“I’m for moving us to a point as a country where we have debt-free college,” Martin O’Malley told a group of Dartmouth students a day after announcing his candidacy for president. It’s part of an effort to capture the hearts of America’s youth, a powerful voting bloc (if they show up!) that was crucial to President Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.
O’Malley’s effort includes more than harping on student-loan debt. He’s shown he’s not above flattery. He also told those students at Dartmouth that he’s “rarely met someone under 40 who denies climate change is real” or “wants to scapegoat immigrants.”
He’s also been playing his guitar quite a bit.
And, in a pinch, he’ll subtly highlight his relative youth (as compared with primary opponents Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) with talk of a need for “new leadership.”
He may be onto something. A majority of Democratic voters across all age brackets view Clinton favorably, but millennials don’t like her as much as Gen Xers do. “Younger millennials” like her even less.
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