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Trouble with the Youth Vote

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Republicans have begun to pay serious attention to the party’s problems with black, Latino and Asian voters, but the GOP also performs miserably with young Americans.

Recent polling shows Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by nearly three-to-one among voters under 35, but this youth vote preference for Democrats is nothing new. Obama crushed both Romney and McCain by similar margins; in fact, without his lopsided victory among under 35’s, Obama would have lost his bid for re-election.

It’s crucial to the party’s survival and future success that Republicans begin fighting more effectively for young people, emphasizing issues and attitudes that can appeal to them. Younger candidates might actually help: in six out of the last seven presidential contests, the GOP nominee has been older than his Democratic rival. The only exception came in 2004, with George W. Bush two years younger than John Kerry. Coincidentally, that was the only race since 1988 in which the Republican actually won a popular vote majority.

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