At USF, Hillary Clinton's challenge with young voters stands out
TAMPA - "I need you," Hillary Clinton declared Monday, the stage behind her filled with a diverse group of college students.
She was at Temple University in Philadelphia, but the plea was no less intended to reach the campus of University of South Florida here, and many others like it across the United States.
Clinton, 68, has a problem with young voters -- unable to summon the excitement instilled by the man she wants to replace, President Barack Obama. In Florida, the biggest swing state, turning that around is crucial for the Democrat.
USF students largely favor Clinton over Donald Trump, but spend a couple hours here, and the lack of enthusiasm is palpable. There is talk of third-party candidates. Or simply not voting.
"I’m not crazy about either candidate," said Alexas McLendon, 22, a senior mass communications major from Tampa, who sat outside the bookstore on Thursday. "Neither of them seem genuine."
She liked Bernie Sanders, Clinton's vanquished primary rival. McLendon realizes some of his ideas were fairy tales, in line with the Facebook meme she saw of Cinderella Sanders. "But he seems more of a real person. And I think that’s why more young people liked Obama, too. My grandma is voting for Hillary, but I’m not feeling that way.”
“If Bernie were still in I’d be excited,” she explained. “Once he was over, I was over it, too. This election you’re forced to pick the lesser of two evils. And I don’t like the feeling of that."
She also doesn’t like what she perceives as Clinton pandering to young black voters or the constant attacks on Trump. “That's bullying and I don’t like bullying. It says a lot about you if you have to sink to that level.”