Clinton Stumps for Millennial Votes at Temple

“I will never be the showman my opponent is, and you know what?” Clinton said today at Temple University. “That's OK with me.”

Hillary Clinton speaking at Temple University

Hillary Clinton speaks at Temple’s Mitten Hall on Monday. | Photo: Dan McQuade

With just 50 days until the election, Hillary Clinton came to Temple today to pitch millennial voters on why she needs their votes.

“Even if you’re totally opposed to Donald Trump, you may still have questions about me,” Clinton said. “I get that and I want to do my best to answer those questions. When it comes to public service, the service part has always been easier to me than the public part. I will never be the showman my opponent is, and you know what? That’s OK with me … Any voter who’s still undecided, give us both a fair hearing,” Clinton said. “No one will work harder to make your life better. I will never stop.”

She focused on several issues that surveys show are important to young voters: She discussed her plan, developed from many of Bernie Sanders’s proposals, to offer students free tuition at public universities. And she went beyond college: “A four-year college degree shouldn’t be the only path to a good-paying job,” Clinton said.

“This election, in particular, can be downright depressing sometimes, but it matters — it really does,” Clinton said. She added: “When Americans get knocked down, we get right back up again. We refuse to quit — no matter what.” (Yes, that is essentially a “Tubthumping” reference.) She also pitched Temple students on encouraging others to vote for her. “I understand here at Temple you already do a lot of organizing,” Clinton said. “We’ve had campaign tailgates at every football game, and had a lot of fun doing it!”

Clinton opened her speech by thanking the first responders who acted in the aftermath of bombings in New York and New Jersey this weekend. A suspect in those attacks was arrested just before Clinton took the stage.

“You’re here today because … you want something to vote for, not just against,” Clinton said. “Optimism, not resentment. Answers, not anger. Ideas, not insults. Bridges, not walls. You’re also here because you know this election isn’t a reality TV show. It shouldn’t be about birth certificates or name-calling or stunts to get onto cable news.”

Clinton’s speech to millennials came after a New York Times/CBS News poll last week showed Clinton’s lead over Trump among the 18-34 age group at just five points. It was 24 points in late August. Though almost all national polls show Clinton leading Trump among millennial voters, she is not doing as well as Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

This has caused much concern on the left, where even the editor-in-chief of Mother Jones bashed millennials for their embrace of third-party candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein. (“The Cure to Hillary Clinton’s Problem With Millennials?” the website wrote in March. “Donald Trump.”)

Clinton has since made a massive push for the younger vote. She wrote an article for millennial-focused website Mic in advance of her speech. The essay hit issues similar to those in her speech: college affordability, child care costs, the minimum wage. “In large part because of all of you, I am convinced that America’s best days are ahead of us,” she wrote. “There’s a lot that needs fixing — and we’re going to fix it together.”

Last week, Clinton’s Pennsylvania campaign launched “Pennsylvania Millennials for Hillary,” signing up a bunch of young people to stump for Clinton. The Pennsylvania campaign is making a push to register young voters in advance of the October 11th deadline in the state.

“Organizers on college campuses are mobilizing thousands of students to help with voter registrations, phone banks, and canvassing at local offices and campus headquarters,” a Hillary campaign aide said. “We also have active campus chapters engaged both offline and online organizing. Now that students are back on campus, we’re very excited millennials have another way to get involved, spread our positive message, and support Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton does have an advantage in Pennsylvania: Per a recent Associated Press report, Trump’s campaign has a “scattershot approach to the state.” Even if Trump continues rising in the polls, Clinton may be able to out-organize him to victory here.

After her speech, Clinton hung around to shake hands with the 100-plus in attendance in the Great Court at Temple’s tiny Mitten Hall. She did not stick around for Temple’s world-record attempt for peanut butter and jelly sandwich-making later tonight.