Millennial politics: Which candidate has done the best job at appealing to young voters?

Millennial politics: Which candidate has done the best job at appealing to young voters?

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L-R: Kelsey Brewer, Mary Perez, Sarah Hill

Whether you’re a political newcomer or no stranger to the polls, this year’s race to the White House is hard to ignore.

Hillary Clinton leads the pack for the Democrats, with Bernie Sanders still in the contest. For the Republicans,  Donald Trump, the longtime frontrunner, continues to command attention. 

Regardless of party, all of the candidates are trying to find ways to appeal to Millennials; for the first time, Generation Y will make up the same proportion of the voting population as Baby Boomers.

So who’s doing the best job of appealing to the Millennial voting bloc?

Take Two put that question to three guests:

  • Kelsey Brewer, political science major at Cal State Fullerton and student trustee to the Cal State System
  • Mary Perez, political science major at USC and vice president-elect for the USC GOP
  • Sarah Hill, associate professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton
Kelsey Brewer

“I think [there has] been — on both sides of the aisle — a little bit of pandering. And I don’t use that in a negative connotation. I think that millennials have been engaged and are going to be the largest voting block and so that’s forcing candidates to begin to speak to issues that impact millennial voters. I think they’ve gone about it in different ways. I think the success of Barack Obama’s campaign both in 2008 and 2012 is that he was a pioneer in the way that social media was used to reach out to voters, and I don’t think that anyone in this election has been able to rise to that level of engagement from youth voters, at least with respect to social media.”

Mary Perez

 “There are three words that I like to say about the Republican Party: divisive, angry, and unsure of where to go next. My friends, my peers, other politicos, are afraid of what’s going to happen in the next few years. You know, we had the McCain loss and then Romney, and I think you see the separation and divide of the Republican Party. Now [the establishment] is now saying, ‘we’re going to rally behind Ted Cruz because we absolutely don’t want Donald J. Trump to be our nominee. And that’s something that I never thought that I would see.”

Sarah Hill

“When I was in college, we had the 2000 presidential election, and I think [today it’s] very similar. Today you have some students who are highly engaged. Probably most millennials I see are aware and sort of know, but they don’t know detailed information. They don’t understand nuances. And I think that’s what I saw back in the day. The biggest change would be social media — those who are involved definitely use it like crazy, and we didn’t have that in 2000. But I think the level of information isn’t all that different.”

Press the blue play button above to hear the panel.