How does a political campaign appeal to a generation of young Americans known more for their love of text messaging than their political activism? Ironic campaign t-shirts from Urban Outfitters?
The Millennial demographic, also known as Generation Y, is comprised of anyone born between roughly 1982 and 2000. Traditionally, Millennials are sometimes dismissed as “the Meme Generation” or having a sense of entitlement. But the fact is, as children of the Baby Boomers, Millennials are a massive group. About 80 million strong, in fact. They’re the first generation to grow up with the Internet. And unfortunately for the right, they prefer Obama over Romney by wide margins.
While that sounds like Democratic candidates should be popping champagne corks, research data from Tufts University suggests Millennial voter registration numbers are down in the swing states of Nevada and North Carolina compared to 2008. Millennials also graduated from high school and college at the onset of the Great Recession – some graduation gift! Their unemployment rate was a sobering 12.1 percent in May.
Have Millennials become the new swing voters? The Obama campaign probably knows this. That’s why their TV ad featuring Sarah Jessica Parker debuted during last night’s MTV Movie Awards. Even Team Romney unveiled an iPhone app last week – although that didn’t seem to impress anyone but “Amercians.”
On tonight’s episode, we’ll take a look at the efforts to reach out to Millennials in tomorrow’s Wisconsin recall election with Larry Sabato and Judd Legum from Think Progress. We’ll also delve further into the ongoing effort in Wisconsin, Florida and Texas to restrict Millenial voting rights. Florida even wanted to disqualify state university IDs as voter identification. Come on, Florida. If student IDs could get you free rides on the bus, shouldn’t they count at the voting booth?
We’re not going to say this Millenial-themed ad sunk Rick Santorum’s campaign. But this ad definitely sunk his campaign: