Young Clintonistas Fired Up, Ready To Go

No matter how much we read, think and talk to other people, it’s impossible entirely to remove the impact of personal (which mean generational) experience in perceiving events as they happen and people as we encounter them. That’s why I found Suzy Khimm’s TNR piece on a generation gap among Hillary Clinton’s supporters quite interesting:

For Clinton’s younger supporters—many of whom…were Barack Obama campaign volunteers—their memories of the scandals and pseudo-scandals of the Clinton years are hazy at best, filtered through the soft focus of childhood. In sharper relief for them are the accomplishments that Hillary has racked up since then—U.S. senator, 2008 candidate, secretary of state—which her young Arlington supporters quickly rattled off when asked why they were backing her.

Interesting enough, according to Khimm, the younger Clintonistas are also less likely to see the current attacks on HRC as a continuation of a Republican vendetta against the whole family. No, they tend to blame the media:

[L]ike many of Hillary’s young supporters gathered in Arlington, [Renzo] Olivari doesn’t blame Republicans or a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Instead, he faults the media itself for driving the controversy over the Clinton Foundation, the Libya intervention, and Clinton’s use of her personal email at the State Department. (The New York Times broke the story on her personal email, going off a tip from an unidentified source.) “The media—they’re bringing these allegations and these scandals up to see if anyone else in the Democratic side will emerge as a strong candidate and they can go head to head,” says Olivari, who hopes to run for office one day. He adds: “That sells, if you put that out, it sells. It’s them trying to tailor the election to their own needs, rather than what the election is.”

The whole campaign, says Khimm, seems to have incorporated the belief in building a grassroots communications organization that can bypass the media. If that sounds familiar, it’s what to a considerable extent (contra all the talk about his “media lapdogs”) Barack Obama did in 2008.

And that leads to the most interesting irony: HRC ’16 may feel more like an Obama campaign than either her own in 2008 or her husband’s back in the 1990s.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.