Dems launch push to win young voters

Dems launch push to win young voters

A group of young House Democrats launched a national tour on Thursday to lure millennial voters in 2016.

Led by 34-year-old Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the so-called Future Forum is heading to New York City, Boston and San Francisco to meet with young voters on issues that resonate loudest with that group, including those related to student loans, home ownership, retirement savings and starting small businesses.

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"It's listening, learning and then acting with a legislative package that addresses these issues," Swalwell told reporters Thursday. "It's not about age, it really is about a mindset."

A central part of the message will be college affordability. Swalwell said 40 million millennials account for $1.3 trillion in student loan debt — a dynamic the Democrats say hampers every other facet of the consumer-based economy.  

"This debt weighs down on them and affects every major decision they make, whether it's when to start a family, the ability to buy a home or the ability to leave their job and go create something," Swalwell said.

Another focus will be homeownership. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) lamented that the percentage of young people buying homes today is at an historic low — a trend Democrats want to reverse by easing student loan burdens and creating new incentives for home ownership.

"The effects of student loan debt and the recent recession are having a real impact on millennials' ability to buy homes," she said. "Many young people are actually moving back home with their parents."

The reasons are for the outreach campaign are clear enough. Although voters under the age of 30 chose Democratic candidates by a margin of 54 to 43 percent at the polls last year, they represented just 13 percent of all voters — a drop from 19 percent two years earlier.

Rep. Jared Polis, a tech-savvy Colorado Democrat, said the group intends to reach younger voters via social media — what he called "our native forms of communication."

"Whether that's Facebook, whether that's Snapchat, whether that's Twitter, or whether that's Redditt – wherever you are, we are," Polis said.

"No one generation has a monopoly on good ideas," he said. "All generations — whether it's X, Y, millennial or the Greatest Generation — all deserve a seat at the policy-making table."

The other Democrats making up the Future Forum include Reps. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Brendan Boyle (Pa.), Joaquín Castro (Texas), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardRepublicans call on DOJ to investigate Netflix over 'Cuties' film Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates Gabbard says she 'was not invited to participate in any way' in Democratic convention MORE (Hawaii), Ruben Gallego (Ariz.), Joe Kennedy (Mass.), Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal Clark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race Pelosi digs in as pressure builds for COVID-19 deal MORE (Wash.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Seth Moulton (Mass.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).

"They are perfect to enunciate this message," said Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), head of the Democrats' messaging arm. "Because the fact of the matter is that it's really America's younger people who face the challenges … most acutely.

"An efficient message is effective contrast," Israel added, "[and] for younger Americans the contrast couldn't be more clear.”