Strategist: To Win Youth Vote, Target Their Issues

Friday, 02 May 2014 03:57 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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The best way for politicians on both sides of the aisle to reach young voters in this midterm election is to directly address their issues rather than try to lure them with superficial rhetoric, according to one expert.

Democratic strategist Bridget Todd told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that while midterm elections traditionally do not attract legions of young voters, the demographic can be reached because at the core they remain "engaged, smart people who care about their country and care about the future of their country."

"It's about talking to youth about their issues," Todd said. "We have a lot of issues facing us today: college affordability, low-wage working conditions, student loan debt legislation. There are so many issues that are impacting us, and the candidate that really speaks to those issues and meets us where we're at can really do a lot in terms of energizing and exciting the youth vote. But they really have to put that work in in terms of getting us excited."

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Todd disagreed that colloquial speak, like the answer given by former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor — "Dude, this was two years ago" — to a question by Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier about his involvement in the changing of talking points following the Benghazi terror attack of 2012, was the best way to entice young voters into the process.

"It is about speaking to young people in their language," she said. "I don't know that that's our language, that seems a little off to me, but it's about speaking to us in ways that we're going to understand and be excited about. It's about not pandering to us, it's about treating us like the young adults that we are, and that's the advice that I would give to any candidate interested in speaking to youth voters."

Todd added that she does not necessarily see young voters or African-American voters sticking to Democratic Party lines, as they have done historically, in the upcoming election.

"Millennials today are much more diverse and much more progressive than their older counterparts as a voting bloc," she said. "The Democrats have that going for them, but, it's kind of one of those situations where you have to kind of put up or shut up. You can't just give us a lot of slogans and a lot of jingles that sound good. You have to really speak to our issues, and both people of color and youth have a lot of issues that are very serious facing us right now. It's not just about thinking that we'll vote Democratic or Republican because we've always gone that way. It's about really sitting down and talking about these big, pressing issues."

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