Hillary Clinton Is The Only Candidate Who Knows What Millennials Want
She's probably around the age of your parents.
She rocked big glasses, paisley prints and see-through sunglasses in the 70s and 80s; she was the First Lady of the United States before a lot of today's Millennials were even born. But she gets you.
Here's the thing about Hillary Clinton: She's in Millennials' corner.
She wants to talk about treatment for the anxiety or depression we've all experienced as adolescents or college freshman; she wants to remedy the substance abuse we saw taking place in our schools; she's eager to encourage companies to train and hire us.
She's poised to be the candidate for men and women our age, before any other Democratic candidate has even stepped on the scene.
In 2015, Millennials will overtake the Baby Boomer generation as the largest living generation in the United States.
For any presidential candidate in Election 2016 to succeed, they'll need to appeal to the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, 77 percent of whom are likely to vote.
Hillary hasn't made the full spectrum of her political platform clear, but her record as Secretary of State and as one of the leaders of the Clinton Foundation is a testament to her interest in addressing issues important to young people.
Mental health matters
In April 2015, Hillary participated in a New Hampshire roundtable and made it clear she'd make mental health issues a big part of her campaign.
She emphasized Americans' concerns about substance abuse in small towns as well as concerns of cutbacks in insurance coverage for treatment programs.
Mental health is not usually a priority in presidential campaigns. Many candidates seem to dismiss it as something trumped by issues like foreign policy, the economy and taxes.
But it's an issue plaguing young voters, and Hillary has pledged to "do more." She said she'd advocate for more of a "concerted policy" on mental health treatment and substance abuse prevention, at all levels of government.
This wasn't just rhetoric. Mrs. Clinton supported the Affordable Care Act, which required insurance plans to cover mental health and substance abuse services.
She also spoke about the issue last May at the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference. In reference to individuals suffering from mental health issues, she stated
The issues you are living with... are among the most important that we currently face as a society.
She went on to point out:
American women today are actually living shorter lives than their mothers...We need to get serious and creative about stemming the tide of drug overdoses and dependencies.
Hillary's concern about mental health issues goes on. The Clinton Foundation, for all of the controversy it has attracted, has done some fantastic things for young people.
It created a series of conferences, held at universities across the country, called Mental Health and Wellness on Campus: A Town Hall Without Walls.
The series offered today's college students a forum to discuss how they can get help, and ask questions about prescription drug use and abuse.
These are the kinds of topics presidential candidates need to latch onto. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article profiling the increasing prominence of anxiety and depression among incoming college freshmen.
Also consider the school shootings taking place over the last decade, perpetrated by extremely disturbed young people who were clearly in need of mental health treatment.
What matters to Millennials -- and why
Mental health isn't the only issue on the table. Millennials are still struggling in Obama's economy. Unemployment among individuals 25 to 34 years old hovers at 5.6 percent, versus 3.7 percent among people aged 45 to 54.
People our age are supposed to be the desirable candidates -- the fresh, energetic, creative ones companies want to hire. But it's not happening.
Hillary wants to fix this. In 2014, she announced the creation of Job One, a project incorporated companies like The Gap, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and Marriott all participated in.
It encourages companies to hire and train young people.
Hillary's announcement video also pledges to help Millennials. The video shows several examples of individuals in the 18-34 age bracket who'd be concerned with issues like child care, gender equality, student loans and family planning.
It shows a young gay couple planning a marriage, an interracial couple, and a woman returning to work after taking time off to raise her child.
There are older individuals in the video. But many of the people featured, and issues alluded to, are the kinds of things that our very liberal (43 percent Democratic or Democratic-leaning) generation cares about.
More than half of Millennials have dated outside of their race and are concerned about economic issues and employment. A Pew Research Poll found 70 percent of individuals born after 1981 support marriage equality, illustrating a much more liberal view among our generation toward gay rights.
Hillary Clinton, at least so far, has hit the nail on the head with our generation. She knows what matters, and she's ready to talk about it, regardless of the subject matter's popularity with other candidates.
Being in tune with Millennials will help her win. Our demographic is massive, prepared to turn out to vote and, generally speaking, eager to take a stand on major issues.
It certainly helps her cause so many Millennials are already left-leaning.
Still, Hillary will need to continue to listen to young people, be it through Twitter, town halls or visits to college campuses, to ensure she stays in step.
And let's just be honest: the Texts from Hillary Tumblr probably didn't hurt her popularity either.
Citations: This year Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers (Pew Research Center), Young people will hit the polls in 2016 and they want Hillary (Fusion), Mental Health Drug Treatment Will Be A Big Part Of Clintons Campaign (Buzzfeed), Hillary Clinton at Mental Health and Addiction Conference (CSpan), Wall Street analyst uncovers Clinton Foundation fraud (WND), Mental Health and Wellness on Campus (Clinton Foundation), Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College (The Wall Street Journal), Hillary Clinton to announce youth jobs push (KXAN), Hillary Clintons Announcement Video (The New York Times), Survey How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health (Public Religion Research Institute), More than half of millennials have dated outside their race (Fusion), Some eye opening findings from our big new poll on millennials (Fusion), Millennial Support For Gay Marriage Hits All Time High Pew Research Center (The Huffington Post), Texts From Hillary Named Tumblr Of The Year By Shorty Awards (The Huffington Post)