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Axelrod: Voter Apathy Led Us Into Iraq

So if the war in Iraq was simply a matter of voter apathy, what does that say about voter “enthusiasm” in 2008? We’re still in Iraq, and likely to remain there past the January 2012 deadline President Obama set during his campaign. And yet Americans aren’t concerned about that – they’re far more worried about the economy.

David Axelrod’s outreach to the anti-war movement during an interview with the Harvard Crimson might also be slightly less ridiculous if movement leaders weren’t calling for Obama’s arrest for “war crimes”:

[Harvard Crimson]: If you look at students at this stage during the last election, people were a little more riled up. There is a certain amount of apathy around college campuses. Is it troubling to you?

[Axelrod]: Obviously we need to organize all over the country, but my admonition to students is to get involved because there is so much at stake, and [students] have more at stake than anyone else. We’ve had other periods of apathy in our country. There was apathy in 2000, and Al Gore lost that election to George W. Bush by 300 votes, and as a result we wound up in Iraq …[and] we took a big step back in terms of climate change. Much of the world would have been different had that election gone the other way.

Axelrod is right to worry about young voter apathy in 2012. But he ignores what’s causing it. Obama reneged on many of the left-wing policies he promised during his campaign – and his economic policies have been flops, with detrimental impacts on young voters.

Sure, young people are more likely to lean left. But if they can’t trust Obama to make good on his promises, they’re more likely to back a third-party candidate or simply stay home on Election Day. Not to mention, a plurality of young voters disapprove of the president’s economic policies. That’s the reason for the disillusionment, and it’s why the GOP sees a prime opportunity to court more moderate youth voters for the next election.



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