If you think Hillary Clinton has the Millennial vote in the bag, think again. Donald Trump is quickly winning them over.
As Millennials, we’ve had countless conversations with fellow twenty-somethings who are confused and morally hamstrung as to their decision. Vote third party? Sit this one out? Write in Beyoncé?
Recent polls show 37 percent of 18-29 years olds for Hillary while 29 percent support Trump. That eight point gap is quickly closing in Trump’s favor. He will handedly win the Millennial vote with a solid strategy. Trump shouldn’t write us off, but empower us to give a damn. Here’s how.
Adapt the message.
No. We’re not talking about SnapChatting the debate, but that wouldn’t be a bad idea. The Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again,” works for voters no matter their occupation or background. However, it may not work with a generation that doesn’t remember when America was great.
Millennials have been bred for inclusion. We don’t want to make America first if it puts the rest of the world in last place. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to be great.
As Millennials, we have our own “American Dream.” Yes. We want to land an awesome job that pays off our massive student loans. But we also want to know that what we do matters—that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to live with purpose and eliminate injustice.
Promising free college won’t get more Millennials voting for Trump. Being honest about our future will.
Target Millennial entrepreneurs and disrupters.
José is a bartender in a Los Angeles airport lounge. He is a Millennial, like us. We struck up a conversation while waiting for our plane. José was tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck. He wanted to work in technology and would be happy with a $75,000 salary for the rest of his life.
Before we got the check, Brian asked, “Hey José, which candidate, Hillary or Trump, would make your dream possible?” A few seconds went by before José responded. Shrugging and almost surprised at himself, he said, “Donald Trump would.”
Owning three startups between us, we have the most to lose when government gets in the way. We’re among the growing number of twenty and thirty-somethings starting companies that do well by doing good.
Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation in America. Sixty-seven percent of today’s twenty-somethings want to start their own business. Trump likes business and loves money. Hillary, however, can’t relate to the struggle of starting up a business.
Millennial business owners and would-be entrepreneurs get the Trump message. They need less government and more freedom to run their companies and their lives. Startups are the most natural and yet underutilized ally to the Trump campaign.
Take us seriously.
This is the first general election that Millennials will rival Baby Boomers in size. There’s a reason neither Hillary or Trump have secured the Millennial vote. They haven’t captured our hearts.
Millennials fell in love (we didn’t) with former Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. He spoke to their concerns regarding student debt, government corruption and crony capitalism. Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, is picking up where Sen. Sanders left off. As a result, he’s claimed twice the Millennial support of any other candidate.
Access to leadership is important. Millennial voters want to know that they are being seen and heard. We want to be taken seriously, not taken for granted. Hillary thinks she knows what’s best for us. She has no problem stepping in to make our big life decisions.
However, Trump has no problem entrusting the next generation with big opportunities. Look at his Millennial kids. They are wildly successful and well-heard members of his inner circle.
Stay serious about our security.
Millennials deserve a country that is safe. We are the generation that remembers Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. Terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Pulse Night Club weren’t that long ago. We still think twice about going out with friends on the weekend—knowing that every venue is a target.
Though bombastic, Trump has proven himself committed to the safety and security of America. More and more Americans say they trust him over Hillary to protect our borders and stop terrorist attacks, 41 to 37 percent. This is becoming increasingly more relevant.
According to a recent Fox News poll, many Americans expect a major terrorist attack in the near future. You may find Trump offensive, but to him, your security matters more. Sometimes you have to offend someone to protect them.
Expose Hillary’s corruption, over and over and over again.
Transparency and authenticity are top priorities for Millennials. If we don’t trust you, we don’t like you.
Millennials tried to like Hillary. But she’s like the old pair of jeans we desperately shimmy into on a Friday night. They don’t fit and after all of that work, they make us look fat.
The closer we get to November 8th, the more we learn about Hillary. We know that she lied about her emails. We know she traded political appointments for donations at the Clinton Foundation. We know her number two girl, Huma Abedin, is tied to radical Islamists.
It makes us wonder to whom she’s beholden. Not college students. Not startups. No, not any of us.
2016 will be a protest vote. No generation knows how to protest better than Millennials.
Some don’t care for Trump’s raw leadership style. They can’t get past his personality to see the economic and security gain of a Trump win. These are the all-or-nothing #NeverTrumpers who believe that electing Trump would mean the end of the Republic.
He may not be your perfect candidate (spoiler alert: they never are). When it comes to Millennials, there is no question that Trump is better than Hillary. The choice in November will be clear: Vote for someone who is sometimes “mean” or vote for someone who always lies.
If Millennials will agree with Trump on matters of opportunity, entrepreneurship and security, that’s a first down. We’re not going to win this game in one play. We’ll move him down the field one issue and one conversation at a time. With Hillary, we’ll lose yardage. With his thumbs on Twitter and eyes on the polls, young Americans will have unprecedented influence and access to Trump in the White House.
Trump may not be the candidate Millennials wanted, but he’s the candidate we’ll choose. Millennials need to put on their grown-up pants and get in the game. We won’t get participation trophies for voting. Instead, we’ll claim our country and our future as our own.
Brian Bosché is a former national journalist and #1 bestselling author of the book, 13 Reasons to Give a Damn in 2016. He is the founder of The 60-Day Author—transforming storytellers into bestselling authors.
Gabrielle Bosché is a Millennial expert and #1 bestselling author of three books including, The Millennial Entrepreneur: Side-hustlers, Startups and Disrupters Restarting America. She is the president of The Millennial Solution—providing corporate training that bridges the generation gap.