The presidential race is getting tighter, with candidates dropping out at a faster rate and the remaining candidates fighting on with the hope of receiving their party’s nomination for presidential candidate. The youth vote is constantly referenced as a target for these politicians to pick up, but the establishment candidates still don’t seem to get it. They’re desperately going for the youth vote, to less than ideal results.
“Player of iPhone games,” states Ted Cruz’s official Twitter bio, before “2016 GOP candidate for President,” and it’s a description he likes to boast. In a Facebook post made in May last year, Cruz wrote:
The Daily Beast has outed me as an addict, a life-long video game player (much to my daughters’ delight, and my wife’s dismay). However, their article contains one factual error: it says I’m on level 217 in Candy Crush. Actually, I’m on level 357!
Despite his best attempts to fit in, he looked about as ‘down with the kids’ as a trench-coated man in the park with a balloon, and his mobile gaming references were quickly put down, with one user commenting: “My DOTA2-addict son says that playing Candy Crush does not make you a gamer.” Ouch.
Cruz may be winning the under 30s in more GOP primaries up to this point, but he’s certainly not doing it with style, and his goofy antics are rapidly losing him support.
“As a millennial, I believe that Donald Trump speaks to the long-term interests of our generation,” said the creator behind popular YouTube series “You Can’t Stump the Trump” in an email to Breitbart Tech. “Ted Cruz comes across as a third-rate televangelist and Marco Rubio just gives off this aura of insincerity.”
Trump also speaks of returning America to her rightful place in the world at a time when all we’re taught in our schools and universities is how great America used to be and how our generation is growing up during a time of decline. They say this as if it’s an inevitability and that we should accept that America will no longer be “great.” Suddenly, Donald Trump, a man who most millennials have grown up with on television over the last decade, is telling us that it’s not too late and that American can be great again. He rejects defeatism and replaces it with optimism. He speaks to the collective spirit of America, especially to the millennials who have seen all the promises of America vanish over the span of the last few administrations.
His video series has played a pivotal role in the youth Trump fandom online, garnering millions of views from his videos and widening the frontrunners audience to an entirely different community to that of the usual GOP candidate. The video aesthetics are intermixed with “MLG Montage” and meme-style visuals and editing, bridging the gap between politics and youth culture in all the right ways.
“I’ve received numerous messages over the last few months that tell me that my videos either converted them [other millennials] or their family and friends to supporting Donald Trump, so it makes me glad to see that my series is helping promote Donald Trump to a segment of the population that otherwise wouldn’t get to see Trump outside of how most of the media portrays him,” he stated.
It’s certainly a lot more attractive to the youth than cringe-worthy displays of iPhone game enthusiasm. Though it’s not just Cruz opting for the tech-talk approach.
“Macbook Pro baby!” shouted recently defunct candidate Jeb Bush in an official campaign video last year, entitled “Silicon Valley Favourites.” The video pitted a series of questions to Jeb about what technology he preferred in a sad attempt at looking up to date with the times. “iPhone vs Blackberry”, “Laptop vs iPad”, “#TBT (Throwback Thursday) vs #FF (Follow Friday),” and a handful of other basic preference questions were thrown by Jeb at himself, along with a piano soundtrack that sounded as if it were meant for The Social Network movie.
It was embarrassing even for Jeb, and pretty much every notable thing he did during his now-suspended campaign was either embarrassing, sad, or both.
Millennials responded by sharing the video to Reddit’s /r/fellowkids subreddit. “Jeb Bush sure gets us kids,” joked the video title posted to the forum, which describes itself as “a subreddit to showcase examples of advertisements and media that totally appeal to the radical youth of today. Cowabunga!” The video received over 600 dislikes, and it became a laughing stock among the youth, with a whole host of memes still going around to this day about the unfortunate incident.
Other establishment candidates like John Kasich have opted to win over the youth through music taste.
During a discussion with CNN, Kasich stated that he loved listening to Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, and Twenty One Pilots.
“You know Twenty One Pilots – ‘Stressed Out’? We play that on our bus but we’re not stressed out,” said Kasich to a laughing response. “I’m pretty much alternative and modern”.
I don’t know who Kasich is trying to impress here, but if it’s the American youth he’s about 15 years too late. Though we’ve got to give him credit. Had he divulged his playlist while running in the 2001 or 2004 presidential elections, he definitely would’ve won over the under 30 crowd.
Then of course there’s Hillary Clinton.
From the email server scandal which has plagued her presidential campaign, to that time she blamed sending an email to the wrong address on the Chinese, Hillary is most definitely not technology literate.
“She just doesn’t understand technology, and she admits that she doesn’t understand technology, and to me that’s a huge negative,” said billionaire investor Mark Cuban in an interview with WABC, and he’s right, judging by her latest stunt.
After losing out on the under 30s to anti-establishment candidate Bernie Sanders, Hillary has decided that she needs to target the youth in their natural habitat. Because of this she decided to launch a major ad campaign with AOL, or America Online, a website launched in the 90s that’s now more outdated than MySpace.
“There are probably more people who voted for Clinton in New Hampshire than there are millennials using AOL for their email in the entire country,” wrote the Weekly Standard in a story on the incident.
Even notable leftist Stephen Colbert mocked her for the blunder on his show.
It was an incident that made every millennial wince in pain. It would have been marginally better if Clinton had trotted out Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong to publicly endorse her campaign for presidency in an attempt to win over the youth.
If there’s anything clear from the candidates and their sad examples above, it’s that no matter how much you try to ‘be down with the kids,’ this is still a presidential race, and the youth are not stupid. They will choose and back a candidate with good policy, leadership skills, communication, and energy. Getting to level 357 on Candy Crush is not going to convince them you’re cool or miraculously win them over.
Even Trump as a multi-billionaire and property magnate feels more down to Earth than most of the other candidates. That’s when you know there’s a real problem, and the people want to see a difference. Especially the millennials, being the most energetic, youthful, and aspiring. They’re the future of this country, and to think that winning them over requires only a handful of sweeties is not just naive, but also insulting.
Charlie Nash is a libertarian contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.