Going into tonight’s debate it is looking like Hillary Clinton’s election as the first woman elected President of the United States is almost certain. If national polls are believed, Hillary is ahead by 9 points, ahead in battleground states North Carolina and Nevada, and most shockingly is competitive in traditionally-red states Utah and Arizona, due to the popularity of 3rd party candidates. There is even talk that if Trump wins Texas, it will be by a closer margin than previous elections. Put simply for Trump to win, he not only has to win all traditionally red states, win all the battleground states and cut into states that are leaning toward Hillary, such as Pennsylvania or Michigan–a tall order for less than 3 weeks until Election Day.
With the Republican party imploding and talk of Democrats possibly re-taking both houses of Congress in addition to winning the presidency, all things would appear to be in Hillary’s favor. But Hillary and the Democrats should not get ahead of themselves. Just as the GOP faces internal and external challenges, the Democrats have problems of their own. Yes demographics are shifting in their favor–an increase in Asian, Latino and unmarried female and college educated voters, all groups that tend to vote Democrat. However there have been concerns throughout the election that young voters and non-whites, the ‘Obama-coalition’ who twice voted in record numbers for the first non-white president will not show up for Hillary.
Millennials, in particular black Millennials have long not had the enthusiasm for Hillary they had for Barack Obama. Part of this is generational and the other part is personal to Hillary. Millennials as a generation are becoming jaded with the two-party system with around 50% are unaffiliated with either the Democrats or the GOP. We are fed up with a Congress that cares more about corporate donations than doing what is best for the country.
On a personal level, many millennials of color simply do not trust Hillary as president. For black Millennials, we have not forgotten the ‘Three Strikes’ law that resulted in mass incarceration of both black and Latino males in the 1990s. We have not forgiven Hillary for her ‘super predator’ comment about African-Americans among other things. Most damaging, she has not presented a platform unique to black Millennials. She’s pursued the black vote the same way as generations of previous presidential candidates–going to black churches, the CBC, NAACP. The problem is black Millennials are not found in these places. Millennials as a generation are the least religious generation in American history. We’re found in college and in activist groups.
Nevertheless, USA Today has her commanding 68% of Millennial support to Donald Trump’s 20%. However we’re not voting for Hillary as much as we’re voting against Trump. If/when Hillary Clinton becomes president, she’s going to inherit an electorate that does not support her, that is too happy to criticize her and will be unforgiving of mistakes. Yes demographics are in favor of the Democrats but millennials have lost faith in American politics and the two-party system. That is not a good mix for new presidency, nor for a nation increasingly divided.