Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Young voters have leverage on Clinton, and they should use it

In 2008, Obama won 66% of voters under 30. In 2012, he won 60%. Today, Hillary Clinton's numbers look like this:


This is a potential catastrophe for Clinton. It's one that she's been aware of since 2008 and that she's spent the past several years preparing for. She's tried pandering to youth culture, criticizing young women for being unsatisfactory feminists, pretending that she doesn't need the youth vote, guilt-tripping them, and simply pretending that she already has their votes.

And now that none of this has worked, we're seeing what Hillary Clinton does as her absolute last resort: she actually advocates the policies that voters are demanding from her.

Make no mistake: Clinton's proposal to offer free tuition for students with household incomes under $125k is grossly inadequate and doomed to fail by design. As Adam Johnson notes, its very complexity makes it a hard sell to the American public - and as Eschaton explains,
Denying government benefits to rich people just makes it that much harder for less than rich people to qualify. You know, eligibility, forms, a bureaucracy to determine that eligibility, etc. The way to not give Donald Trump's kids free college involves increasing his taxes. Then give the kids "free college." Democrats really need to get rid of their obsession with means testing everything. 
That's why Bernie Sanders insisted on making free tuition universal, and that's why young voters should, too. But they shouldn't stop there. However meager it is, Clinton's tuition proposal is proof that young voters have leverage over her - and they should use it to demand as much as they possibly can. Clinton and her surrogates are going to spend the rest of this campaign making variations on the same arguments that they've made all along: that she doesn't need the youth vote, that young people owe her their vote, that young people are already voting for her and you should, too. Don't buy it. Demand more.