Hillary Clinton has been playing the “woman card” a lot lately, even accusing the Sanders campaign of misogyny when it comes to Hillary’s positions on gun control. But pandering to identity politics isn’t working for her campaign this time around, especially with the next generation of women voters.
The historic nature of Clinton’s campaign doesn’t resonate with millennial women the same way it does with other women, say strategists, because young woman believe someone will break the Oval Office glass ceiling even if it doesn’t happen in 2016. “To them it seems obvious and indisputable that if Clinton doesn’t win, some other woman will, and soon,” one Democratic strategist and Clinton supporter said, adding that Clinton seems “too old, too moderate and too caught up in another time.”
Peter Hart, a top Democratic pollster, said millennial women are more “enamored” with Sanders partly because of Clinton’s personality. While the group appreciates her policy chops and experience, “when it comes to the more personal side, whether she is easy-going, likeable, relating well, she does less well,” Hart said.
Katherine Jellison, a professor of women’s history at Ohio University, argues that, in some respects, it’s a generational issue. “She’s your mom’s candidate,” Jellison said. “She and the Clinton machine seem like old news to a lot of millennials. And if you think about where youthful activism has been —other than LGBT issues — it really hasn’t been with gender issues but class issues, like the Occupy movement.”
Voters on both sides of the aisle are sick of the political establishment and governing by dynasty. The desire to shake up government and inject ideas into Washington is not a uniquely Republican phenomenon, it seems to be a cultural one. And that “ideas before identity” trend alone should have the Clinton camp very, very worried.