Can Hillary Win The Millenials?

by William Teach | April 16, 2015 8:00 am

Obviously we are a long, long, long (long, long) way out from November 2016, and few will truly be paying attention to the presidential race on either side till, at best, early 2016, other than serious political wonks. Even then, it seems that few pay attention more than at the periphery, being interested more in the cult of personality rather than actual policy, experience, and capabilities. However, now is the time for candidates to start positioning themselves for certain groups. How about for #BoredGrandma? The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard[1] discusses

Hillary Clinton may be one of the most famous people in the world, and most people have already decided whether her chance to become our first woman president tops everything else they know of her. But there is a pocket of the electorate left for her to penetrate. Millennials, particularly young women, don’t know Clinton — and they could make or break her.

Young voters, between the ages of 18 and 34, can be just as excited as older voters about finally turning the White House over to a female president. If they support her in strong numbers, they can help her make history. But if they sit out the 2016 election, they could instead help the GOP get the White House back.

On one hand, she wonders about the turnout by Blacks, who obviously turned out in huge numbers for Obama (btw, considering the unemployment rate for Blacks and supposed increase in racism, how’s that working out?). And the reachout to women will be there. But….

Reaching millennials will be no simple task. The young tend to be apathetic about politics and intentionally tune out the process. They watched their parents weather the recession, are drowning in student loan debt and lack social trust. And the faith they placed in Obama wasn’t answered — his approval numbers among them continue to deteriorate.

What poll after poll shows is that millennials are hard to pin down. Between their conflicting views — a small government but an active one, for example — and their distance from the process, they are no easy get.

So while debates over equal pay, student loan debt and income inequality are likely to interest them, policy proposals might not be enough. Capturing the attention of millennials was easier for the Obama campaign in 2008 and again in 2012. Clinton will undoubtedly have just as formidable a presence on the most updated social media platforms, but style often trumps substance. Obama wasn’t just historic, he was new and culturally literate and hip. He oozed confidence and calm. He could not only make a joke, the kids knew he got the joke. Clinton is often wooden and nice, as grandmothers are — grandmothers aren’t exciting or cool.

#BoredGrandma will also have to deal with the notion that Obama and the Democrats failed the millennials. Obama and theDems pandered to them, and what, exactly, did they get? High unemployment, low opportunities for good paying jobs, a massive increase in the low paying jobs market, massive student loan debt, record numbers back home living with their parents, etc and so on.

Voters under 35 are also digital natives who are globally connected and community oriented, and who expect a transparent government. An undecided millennial voter is likely more persuaded by Clinton’s removal and destruction of government property through her private email server than a 50-year-old voter who has grown up watching the Clintons. Brianna Langdon, a 20-year-old from Iowa, told The New York Times she only really knew about Clinton from watching “Saturday Night Live” and that “they portray her as all about herself.” Landon hoped Clinton would prove that wrong.

I think we can say with confidence that Hillary, if she ends up being the Democratic candidate, and whoever wins the GOP primary will easily both get about 40 to 45% of the vote, leaving that 10-20% up for grabs. Both sides will have their interest groups out in force. What will make or break the candidates will be over who doesn’t show up. In Hillary’s case, she might lose some women over the serial misogyny by Bill Clinton, as well as the sexual assault and rape claims, all of which Hillary defended. If she plays the #LadyParts gag, that might not work out too well (see Mark “Uterus” Udall), especially being a #BoredGrandma.

The biggest question will be the Millenials. Getting those Millenials will be important; getting them out to actually vote will be a nightmare. Especially if a young, dynamic Republican, like Cruz, Rubio, or Paul can capture a big segment. Time will tell.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[2]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[3].

  1. The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard:
  2. Pirate’s Cove:
  3. @WilliamTeach:

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