Why Bernie Has The Young Vote

At the Democratic Presidential debate on Sunday, Hillary Clinton was asked why she thinks she isn’t getting as much support from young voters as her competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t able to give a concrete answer; if she knew, surely the problem would be solved by now.

The simplest response I can offer is that young people vote for change, not continuity. This is why President Obama was elected in 2008. And it’s the same reason why Bernie, who says the U.S. is in need of serious systematic change, entices this generation of voters more than Hillary, who plans to continue Obama’s policies.

Hillary had the misfortune of entering this race as already-old news. She and her husband have been in the spotlight for so long that it’s impossible at this point to drastically adjust her public image, and her eight-year-old bid for the presidency is starting to feel stale.

In contrast, Bernie is relatively new to the public eye and carries a powerful message. He has been unafraid to address issues and offer solutions that other politicians—Hillary included—have avoided. In some of his main points, he argues that higher education should be affordable for everyone, that the U.S. should adopt a single-payer national health care program, and that the country’s political system has been corrupted by billionaire campaign donors.

These ideas resonate with the 18-to-29-year-old demographic, and it’s refreshing to hear a politician talk about them so honestly and candidly. For young voters—especially those who are voting for the first time—Bernie’s goals, whether realistically achievable or not, are exciting.

Hillary is undoubtedly the most experienced candidate from either party, but her campaign simply doesn’t have the energy to excite the younger vote. And this isn’t necessarily due to any fault of hers; she just can’t expect to win them all.

— Jenna Ramsey, News Editor