With only nine electoral votes, Colorado is not the largest of swing states. However, we are one of the competitive states and are viewed as vital by both campaigns. According to a published study by National Journal Magazine, the candidates and Super Pacs spent $2.8 million on television ads in Colorado between April 10 and May 29.
During the 2008 elections, my grandson Jason was 16 and planned on going to Colorado State University (CSU) upon high school graduation. His friends were making similar college plans. When my grandson asked which candidate I was voting for I said McCain. Hearing that he became agitated ("you have to vote for Obama! He’s going to do all these great things -- like help young people like me. We need his help so we can afford college. He’ll make a great president. If I could vote – I’d vote for him.” My response: “If Obama gets elected – talk to me once you're in college.” He has. Fast forward to 2012: Same grandson, same friends but also dramatically changed. Why? Harsh reality.
Now 20 years old, Jason and friends are entering their third year of college. The man they supported with relentless support has proven a disappointment for them. These young students walk the halls and sit in classrooms at CSU older, wiser, poorer, and less optimistic. They talk of increased tuition rates. They feel betrayed. Obama’s concern for tuition rates and opportunities for children of illegal immigrants rather than those who supported him leave them angry.
I recently asked Jason if Obama has his vote. He took a deep breath, smirked, and replied in a highly cynical tone: “OH Yeah! Obama. What a joke! So much for affordable education! My friends and me are like SO Pissed!! These young hopeful students have seen the face of Hope and Change and feel betrayed. However, other young voters -- mostly in their late 20’s -- do support Obama. They think the president inherited most of his problems from Bush, and that the bailouts were necessary. For them, Obama is doing a really good job, and he just needs help and support from congress, the states, and the people -- "who have been fighting him every step of the way. “They view Obama’s health care reform as being less costly and saving people money. Asked about cost, penalties and inability to pay -- their responses are vague and indirect. At that point, they loose me.
My Personal Experience:
2008: I worked with the City & County of Denver Voter Registration and electric energy was in the air from both workers and voter alike. For the first time in American history a black man was on the ballot. Posters and outdoor ads were not prominent in Denver. However, in the college town of Fort Collins, home of CSU there was an overwhelming proliferation of outdoor ads displaying Obama and his messages of "Hope and Change." People talked openly and supportively of him. The youth particularly considered him the answer to their prayers of moving forward. They trusted him. We know how that played out.
2012: Posters, outpouring of verbal support, and the electric energy both in Ft. Collins and Denver for Obama are gone. The clamor of young people talking endlessly about him is absent. The air no longer vibrates with energy. Instead, it hovers like stale air in a closed room where smokers have been. The bearer of "Hope and Change" has failed them.
Obama's negative ads portray him in the negative light of constant bashing, blaming, and ungrounded accusations. Romney's ads use Obama's own statements and abysmal record. Grounded in fact. Coloradoans notice some dissatisfaction in the minority community. However, the majority of those contacted seem to feel disillusioned with the entire electoral system. The feeling of complacency has set in. The general feeling is, no matter who is elected change will follow only for those connected to politics.
Disillusioned by the political system, fear for the foreseeable future is paramount on everyone’s mind. They do not know who to believe and look to the election with apprehension. Our American way of life and our freedoms of choice are continually being stripped by a president, the government, and greed.
Many are not satisfied with Obama. They see the press on his side no matter what he does. But Romney himself presents few, if any, comments or constructive ideas. The people of Colorado are waiting in anticipation for counter ads questioning Obama’s authority and true character. NO ONE ASKS – NOT EVEN ROMNEY! Romney needs to be a larger presence than Obama.
Many, including myself, believe the outcome has already been determined. Obama favors big government, banks and Wall Street. Popular opinion: Those in power hold onto power. How people vote does not matter. We hope we are wrong.