In 2008, Barack Obama captured the young voters of America, winning 66% of their vote against an aged and decrepit John McCain. Then, four years later, against a much younger and youthful looking Mitt Romney, Obama managed to pull in 60% of the youth vote (identified as 18-26 years old). This year, neither candidate has done well in the primaries winning the youth vote. Bernie Sanders took it hands down over Hillary in the Democrats’ primary, and it was split between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the GOP.
But in the general election, the battle is on for these Millennials. And so far, it would appear that Trump is beating Clinton. Hillary spoke at Penn State University this past week, and while she got a decent crowd of a few hundred (versus the crowd of 130 that saw her at Temple University in Philadelphia), she didn’t “wow” any of them. Even ardent Democrats are not excited about coming out for Hillary this year.
So, what’s the reason behind the lack of enthusiasm. It’s exactly what you might think it is…trust. Most think she’s slimy; most think she’s a liar and you can’t trust what she says; and most think she’s talking too much about Donald Trump and not about the ideas that they want to hear. And most Millennials want to do one of three things: give Donald Trump a serious look, give a serious look at Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, or stay home and not vote. The third option is what most of them are leaning toward.
So it doesn’t look like the young vote is going to be much of a factor this year. Now, that all can change. Everybody is talking about how important the debate is going to be tomorrow night, and it should be interesting. But I don’t think this younger group of people are going to sit still and listen to two 70-somethings (alright…Hillary’s going to be 69) argue with each other. They don’t like government and politics to begin with, and this isn’t going to necessarily light a fire under them. But if there were a major faux pas somewhere by one of the two (and it certainly could happen with these two!), then all bets would be off.
The problem is, Millennials are not wanting to hear what Hillary is most likely to do…which is to demonize Trump to elevate herself. They want to hear the issues. They want to hear the candidates’ solutions to the country’s problems, and they want to know why Hillary wants to extend the Obama term by continuing his policies when they don’t feel those policies have been working for them. They also want Trump to come up with some specifics. He’s very good at saying stuff like, “We’re going to build a wall and we’re going to make Mexico pay for it.” But he has never said HOW he’s going to make Mexico pay for it. I don’t think sending the repo man to Mexico City is quite what these young kids had in mind.
It will be an interesting debate tomorrow, and an interesting election. But without Millennials behind her, Hillary is going to have to do something in order to make it happen!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!