After my first attempt at an article I wanted to write about something a little lighter. This topic has gained a lot of traction in recent times and is something witness on a regular basis. I have seen a lot of articles across the media suggest 'XYZ election' could have been won if the youth (normally the 18-35 age profile is referenced) vote had turned up in equal numbers to their elders. LSE-sponsored Opinum polls suggest that in the Brexit vote only 64% of 18-24 year olds voted versus 90% of those 65+. As the title suggests, this article will initially look at what I believe drives Millenials psyche and then actually translate that into solid, concrete votes. Basically a two prong approach of how to get those likes etc and then how to translate them into votes
I am not going to discuss policies here. It goes without saying that the Youth are typically more attracted to the left leaning peers, both in terms of economic and social policies. Whilst this is not quite a universal truth it holds up quite well across the globe (open for contradiction here if any regions demonstrate the opposite).
Appealing to the Youth
First thing first, get a candidate that is affable and can handle impromptu interactions with the public. Social Media has completely changed how politicians are perceived. An example of a politician who handles this well is Justin Trudeau, possibly the poster boy of the progressive Left. The cynical side of me sees his casual moments that 'happen' to be caught on camera as very calculated and cunning. He is the face of a very well oiled public relations team. Just remember the candid picture of him photobombing a wedding while jogging was taken by his official photographer.
The flip side to this is that every moment of unscripted interaction with public is a potential major setback While powerful oratory skills are still a great asset to have, a powerful 20 minute speech that is applauded by the broadsheets can be undone by a 5 second answer caught on a camera phone that gets turned into a parody video and share 500 thousand times. It really is that simple.Theresa May is an example of a leader who looks so uncomfortable interacting with the public, she never looks comfortable and you can tell she is being reined in from now to the finish line. Hillary Clinton was more effective at this but still looked a little shaky at times.
Social media is crucial but so far I don't think it has been utilised as effectively as possible by candidates. The crux of it is that it's easy to get followers of a well managed Facebook page or Twitter feed but I don't always see how that translates into high turnout and votes. This is where a party needs to think about what drives the Millenial mindset and moves me perfectly to the second part of article
How to get the Millenial Vote Out
Utilize the 'FOMO' concept. Millenials are constantly looking at what their peers are doing and what needs to be done. If you choose the correct candidate described above you can rely on an organic social media game through viral sharing of positive videos etc Channel these funds into events on election day where the potential electorate can attend and 'check in'. This will be the next level fo Millennial support here after simply liking or following a candidate. Crucially however the party will then provide transport to the polling stations (or as close as possible given the varying local voting laws). A number of events can be held over the course of the day and these will generate publicity and increase momentum. Turn voting into an experiential concept. The more aspects of the process that can be 'shared' and done together will increase the desire to participate.
The more radical suggestion would encounter a lot of obstacles and in all likelihood is more Minority Report than mainstream politics. However it would undoubtedly be a game changer with the younger vote. If voting could ever be doen digitally or online I believe the youth turnout jump instantly. This would meet resistance from incumbent, conservative parties, traditionalist and , given all the allegations of Russian interference in Western elections, most national security agencies. However for parties who know they clearly much more successful with younger voters it should at least be on the radar.
Ultimately making the youth turn up and vote is not an easy endeavour. They are disillusioned with many mainstream parties and cynicism typically ruins supreme. I don't believe they'll vote as much on policy as they will on gaining peer acceptance and approval. Unless they think it's something that their friends are doing they wont bother. Its no longer so much a case of 'win the hearts and minds' as it is of borrow their desire to be accepted, validated and not miss out.