Election 2020

Hillary Launches Clumsy Initiative to Target Young Voters

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Norfolk, Va., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

This is awkward.

U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton launched a bid on Thursday to draw young voters and small donors to her campaign, targeting the strengths of her rival, Bernie Sanders, as she looks ahead to the general election.

Dubbed “for45” – for Clinton as the 45th president of the United States – the group will offer associate level membership for as low as $250, according to an invitation seen by Reuters for an April 25 Philadelphia event.

“We will have an opportunity to fundraise and host low-dollar events, speaking to what we are passionate about and why we support her,” said Akilah Ensley, a 32-year-old Clinton supporter planning to join the group. “It’s important that we engage.”

The group held its “kick-off” conference call on Thursday, featuring the Clinton campaign’s finance director, Dennis Cheng, other campaign officials, and actress Lena Dunham, according to an invitation to the call.

The group includes two other tiers, according to an information sheet seen by a “member” level with minimum fundraising of $2,500 and an “advisor” level for raising at least $10,000.

First, the name is clunky. They compare it to Obama’s “Gen44” effort in 2008 but that was different. The name sounded better and young Democrats were already supporting Obama because the alternative was…yeah, her.

Second, if the campaign wants this initiative to also target small donors and the buy-in is $250 they’ll need to get a better working definition of “small” soon. The Obama campaign would send emails asking for five, and sometimes three, dollars from people. That’s small. $250 may not be much money to Granny Pander and her people, but the Sanders voters they’re desperately trying to court here aren’t running around with that kind of cash in their pockets.

While the Democrats usually vote as a hive mind no matter who their nominee is, this year is different. Bernie has an extremely emotional (they’re certainly not intellectual) and devoted base. Much like Trump, he’s getting people interested who wouldn’t be otherwise. When he’s gone, there’s a very good chance they will be too. Hillary’s only real shot at keeping them around may involve her doing what Reagan did in 1980 (and Kennedy in 1960) and putting the bitter rival on the ticket.

That’s something I might pay $250 to see.

And mock.