With a lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton but a strong distrust for Donald Trump, millennials in the US face a difficult choice of who to vote for in November. Millennials, categorised as young people aged 18-34 are increasingly less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton despite her credentials as a progressive and experienced candidate. Hillary is aligned with many of the values and principles that many young people support such as LGBT rights, debt-free college and clean energy for the future - issues that young people have tended to cite as important.
I volunteered for Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary in February for two weeks, and canvassed door-to-door and on the phone whilst engaging with voters and discussing Hillary's policies such as debt-free college and her clean energy plan. With rallies and enthusiastic chanting from supporters, I saw first-hand the enthusiasm that Hillary's supporters have for her policies and admiration for her commitment to helping people. As the more experienced candidate, Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice to be President, where Donald Trump falters on detailing his policy ideas, Hillary has clear plans to aid all Americans, not excluding people based on race, gender or ethnicity.
However, support for Hillary Clinton from young people seems to be waning in contrast to the support President Barack Obama received from young people, roughly 67 percent of young people voted for Obama in 2008. Quinnipiac found that last month a mere 31 percent among 18-34 year olds supported Hillary Clinton, with Donald Trump gaining 26 percent of the vote. Despite this close gap between the two main candidates, 75 percent of millennials viewed Trump as 'unfavourable' and 65 percent as 'racist', along with two thirds of millennials saying they would never vote for Trump in a George Washington University Background Poll. Millennials are increasingly turning towards third-party candidates such as Gary Johnson, libertarian candidate and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. However, the Presidential election is markedly different to previous elections where the possible win of the Republican nominee is potentially dangerous to America's security, foreign policy and economy. The Atlantic has recently endorsed Hillary Clinton, having previously only endorsed two presidential candidates in its 159 year history, with the magazine stating that Trump is 'a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist...[and] is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters - the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box should act in defence of American democracy and elect his opponent'. A United States where Donald Trump is President would send political and economic shockwaves throughout the world, signalling a turn towards a more alienated and apathetic population with a nation willing to engage with the political ideas of Donald Trump and the absence of coherent economic and foreign policies.
Hillary Clinton has actively supported the right of all Americans to receive a better education, in particular the opportunity for all Americans to gain a higher education to enable greater job prospects for young people. Hillary's dedication to making college more affordable is laid out, with the help of Bernie Sanders, in the 'New College Compact'. This plans to implement free tuition for all community colleges and Americans who have student debt will be able to refinance their loans at current rates, saving the average borrower around $2,000 in total, along with a significant reduction in interest rates to prevent the government from profiting from college debt. By 2021, families with incomes up to $125,000 will also have to pay no tuition in their own state at four year public colleges and universities. With current college tuition fees increasing by 500% in real terms over three decades in the US, Hillary Clinton wants to reduce spiralling college fees and introduce debt-free college for all young people, regardless of their socio-economic background. Students will be able to graduate largely free from cripplingly high debt and will alleviate the burden for many families and students who attend college.
Hillary has supported better education for all young people for decades, from her investigation into segregated private schools in Alabama in 1972 as a law student, to her involvement in the reform of public schools to ensure a curriculum for the state and mandatory competency tests for teachers in Arkansas in 1983 when she was First Lady of Arkansas. Her continued engagement and persistence in ensuring a higher quality education for all young people makes her the best presidential candidate to win the election in my opinion.
A critical policy for millennials is climate change where Hillary Clinton plans to take steps to slow down climate change and ensure a future of clean energy. Hillary proposes to invest $60 billion in clean energy to cut carbon pollution and put the country on the path to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050. A further half a billion solar panels will be installed with this providing new jobs and industries in America, with this boosting the economy. Hillary Clinton wants to uphold progressive policies, where the preservation of the planet and debt-free college are vital in ensuring better opportunities for future generations.
As November 8th draws closer, young people could play a key role in electing Hillary Clinton, a progressive and experienced candidate with forward-thinking policies on higher education reform and clean energy initiatives.