The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Searching for Millennial support

Peter Kim
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the audience at Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, on Saturday, Jan 30, 2016. Former president Bill Clinton and Clinton’s daughter Chelsea Clinton visited the event to support Clinton. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

After making  history Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton faces a new challenge — millennials.

By Brent Griffith

[email protected]

PHILADELPHIA — Corey Jones remembers meeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the beginning of her Scooby van tour after announcing her presidential run, Clinton stopped by to visit with Jones and approximately 20 others at the Jones Regional Education Center in Monticello, Iowa.

“I felt like I was looking through her,” Jones said.

But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with his often-discussed frumpy appearance gesticulating his every word was genuine. Sanders seemed authentic enough that Jones labored to be a delegate here at the Democratic National Convention this week. And notably, the self-described socialist struck something with millennials.

A 74-year-old was inspiring “dank memes.”

“He exudes authenticity,” said Alden Marshall, 18, a Sanders delegate from Texas. “Even people who I know who are Republicans either voted for Bernie or respected him.”

On Tuesday night, as his home state Vermont came up in the roll-call vote, Sanders strode onto the floor and asked that the counting stop and Clinton be nominated by a voice vote. This procedural move was another shot at unity following up on his call from Monday night.

But coming together does not happen with a switch. Shortly after Sanders’s gesture, reminiscent of what Clinton did for then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, delegates who supported Sanders marched out of the Wells Fargo Center and staged a sit-in and protest in and around the press filing center.

If there is a heart of the political revolution, it would have to be millennials. Starting with Iowa’s caucuses and continuing across the country, Sanders ran up the score with young voters. On Twitter, Reddit, and Slack, his most ardent supporters affected races from miles away. This same group was one of the prongs of the so-called Obama coalition, the voters who propelled the first black president to the White House along with people of color and college-educated.

Reaching this group is something Clinton is striving for, said Sarah Audelo, the campaign’s Millennial Vote Director. And when it comes to being authentic, Audelo, said young voters just need to see the secretary’s personality.

“We think when Hillary Clinton is just Hillary Clinton, that is a good thing,” Aduelo said. “We are not about trying to make her cool. The secretary is an incredibly intelligent, well-researched policy-wonk nerd. That is a good thing, because your generation cares deeply about issues, and you are incredibly well-researched.”

Revealing more of this private side, which Clinton supporters say does not always come through, is crucial to winning over their friends.

“… As a high-school and college student, she was never afraid to defy norms,” said Iowa Clinton delegate Sruthi Palaniappan, 18, of Cedar Rapids. “She did a lot of the same things we are doing in high school.”

But the biggest way Clinton could woo Sanders’ supporters may be by taking the revolution along for the ride in both person and policy. Clinton’s battleground state director said the two campaigns are talking, and they would love to see Sanders in Iowa and around the country.

“No matter if you are Bernie, Hillary, or Ted Cruz, try less whipping and nay-naying,” said Iowa Clinton delegate Allie Hoskin, 18, of Cedar Rapids. “Instead of trying to fit in with young people, listen to what we are saying.”

Follow The Daily Iowan’s Ethics and Politics Initiative (@DIpolitics) and EPI reporter Brent Griffiths (@brentgriffiths) on the ground in Philadelphia for updates on the 2016 Democratic National Conventions.

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