Much ink and many pixels have been spent trying to figure out how — or if — millennials will vote in this presidential election.
Many seem put off by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Some see no point in voting at all.
Others have hopped on the Gary Johnson bandwagon.
Will Mennie is helping drive it.
At Staples High School, the Class of 2014 member was vice president of the Philosophy Club. He also served on the School Climate Committee.
“Neither of the 2 presidential candidates seemed viable to me,” he says. “I had been looking into a 3rd option. The more I learned, the more I liked his sense of message and his sense of responsibility.”
Will found Johnson to be “very friendly.” He looked for ways to get involved.
Last month, the Johnson campaign sent an email to UA students. Almost immediately, Will became chair of his campus chapter.
Impressed by his work, the campaign called last week and asked him to introduce Johnson at a Phoenix rally. The request came hours before what Will admits was the Libertarian Party candidate’s “2nd Aleppo moment” — his inability to name a world leader he admired — but the chapter chair was undaunted.
Which is how, last Saturday, the young Westporter found himself in a jam-packed hotel ballroom, speaking about the man he firmly believes could be the next president of the United States.
Will did his own research for his speech. He mentioned “facts people don’t know, like he was the most financially successful governor. He lowered taxes, and created thousands and thousands of jobs.”
The event drew 12,000 viewers on Facebook Live. That — and Johnson’s strong speech — convinced Will more than ever that despite two major gaffes, his candidate has a legitimate shot at winning.
“Being a campaigner on TV is very different from having the decision-making skills to be president,” Will insists.
“Those things” — Johnson’s Aleppo and world leader stumbles — “won’t sway my vote. He’s still a candidate I very much back. He’s had a lot of applicable experience — much more than Trump.
“Hillary does have experience. But something about her rubs me the wrong way. I think a lot of millennials feel that way.”
I understand Gary Johnson’s appeal to a certain segment of the electorate. But I’m convinced that no matter what you think of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one of those 2 will be our next president. I asked Will if a vote for Johnson is not really a wasted vote.
His response: “It’s an uphill battle. But I genuinely think he’s electable.
“Only 30% of Americans know him by name or by his accomplishments. If in the next 30 days we can get attention beyond him forgetting things, he has a chance. If more people knew more about him than just 2 minutes of news clips — if they knew he’s so socially understanding, but also financially responsible — that could happen.”
The Phoenix event was encouraging, Will says. On Facebook Live, “the likes and smiles flooded in.”
This is his 1st presidential vote. The Staples grad is registered in Tucson.
“Come Election Day, that’s where I’ll be,” he promises.
(Click here for Facebook’s full video of the Phoenix rally. Will’s speech begins around 21:20, and lasts 7 minutes. Johnson speaks at 34:40. Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)