Looking forward to the next presidential election, some big names have been bandied about. Even before the 2012 race was over, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were all mentioned as potential contenders for their respective parties. While Democrats and Republicans are at odds more than ever these days, all their possible candidates have one thing in common. They’re not Barack Obama.
Now, while some may think that’s a positive aspect, there’s one thing that Obama undeniably has over any other candidate in modern history. He energized and inspired the youth vote in a way that significantly contributed to his victory, particularly in 2008. None of the top tier candidates that have been discussed have the same ability to appeal to Millennials.
Hillary Clinton may appeal to young female voters, but what about their male counterparts? Joe Biden may be a hit in The Onion, but what about on the campaign trail? And Republicans have long had a problem connecting to the younger generation, no matter who the candidate is. Are there any younger politicians out there who can tap into this group in the same way that Barack Obama did? Can they also retain the other voting blocs, such as seniors and the middle-aged? Or does it have to be one or the other? Who do you think out there has the most youth appeal?
Morley Winograd, co-author (with Michael D. Hais) of “Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America” (Rutgers University Press, 2011), served as senior policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore and director of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR)
Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist; former senior Obama advisor in 2008, now runs the Los Angeles office for the Dewey Square Group.