In a rare public address since leaving government, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the millennial generation, telling students at the University of California (Los Angeles) that more needs to be done to help them succeed economically.
Clinton spoke effusively of the generation, calling millennials “remarkable” and praising their volunteerism, ambition, openness, and passion. “It’s part of what makes millennials special,” she gushed.
She warned there is a “youth unemployment crisis” created by the weak economy they inherited, and stressed the need for more opportunities such as paid job training. She decried — to applause from the audience — businesses that have “taken advantage” of young people with unpaid internships.
“We need you. We need your energy. We need your talents. We need your commitment to participation,” Clinton continued. “We cannot let the millennial generation become a lost generation.”
The former first lady will need young people, too, if she runs for president in 2016. The demographic helped Barack Obama upset Clinton in 2008, and then propel him to the White House twice. In Iowa, young caucus-goers liked Obama over the next-closest competitor by a margin of more than 4-to-1, according to one survey. The margin was smaller in other states, but still significant.
It’s the danger heading into 2016 that Clinton “fears most,” Ben Smith argued. On Wednesday, Clinton called the 2008 campaign “a little bit ancient history.”
Clinton allies in the archipelago of super PACs that represent her deconstructed shadow campaign have been investing in reaching out to young people. And while there’s no doubt she cares about the issue on its merits, it seems Clinton was doing a bit of the same at UCLA.