Road To 2016: Can Hillary Carry Millennials?

Hillary Clinton

By Rich Greene @VivaRichGreene

This morning I passed by the mirror in the hallway and had one of those milestone moments in life when you learn to accept the inevitable:  I noticed that the little gray invaders from the future have managed to make some headway in their quest to permanently banish all of the black from my hair.  It was a sobering thought.  I’m now a 31-year-old father of two, a husband, and the bearer of little silver streaks in my locks that weren’t put there on purpose this time.

You might recall my nostalgic trip back to 1998 last week in my piece about Democratic presidents’ history of diversionary strikes on Middle Eastern despots.  I have to admit I wrote it with a slight measure of trepidation, not wanting to come off as some old man preaching to the youngsters about the good old days (they actually weren’t that good), but not wanting to miss the chance to point out the importance of following political history.  It doth often repeat itself.

And when it doth, the name Clinton is usually involved.

I remember following the 2008 Democratic primary election and recognizing for the first time the thick white line that separates Generation X from Generation Y.  It happened during Hillary Clinton’s Obama endorsement speech, during which she took a rather unusual amount of time to remind the Democratic Party why she had so vigorously sought the White House:  “…to provide opportunity to those who are willing to work hard for it.”

I would imagine that if you’re a twenty-something Obamanaut living at home and cursing Bush that you can’t afford a new Macbook, the second half of that statement would be rather off-putting.  In fact, 56% of your generation wouldn’t accept a new job with a higher salary if the company blocked social media sites on workplace computers.

All of a sudden Obama’s promises to “spread the wealth around” sound pretty good.  Not like that mean lady who wants to actually put me to work, nor those disconnected, bourgeois plebeians who actually do it.

In a poll conducted just prior to the 2012 Presidential election, it was revealed that Generation X had become disillusioned with Obama and were more concerned about their financial well-being, whereas their Millennial friends turned out in even greater numbers to ensure a second term for their beloved socialist-in-chief.  This indicates that if the Democrats want to continue their so-called winning streak into 2016, then Former Secretary Clinton will need to find some newer, hipper euphemisms for turns of phrase such as “…willing to work hard for it”.

Maybe she could try drawing an extended metaphor about a job being kind of  like a social program…oh wait…that smacks too much of Ronald Reagan.  Bad idea.

In the end, the Democrats are poised to face a difficult decision:  Whether to Christmas (excuse me, X-Mas…) Eve their way back to the White House with the kids all snug in their beds upstairs (except they’re 27-year-old grad students); or to broaden their reach to bring some of the lost flock back into the fold.

Either way, the 2016 elections will be judgment day for a Democratic Party that is already showing signs of stress around the base.


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