Libertarian?

Photographer: Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Clinton to Millennials: Pick Me to Stop Trump

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the executive editor of Bloomberg News, before which he was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal.
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Democrats, fearful that third-party presidential candidates could attract enough millennials to cost Hillary Clinton key states are stepping up efforts to woo young voters with one message: stop Trump.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the left-wing Green Party aspirant, are attracting much of their support from younger voters. Some recent polls show them attracting a total of over 10 percent of the vote nationally and doing much better than that with millennials.

"There are lots of potential Clinton voters who could be lost to these third-party candidates," acknowledges Geoff Garin, the pollster for Priorities USA, the Clinton Super PAC. "We are making a first-class effort to reach them through digital media" and saying "that their vote could mean Donald Trump is president."

Bill Weld, Johnson's vice presidential candidate, said that the Libertarian ticket was taking equally from both sides. But he also said that he considers Trump by far the greater danger and will focus on attacking him in the final six weeks. "Watch me on this," declared the former Massachusetts governor, a lifelong Republican. He said Trump's proposal to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants "reminds me of Germany in the 1930s."

Voters born after the early 1980s chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 60 percent to 37 percent in the 2012 election, when they accounted for almost one in five voters. Polls suggest they may turn out in smaller numbers this time and favor the Democratic side less because Johnson and Stein are getting a slice of their votes.

Trump is enormously unpopular with millennials, a fact that the Clintonites like to emphasize. "Young people think Donald Trump is deeply out of step with their values, on issues affecting them, diversity and inclusion." says Garin.

But Clinton is well aware of her problem with young voters. She was clobbered by Bernie Sanders among millennials in the Democratic primaries, and her slippage in September polls is largely attributable to their defections.

On Monday she wrote a blog post for MIC, a news site aimed at millennials, titled "Here's What Millennials Have Taught Me," in which she acknowledged that she has to give them a more positive message. She also wrote about her own post-college experiences. She also showed up on the satiric talk show "Between Two Ferns," giving deadpan answers to silly questions posed by the comedian Zach Galifianakis.

In attacking Trump with millennials in mind, Democrats will focus on the environment and climate change -- which Trump has called a hoax -- as well as social issues and racial tolerance.

Some Clinton supporters hope that if the race still seems close in late October, then the Johnson-Weld ticket, which is on the ballot in all 50 states, might throw in the towel in the interest of defeating the Republicans. Weld ruled that out, but added, "I'm just getting a chance to go to work on Mr. Trump."

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Albert R. Hunt at ahunt1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.net