Millennial turnout may be deciding factor in Clinton-Trump contest
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As the polls opened across America this morning, the presidential election is neck and neck. Critical battleground states including Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, are all toss ups at this point.

It’s all going to come down to turnout: which candidate can better mobilize their base? Herein lies Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTexas Supreme Court rejects Alex Jones request to toss lawsuits from Sandy Hook parents Paris Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing Samantha Power's Herculean task: Turning a screw with a rubber screwdriver MORE’s problem, particularly when it comes to millennial voters. Ironically, the same young voters who turned out in record numbers to propel President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTom Brokaw retiring from NBC News after 55 years Obama remembers baseball legend Hank Aaron as 'one of the strongest people I've ever met' Baseball legend Hank Aaron dies at 86 MORE to victory in 2008 and again in 2012 could keep Clinton from the White House.

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There are about 70 million millennials who are eligible to vote, meaning they could make up the nation’s largest voting bloc. With the race against Trump being razor thin, Clinton is depending on young voters to turnout for her like they did for Obama.  
 
Young voters were excited to go cast ballots for Obama because they viewed him as an authentic candidate who represented hope and change. But Clinton is largely viewed as the opposite of those things: an entrenched, untrustworthy candidate who represents more of the same in Washington, D.C.
 
Make no mistake: millennials overwhelmingly prefer Clinton to Donald Trump. But her problem is that these voters are not enthusiastic about her. And unenthusiastic voters are less likely to spend time and effort voting on Election Day.Nearly half of millennials consider themselves political independents, with no allegiance to any political party. Additionally, three in four millennials don’t trust the federal government to do the right thing. This sets a bleak stage for Clinton — a career politician with strong ties to the establishment wing of the Democratic Party — to energize the youth vote.  

Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment Sanders selling sweatshirts with his famous inauguration pose for charity Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' MORE’ status as a progressive “outsider” is largely what made him so appealing to millennials. In many states, Sanders got more millennial votes than Trump and Clinton combined.

Although Sanders eventually endorsed Clinton after dropping out of the race, the damage may have already been done by that point. During the Vermont Senator’s lengthy campaign, he drove many of his supporters to the left and hammered Clinton for her ties to Wall Street.

Making matters worse for Clinton, two thirds of Sanders’ supporters feel the DNC rigged the Democratic primary in her favor. It isn’t hard to see why. The popular vote during the primary was tight: Sanders received 12 million votes, while Clinton received 15.8 million. Yet Clinton received 602 votes from Superdelegates, DNC insiders who can vote for either candidate regardless of the voters’ will, while Sanders only received 48.  

Most of Sanders’ former supporters now support Clinton, but not passionately so.

Perhaps the biggest thorn in Clinton’s side when it comes to turning out the youth vote is that 77 percent of voters aged 18-34 find her untrustworthy (compared to 65 percent of all voters).

It doesn’t help that her scandals have been top headlines over the last several weeks. FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the investigation into her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State was being reopened only reminded voters of their fears that Clinton is dishonest. Comey’s subsequent announcement, in which he stated that Clinton won’t face charges, did not undo that damage; it merely kept Clinton’s dirty laundry on the front pages.  

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that some percentage of the youth vote will, at the last minute, decide they are so dissatisfied with both Trump and Hillary that they’ll cast their ballot for a third party candidate. Others may just save themselves the effort and stay home today.

As most polls suggest battleground states — and even some traditionally blue states like Michigan and Minnesota — have tightened, Clinton needs high turnout among her base to win.

If millennials don’t make it to the polls for her, they could ultimately give Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE the presidency.  

Kristin Tate is a conservative columnist and author of the book "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride And What You Can Do About It."


 

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