Obama’s Cool Factor Plummets With Millennials

Hope voters at 18, unemployed college grads at 22.

The frat bros next door draped a bed sheet from their fraternity house with Obama Is a GDI inked in spray paint. Greek translation: Obama is a goddamn independent. The President was visiting Penn State last spring to tout a new environmental package. The bros weren’t amused. Don’t confuse a GDI with political independents. They couldn’t be more different. In Greek life, a GDI refers to someone not cool enough to be in a fraternity.

“The last election was about hope,” my fraternity buddy Quinn Donahue, who is still undecided, tells me. “This is an election of fear.” I’m still undecided, but I’m sensing a striking contrast for millennials who, four years ago, chugged the Kool-Aid that Obama fed us. I remember skipping high school just to hear him speak. He was a rock star. How did President Barack Obama become so uncool?

Health Care: You know what 20-somethings want? Financial independence. You know what we don’t want? Controlling parents. Letting us stay on our parents’ health care plans until we’re 26 prolongs our adolescence. (And adds another financial burden to our struggling parents.) “I’m concerned he isn’t willing to stand up to wild-eyed conservatives,” says Spencer Malloy, 21, from the Philly ‘burbs. “He seems to bend over backward just to get things passed that ultimately don’t have staying power—like Obamacare.” Malloy voted for Obama four years ago; now he’s undecided.

The Economy: I played trivia at a Delco bar the other night. The question: Which president famously said, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The answer: Ronald Reagan. The answer now: We’re worse. While the national unemployment number hovers at about eight percent, millennials’ unemployment rate is nearly double that, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

Student Debt: The average student graduating from college has a record-breaking $25,000 in debt, according to Project on Student Debt. “Obama hasn’t focused enough on higher education,” says Sadie Stellfox, 19, from Pittsburgh. And while President Obama signed legislation that eases the burden of paying student loans, it’s a good first step that doesn’t go far enough. It does little to help older Americans who decide to attend college in their twenties.

National Security: Luckily, he had help here. Hillary isn’t a sorority girl. She’s a a no-nonsense house mother who turns frat bros into fraternity men. Barack? He’s the freshmen pledge frats take to boost their GPA average. He joined for Greek mythology. Frat bros join for toga parties.

Penn Staters elected a new student government president last week. Courtney Lennartz was crowned president of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), but only because she secured the fraternities’ endorsement. No UPUA president has won without it, despite minority organizations endorsing other candidates. You can’t win an election without the frat bros.

Many millennials will ultimately turn back to Rock Star Obama, but unfortunately for President Obama, some frat bros never grow up. I went to Bruce Springsteen last week. There was beer, babes and loud music. I was at a grown-up fraternity party. Who cares if it’s an Etch-a-Sketched brilliant disguise? Governor Mitt Romney was born to run.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • peter1

    While we aren’t better off than we were four years ago (April 2008, before the economy collapsed), we’re CONSIDERABLY better off than when Obama took office (January 2009). Unemployment rates skyrocketed during the final eight months of the Bush Presidency and peaked nine months into Obama’s Presidency. It’s now back down to the levels of when Obama took office, and has been trending downward for the better part of a year. Our unemployment rate is about 2.5% less than Europe’s, whose own woes have helped to stagnate our recovery. The Dow Jones average is up close to 70% since Obama took office. As far as being able to stay on your parents’ policy until you’re 26, that means you can go to grad school, med school, or law school and remain on your parents’ policy before you get into the work force. And for those younger people who can’t find work, being able to see a doctor at a reasonable price or be covered in the case of an accident should be a Godsend. And FYI, most employer health plans don’t charge additionally (or very much) to include children on the policy. Spread the word to the bros…

  • dave33

    Im pretty confused about this whole article. You fail to mention the reluctance of congress to pass anything that is from President Obama concerning most of the things you brought up (not doubling student loans). Also financial independence is something all college grads want, how is private health care going to help that? I wish you could explain in more detail about national security, if killing the man we had been looking 10 years for is for guys who like greek mythology than have fun at your toga parties. The idea that frat bros win elections is very narrow minded, the world doesnt revolve around your formals or daylongs. Frat bros are part of an important youth demographic but do not represent the entire population. Ask the hipsters, computer nerds, and jocks before representing an entire generation. But I guess that would mean accepting the fact the world is bigger than your fraternity house.