At 75-years-old, Bernie Sanders is not a Millennial. Not even close. And yet, he is largely beloved by them. With national polls tightening and Election Day just days away, Hillary Clinton has recently come to heavily rely on Sanders' help in shoring up the Millennial vote. Sanders' message to Millennials, a voter bloc not known for actually showing up to the polls in great numbers, was simple: Think about your future.
In a conference call Saturday, just three days before the election, Sanders urged Millennial voters to think beyond the election's potential impact on the next four years. "We have an election coming up that is of enormous consequence," Sanders said. "And it really is not about the next four years, it is about the rest of your lives," Sanders said.
Citing the polarizing rhetoric of Donald Trump's campaign as well as the Republican nominee's comment that climate change was "a hoax," Sanders warned against assuming the country's next president would impact only the next four years. "As all of you know, we have struggled for hundreds of years with racism, with sexism, with discrimination of all forms," he said. "We do not need a president who is going to divide us up. We need a president who is going to bring us together and that is just what Secretary Clinton intends to do."
"The stakes are enormously high. Literally, in terms of climate change, the future of the planet is at stake."
The call was one of Sanders' many recent attempts to reach out to Millennials on Clinton's behalf. The Vermont senator has been urging young voters to head to the polls on Nov. 8 for over a month now and with good reason — Millennials hold a lot of potential voting power. There are now an estimated 69.2 million adults age 18-35, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census data. Millennial voters could soon surpass the 69.7 million Baby Boomers to become the largest voting bloc.
Using themes central to the presidential campaign he ran against Clinton in the Democratic primary, Sanders urged Millennial voters to continue to push for change by increasing their civic engagement. "I hope all of you know that change never takes place from the top on down," Sanders said on the call. "It always takes place — any important change in American history — from the bottom on up."
Citing big money in politics and Republican-led efforts to suppress the vote, Sanders emphasized the importance of engaging beyond the ballot box. "It's a responsibility. It means being involved in a fundamental way in the political process, standing up for social justice, for economic justice, for racial justice, and environmental justice."
"There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that on every important issue facing the American people Hillary Clinton's views are far, far, far superior to anywhere Donald Trump is coming from."
The potential power of the Millennial vote isn't lost on Clinton either. Speaking on the same call as Sanders did Saturday, she hailed America's youth as being "the most inclusive, progressive, entrepreneurial generation ever," adding they continued to inspire her (something she's brought up before).
"I think you're changing the world, one idea, one project, one cause at a time," Clinton said on the call. "I really believe you will decide this election."