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Clinton Campaign Pushes to Secure Youth Vote

Associated Press

This week’s Democratic National Convention clearly addressed a variety of people, but when it comes to political strategy, some are more important than others. For the election of Hillary Clinton, the party is moving aggressively to reach them.

Already, the Democratic Party has composed a song, clearly aimed at demographic groups that could provide the margin of victory in November. Page Gardner is President of a PAC called Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote Action Fund.

“They’re unmarried women, people of color and young voters under the age of 35. We call them the rising American electorate. They’re a majority of the voting eligible population but not yet the majority of those who vote.”

She says those groups are progressive in their values. Many are struggling financially, making issues like a hike in the minimum wage and mandatory paid sick leave especially important. They’re ethnically diverse and are offended by bigotry.

“They’re more secular, and they understand the importance of tolerance.”

Which is why the convention stage has been filled with people of all colors – many young, and many women.

“Hi. I’m Lena Dunham, and according to Donald Trump, my body is probably like a two.”

“I’m America Ferrera, and according to Donald Trump, I’m probably a rapist.”

“But America, you’re not Mexican!”

“And President Obama’s not Kenyan, but that doesn’t stop Donald Trump.”

Thirty-five-year-old Atima Omara, a native of Richmond, loved the celebrities, the music and the look of ads which could have been produced for Apple. They’re fresh and lacking in pretense.

“We tend to be suspicious of media that can be very heavily marketed and targeted. In the same vein, we do like people attempting to use media that we respond to to reach out to us, so if  the campaign has taken the time to learn Snapchat and Instagram and Tumblr where we communicate a lot, that’s where to find us and engage us.”

28-year-old Danielle Simms hails from Lynchburg. Now the National Committeewoman for Virginia Young Democrats, she thinks millennials will reject Donald Trump.

“Ridiculing women, minorities, people with disabilities and Hillary Clinton has been an advocate for those issues. It’s not very hard to choose who is the better of the two.”

And 17-year-old Graham Weinschenk, who will be old enough to vote by Election Day, echoed former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who said Clinton had the experience and perspective to do the job.

“She understands that this is reality and not reality TV. Donald Trump has zero political experience.”

No one knows how readily young supporters of Bernie Sanders will make the switch. They frequently disrupted the convention to chant against war, the Trans Pacific Partnership and Hillary Clinton, but Virginia’s Democratic Party Chair Susan Swecker believes they will come around.

“Look I get it. I was for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and it hurts to lose, but I think in the end everybody will understand what the stakes are.”

And, in the meantime, the party will be working hard to register new voters and Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote plans a massive mailing to target groups – hoping to ensure that those most likely to vote for Democrats will be able to cast ballots on November 8.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief
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