Motivate Young Voters, Don’t Bombard With ‘Politicians Are Corrupt’ Messages

[ 0 ] August 21, 2013 |

‘Trusted messenger’ who can present issues important to Millennials will help engage generation, says campaigns director for Center for American Progress Action Fund

The importance of the Millennial Generation cannot be underestimated when it comes to politics and future elections. A “trusted messenger” who can present issues that are important to Millennials will help engage young voters in the political process, says Emily Tisch Sussman, campaigns director at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and former director of the Young Democrats of America.

“You may not listen to a random volunteer who comes in from a different state, but what if there’s someone in your neighborhood that you already engage with?” Tisch Sussman says.

Watch Emily Tisch Sussman discuss the importance of America’s youth getting involved in politics with genConnect:

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Many young people feel like they’re shut out of the political process, Tisch Sussman says.

“If the messages they see every day are ‘politicians are corrupt’, ‘politicians get bought off’, ‘they district in ways that they don’t get voters they don’t want’ — how are young people going to feel like they have any entry point into this system?” she says.

The economy is the biggest issue facing all Americans, particularly young ones since they’re trying to get started, Tisch Sussman says. Young adults are extremely motivated by issues concerning the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community . “It’s been really interesting to see that, even ten years ago, LGBT rights was something that was considered politically difficult — nobody wanted to be out in front of the issue,” Tisch Sussman says. “We’re actually seeing that, across the board, be one of the biggest motivators for young people, to the point of them almost becoming single-issue voters on LGBT support.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional was extremely significant but “we need to go state by state,” Tisch Sussman says. The battle for LGBT rights is far from over, particularly in terms of transgender rights, since a person can still be evicted or fired because he or she doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles, she says.

Watch: Madeleine Albright – America’s Youth Holds the Key


Emily Tisch Sussman

One of the reasons the first Obama campaign was so successful in terms of getting out the youth vote was because the team went where young people were, Tisch Sussman says. “You can’t just build a system and assume that people are going to come to you the way that you want to give them the information,” she says. “You have to go to where they are.”

Watch: Rock the Vote Keeps Younger Generations Engaged in Elections

The Republican Party is having difficulty attracting the youth vote because the Millennial Generation does not connect with its platform, Tisch Sussman claims. “With young people, the message of no government isn’t really resonating,” she says. “They want smart government.”

Tisch Sussman encourages young people to make a difference in their own communities by running for public office. “It is so funny that, as a nation, we get so wildly excited for presidential elections, when the biggest impact on our lives can come from the local,” she says. “If you run for city council, if you run for something in your county — that can make a huge impact in your life.”

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About Emily Tisch Sussman: Emily worked as a Democratic strategist and most recently served as the Executive Director of Young Democrats of America, the nation’s largest partisan, youth-oriented political organization. She ran YDA through the 2012 Election, with record-breaking [...]
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