on the political radar. Ostensibly, this is a nonpartisan effort to register the estimated 86 million millennials — those born after the 1980s — to vote.
Rock the Vote uses slick marketing and celebrity endorsements to lure easily molded young minds into the voting booths. They’re after the types who know everything about Kim Kardashian but have never heard of Nancy Pelosi.
Of course, Ms. Spillane says otherwise. “We’re not looking to add a bunch of non-serious voters to our numbers,” she insisted in a recent interview with The Hill, a Capitol Hill daily. “We are running a very serious program … to help us engage people to let them know how important it is to show up [on Election Day].”
That’s about as credible as the claim that Rock the Vote is nonpartisan. The White House is stocked with Rock the Vote alumni. Mr. Obama tapped Fred Goldring, who formerly headed Rock the Vote’s board of directors, to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Matt Teper, who used to write copy for the Rock the Vote website, was chosen to write copy for Vice President Joe Biden.
Ms. Spillane’s partisan bona fides are equally impressive. She was an Ohio field organizer for the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket of John F. Kerry and John Edwards. She more recently worked on the Atlas Project, a massive campaign database designed to “put progressives on the road to victory.”
Rock the Vote’s latest music video confirms that the only thing “very serious” about Rock the Vote is its commitment to a liberal agenda. Rapper Lil Jon heads the production, with cameo appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, a liberal co-host of “The View,” and Lena Dunham, the “reproductive rights” activist star of HBO’s “Girls,” among others. Each promotes an issue close to the hearts of liberals, including homosexual marriage, abortion, global warming, gun control and the legalization of marijuana.
Strikingly missing is any mention of what the gaffe-prone vice president once described as “a three-letter word” — jobs. For that, millennials would be best served to hook up not with Rock the Vote, but with groups like Generation Opportunity, which promotes an alternative agenda for millennials, one from the right perspective.
The Arlington-based organization seeks to register young voters and promote free-market-based solutions to the problem of high unemployment that has forced one-third of young adults to move back in with their parents. They also want to get rid of Obamacare, which forces the young to pay up to three times more for health care so that the elderly can receive greater subsidies.
Evan Feinberg, 30, who became president of Generation Opportunity in August, thinks the administration’s policy failures will hinder the Democratic voter drive. “Young people are much more up for grabs than they think,” he says of Rock the Vote. For millennials’ own sake, and for the country’s, one can only hope.