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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (January 27, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (January 27, 2016)

Here we go, folks. It’s showtime. We are just 5 days away from the Iowa caucuses. It’s been a long ride to this point, but we’re here, and turnout among Millennial voters could prove decisive on Monday. Have a tip? Be sure to stay in touch throughout primary season. Be sure to share this week’s Millennial Memo, and sign up for updates here.

CLINTON PROMISES TO TACKLE COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY IN FIRST 100 DAYS: Speaking yesterday at a “Get Out the Caucus” event at the Hotel Winnershiek in Decorah, Iowa, Secretary Clinton said: “people ask me what I plan to do in my first 100 days. Tackling this issue [college affordability] is one of them.”

GEOGRAPHY OF MILLENNIAL CAUCUS-GOERS COULD DETERMINE VICTORY IN IOWA: “With the critical Iowa caucuses just a week away and polls showing Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton neck-and-neck, geography may play a bigger role than turnout in favoring Clinton… Iowa is a caucus not a primary. That means a supporter in one place is not necessary as valuable as a supporter in another place. Just like how the electoral college system makes it so extra Democrats votes are worth less in Vermont than in Ohio, the caucus process makes it so extra supporters in a heavily Sanders precinct are worth less than if they were in a battleground precinct… Take the university towns: More than a quarter — 27 percent — of Sanders supporters come from just three counties of Iowa’s 99, according to the Register poll, each home to one of the state’s largest universities. But those three counties award only 12 percent of the total 1401 delegates at stake statewide… Unlike the electoral college, however, the caucuses are not winner-take-all, so delegates will be awarded even for second and third-place finishers. Delegates are awarded to candidates based on a complicated process, but how many delegates can be won at each precinct or county is fixed. It’s assigned by the party based on history, and does not change no matter how many people show up. That means that Sanders could double, triple or even quintuple support in a precinct, but can only win so many delegates there… Even if Sanders racks up delegates in population centers, Clinton can beat him by winning dozens of smaller counties.” (NBC News, 1/25/2016)

SANDERS PUSHES “GO HOME FOR BERNIE” STRATEGY TO SPREAD STUDENT CAUCUS-GOERS THROUGHOUT IOWA: “Ahead of Feb. 1, the day Iowa voters finally have their say, the Sanders campaign is activating “Go Home for Bernie,” a plan to dispatch a fleet of rental cars, vans and buses, if necessary, to carry students who are from Iowa back to their hometowns, where they will have maximum impact on the caucuses… In 2008, when Mr. Obama made young people a key part of the Iowa coalition that propelled him to victory; that year, 19 percent of caucusgoers were under 30. That was despite an early January caucus date, when many college students were on break. The Obama campaign had to persuade students from out of state to come back. This year, Mr. Sanders has the opposite challenge. College students will be in school, but concentrated in precincts around the universities where he is already expected to do well. The Sanders campaign has to persuade students who come from other parts of Iowa to go back to their home precincts, where a few votes could be the difference. The campaign is even looking past the college ranks and sending campaign literature to high school seniors who will be 18 by the general election, and thus qualified to caucus. It has also created a website,, that dares disaffected kids to vote.” (The New York Times, 1/23/2016)


NUMBER OF THE DAY: 59. That’s the percentage of the Sanders campaign’s 15,000 volunteers in Iowa that are between the ages of 18 and 34. (The New York Times, 1/23/2016)

DES MOINES REGISTER SPOTLIGHTS RUBIO’S HIGHER ED REFORMS IN ENDORSEMENT EDITORIAL: The Register in praise of Rubio: “We believe Rubio can inspire the base with his ideas on improving the economy, education system and social programs. In two meetings with the editorial board, the whip-smart senator displayed an impressive grasp of public policy detail, reeling off four-point plans on foreign policy and other issues. He proposes overhauling higher education and promoting vocational training, helping workers threatened by automation acquire skills rewarded by a new economy.” (The Des Moines Register, 1/23/2016)

KASICH BELITTLES THE IDEA OF FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE: When asked by WBUR what he thinks of President Obama’s free community college idea, Governor Kasich said: “‘Everything can’t be free. Somebody’s got to pay for something. My daughters are 16 years old, If every is free, I mean – what are you, kidding? We don’t live in Lake Wobegon – just everything is free. We got almost a 19-trillion-dollar debt.’” (WBUR, 1/25/2016)

INSKEEP ON CLEAR MESSAGING TO YOUNG VOTERS: Speaking as part of a roundtable on ABC’s This Week, NPR’s Steve Inskeep said: “Well, here’s the situation. Bill Clinton, when campaigning for his wife the other day, made a rather perceptive point, in which he said — and he was dissing Bernie Sanders by saying it a little bit — but Sanders has simpler slogans that are easier to say, easier to remember. He’s also, though, admitting to Hillary Clinton’s problem. If you look at an issue like, say, public education, just to take an example. Sanders has a very simple talking point, he wants to make public colleges and universities free for everybody. Hillary Clinton has a more nuanced position. She wants to make college more affordable, but still wants people to pay. It’s a different philosophy, really. And it’s a little bit harder to talk about.”

GRANHOLM PITCHES ACHIEVABILITY OF CLINTON’S COLLEGE PLAN IN RESPONDING TO INSKEEP: Responding to Inskeep’s comments, former Michigan Governor and Clinton surrogate Jennifer Granholm said: “Getting stuff done is the thing that moves me, that makes my — gives me goose bumps. If you want to talk about college, free college for all, the response is why would we give Donald Trump’s kids free college? I have a plan that is workable for real people and I’m going to work to get it done.”

AND THE CONCORD MONITOR CONCURS: “The plans Clinton has put forward – whether on foreign policy, making college more affordable, addressing climate change or increasing access to health care – display her knowledge of the issues. They are not pie-in-the sky, but achievable.” (Concord Monitor, 1/24/2016)

DEEP DIVE–BERNIE’S TRACK RECORD WITH YOUNG VOTERS: Senator Sanders’ 2-to-1 lead among young voters has been getting lots of media attention — from Democratic debates to the Sunday shows, so our friends over at CIRCLE took a look at just how well Sanders has performed with the constituency in the past. “Senator Sanders may be leading among youth in the national polls, but does he have a history of young people casting ballots for him? Recent national polls suggest that Senator Sanders currently leads Secretary Clinton among national samples of young people. According to the recent Rock the Vote/USA Today millennial poll, he leads nationally by 46%-35% among Democrat and Independent identified millennials (ages 18-34). The Economist/YouGov found that 44% of under-30 registered voters preferred him and 25% favored Secretary Clinton. Senator Sanders’ previous campaign record is in Vermont, where he has performed strongly among young people according to exit poll data. In his 2006 Senate election, Senator Sanders ran as an Independent and won 77% of young votes (compared to 65% of all votes). In his 2012 Senate re-election bid, again as an Independent, Senator Sanders received 86% of young votes (compared to 71% of all votes). Vermont, however, is demographically very different from the nation. During his last re-election campaign in 2012, for example, there were around 93,000 young citizens (18-29) in Vermont, of whom 93% were white non-hispanic. Nationally, in 2012, 62% of youth were white non-hispanic. The sample sizes of young people of color in Vermont are too small to indicate how many voted for Senator Sanders.  Among young people in Vermont, Senator Sanders has performed about the same regardless of the voters’ education levels but less strong among moderates than among liberals.”


Young Latinos Are Set To Change American Elections, Think Progress, Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Why More Colleges Are Emulating Deals Like the ASU-Starbucks Alliance, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Goldie Blumenstyk

Marco Rubio’s young-voter push, The Washington Post, Philip Bump