Ready for Hillary, the primary super-PAC that is plotting to wrap up the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination for Hillary Clinton, is working hard to woo the college-aged voting bloc that fell for Barack Obama like a blind roofer in 2008.
Organizers for Clinton, 66, are heavily engaged in outreach efforts to voters (and voters-to-be) aged 16 to 30, reports Mother Jones.
The chief operative behind the youth-vote push is Rachel Schneider, a former Obama campaign youth vote coordinator.
Schneider, 25, a Northwestern University grad who studied journalism, hooked up with Obama’s re-election campaign as an intern and was eventually promoted to national youth vote coordinator.
For the last few months, she has been canvassing college campuses looking for eager converts who are ready to buy into Clinton’s 2016 magic. The goal of the cross-country blitz is to sew up on-the-ground support staffers before any other Democrats seriously enter the presidential fray.
Iowa – home to the nation’s first presidential caucus – has been a focal point, but Schneider has spent time all over, from Nevada to Florida to New Hampshire.
“I’ve been focused on identifying students on campuses who are interested in being part of this movement from the ground floor,” Schneider told Mother Jones.
The plan is to create a more decentralized, more innovative atmosphere in the impending Clinton campaign, and to avoid a top-down infrastructure — something Ready for Clinton operatives believe hindered Clinton in 2008.
The super PAC is colluding with an outfit called 270 Strategies (motto: “Building Winning Grassroots Campaigns”) — a firm made up of senior Obama campaign veterans.
“A campaign can get many benefits from recruiting a college student,” Mitch Stewart, a 270 Strategies cofounder (and Obama’s 2008 director of field operations in Iowa), told Mother Jones. “Beyond getting their vote, you can get a lot of energy and activism and enthusiasm that can invigorate an entire campaign.”
As the leftist magazine notes, college students are frequently excitable idealists who don’t have real jobs or anything to fill up their time, so they are great fodder for manning phone banks and going door to door.
More broadly, Ready for Clinton hopes to create genuine zeal among college-aged students for its sexagenarian candidate who was born before cake mix, credit cards, computer hard disks, McDonalds and Disneyland were invented.
The reason is pretty obvious: Fifty-seven percent of voters under age 30 pledged their support for Obama in the Democratic caucuses in 2008.
“I’m still, to this day, surprised that the Hillary team didn’t do more,” Tobin Van Ostern, the 2008 national director of Students for Barack Obama, told Mother Jones. “Particularly after it was clear that young people were supporting Obama by a lot and he was able to turn them out.”
This time around, polls say voters between the ages of 18 and 39 tend to view Clinton more favorably than their parents do.
“I think students really do see that Hillary stands for the issues that they care about and that she’s willing to fight for those issues,” Schneider told the liberal mag.
There are already Students for Hillary groups on 33 college campuses across the country. The heaviest concentration is in the Northeast. The number is expected to swell as primary and caucus season nears.
Every week, Schneider hosts a bunch of conference calls to teach fresh-faced, Clinton-loving college students the fundamentals of grassroots political campaigning. Lessons include, for example, how to use Facebook to conscript additional students.