Clinton goes after disenchanted millennials with warning about Trump

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  • Clinton said Trump does not share the values of young voters
  • Her campaign needs to keep millennials from voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein

Philadelphia (CNN)Hillary Clinton made a direct appeal Monday to a demographic group that continues to be deeply skeptical of the Democratic nominee: millennials.

Addressing a largely younger crowd here at Temple University, Clinton argued that her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, does not share their values, and that in contrast, she has fought her entire life for children and young people and would be their biggest advocate in the White House.
    Clinton said that young people she has spoken with to over the course of this campaign have expressed concerns about divisiveness and discrimination.
    "Too many young black men and women made to feel like their lives are disposable; too many immigrants living in fear of deportation; too many young LGBT Americans, bullied; too many young women and men assaulted," Clinton said.
    Clinton emphasized efforts to promote affordable tuition and combat college debt. These topics were at the core of the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders -- the raspy, populist Vermont senator who proved to be formidable challenger to Clinton as he overwhelmingly won the support of young people and liberals.
    "As you know better than most, tuition keeps going through the roof and debt keeps piling up," Clinton said. The crowd broke out into cheers as Clinton continued: "I worked with Bernie Sanders on a plan."
    In a speech that drew on her history as a young Democratic activist as well as personal anecdotes about her mother, Clinton openly acknowledged this obvious truth: that young people are disenchanted and disillusioned with the current political system.
    "I remember wrestling with the challenge when I was a student during the Vietnam War," Clinton said. "It can be tempting to think that no one will tell you the truth and nothing is ever going to change."
    Younger voters overwhelmingly backed President Barack Obama in 2012 -- giving him a 29 point lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to exit polls. In 2008, Obama easily outpolled Republican John McCain among -- 66% to 32%.
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    But the enthusiasm that young voters -- including many first-time voters -- showered on Obama, however, has not transferred over to Clinton.
    One obstacle getting in Clinton's way: third party candidates.
    A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 36% of voters under 30 plan to support Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or the Green Party's Jill Stein.
    With just 50 days left until Election Day, the Clinton campaign is relying heavily on popular, big-name Democratic surrogates to help court undecided and unenthusiastic voters.
    Last week, it dispatched Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to battleground states.
    And Priorities USA, a super PAC backing Clinton, announced last week that they are launching a multimillion-dollar digital campaign to discuss "how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump."
    Priorities has conducted polling on voters backing Johnson and Stein -- research they will use to determine how those individuals can be persuaded to back Clinton, according to Priorities spokesman Justin Barasky.
    The lead that Clinton has enjoyed since the Democratic National Convention in July has largely evaporated, and she is now neck-and-neck with Trump in both national and swing state polls.
    "This is going to be close. We need everyone off the sidelines," Clinton said Monday. "Not voting is not an option. That just plays into Trump's hands."
    A vote against Trump, Clinton concluded, would show that world that "America is better than this. America is better than Donald Trump."