Are We With Her?

Young voters' thoughts on a Clinton presidency.

By Taylor Smith

It’s official: Hillary Clinton is the first woman to become the nominee of a major party in a U.S. presidential election. But now, the real work starts.

As we recently wrote, the millennial vote is a pretty big deal this election cycle, and Trump is having some trouble locking it down. His difficulty courting the youth vote is not surprising, though, as younger voters tend to lean liberal. And if Nate Silver is to be believed, millennials they aren’t all too likely to see the Trump presidency come to fruition anyway, making their hang-ups surrounding the Democratic candidate arguably more pressing.

Though not nearly as controversial on the surface, Hillary Clinton is second only to her opponent in all-time low favorability for a major party nominee. Clinton, despite the potential advantage of her more liberal views, has come up against the damning roadblock of “being out of touch.” We all remember her oddly symbolic MetroCard snafu, and her campaign’s latest pandering initiative, “Gotta Catch ‘Em’ All” (punctuation theirs) probably isn’t helping.


Funny clips and failures in youthspeak are trivial, yes, but there are real numbers to back up the unfortunate impression they leave. According to a new poll from the Associate Press and the University of Chicago, Clinton leads Trump among voters 18 to 30, but 45% of those polled were undecided, not voting, or voting for someone other than the two major party nominees. To make matters worse, 53% of those planning to vote for Clinton said they were voting more ‘against Trump’ than ‘for her.’ So the question remains for young voters: Now that Bernie’s hopped on the Hillary bandwagon, will they? We took to the streets to ask members of this key demographic how they really feel about a Clinton presidency:

“Many people say they don’t trust Clinton. In my view, it is hard to trust someone who you come into contact with briefly or through a TV screen. Clinton does have the administration with her and the email scandals, but at the end of the day, I think she’s the best America can have at the moment. Being female I do feel the need for stronger female representation in all areas of life, not just politics. All in all I am neutral to positive on Clinton.”

—Amelia, 21

“With everything going on domestically and globally I honestly don’t know what to expect, other than a challenge. I’m guilty of being more fearful of trump than passionate about anyone else. I don’t buy that she’s ‘untrustworthy,’ though.”

— Paula, 27

“The idea of Trump is just so horrifying. I understand why people do not have a liking for her, but her experience is undeniable. And I am personally not offended by her.”

—Jane, 23


“I’m not really into politics, but it seems this election is pretty much damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Still a superior choice to Trump but not the candidate anyone really wanted.”

—Kuran, 22

I think Hillary Clinton is going to make an excellent president. I’m excited by her thoughtfulness and experience, and I think that she’s going to build on the foundation Obama created. I also think this campaign is going to host more progressive debates than ever before, as evidenced by the Bernie contingent, which is great.”

—Erin, 24

“It’s going to be difficult for Hillary to be president because of all the opposition she is facing because of the DNC and her email controversy, not because of her as a person. But it’s going to be the senate that can make or break her. She can be hit or miss, but most people agree it’s better her than Trump.”

—Nia, 19

“Congress will still be controlled by hostile Republicans, so she will not change much from what Obama has done. For instance, I think she’ll fail to close Gitmo.”

—Dawit, 23

I think that a Clinton presidency would probably look very much like the Obama presidency, with her continuing a lot of his initiatives and getting to things that he perhaps wanted to but wasn’t able to. I don’t distrust Hillary, and I wouldn’t go so far as to say she is untrustworthy. I know a lot of people see the email thing as a red flag, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does everything correctly, and I don’t think that that situation should be held against her too much.”

—Heather, 23

“I think Clinton is qualified politically. She will face large opposition in the Republican party, but she is also diplomatic. She is not consistent on some concerning issues such as the minimum wage, universal healthcare, and conflicts abroad but she has solid policies and long term plans.”

—Lola, 22

Jasmin Palmer contributed reporting.