Millennials were only 19% of the vote in this election. Only 55% of them voted for Hillary Clinton when 60% had voted for Obama. And she had an opponent that scores so much lower with millennials. In fact, 8% of them voted for neither (nearly triple the amount that voted third party in 2012).
So, why couldn't Hillary Clinton reach millennials? Two reasons. One, they are the most progressive generation in American history (as long as there has been polling). Republican pollster Frank Luntz, said it is "frightening" how liberal this generation is. And Hillary is just not that progressive. Her middle of the road, pro-corporate positions didn't energize young voters. That's why they loved her Democratic opponent in the primaries, Bernie Sanders (plus, he was about 1,000 times more authentic than her).
But the second reason is also very important—she just didn't have much of a presence in digital media—the only form of media millennials consume. I would wager that her team, who was forever stuck in the politics of the 1990s, spent the overwhelming majority of their ad money on TV. Oops. Millennials don't own TVs. TV viewing among 18 to 24 year olds dropped over 40% in the last six years! I'm surprised it's not 100%. I can't find a single millennial who owns a TV and pays for cable.
So, advertising on television to try to convince younger voters to be on your side is hilarious and fruitless. Plus, they hate political ads. The trademark of this generation is authenticity. Is there anything more fake than a political ad?
There is one other part of digital she had almost no presence on—digital media. Her surrogates were on cable TV approximately 2 million times. You know what the median age of CNN viewer is? 61 years old! Fox News is 67. How many millennials can you find in a senior citizen center?
She went on "Between Two Ferns" and that's about it. She almost never did any digital media. Just controlled appearances with people who she knew were already on her side and would toss her softballs (to be fair that also describes most of old media). But her entire campaign clearly did not take it seriously. Was there any effort to have a continued presence in the media that all young people watch?
I know a lot of people won't believe me that this is not out of self-interest, but I have to point out the example of TYT, our online news network. We are the largest digital news network and among millennials, CNN is a distant second to us. We have 80 million unique viewers a month. We just had 4.5 million views on our live stream on Election Day (over 1 million hours of total viewing time—in one day!).
She refused to come on our show and would not allow any of her surrogates to come on. Oops. That was a gigantic progressive audience filled to the brim with millennials that she wouldn't reach out to. The arrogance of that is stunning. She thought she didn't need the millennial vote. How did that work out?
Now, let me assure you that we don't need her. Sure, it'd be interesting to interview a presidential candidate, but politicians are usually stiffs and we almost never have them on. Who wants to bore their audience with scripted talking points? More importantly, what do we need her for—we already have the audience! Was she going to get us to 81 million viewers?
And most importantly—we weren't running for president! She was. She needed every vote she could get and she left millions on the table because her staff was stuck in the old, old days where TV is king. Of course, she didn't have to just come on to our show—and we were tough on her during the primaries and the general election even though we are progressives (online we do real reporting). So, if she was too scared to get real questions (honestly, she probably couldn't have answered the questions we had for her), I understand that. Then go on other shows, have your staff go on all of them—over and over. It's not like they don't know how to do that when it comes to TV. They just disrespected digital media because they were woefully behind the times. And it cost them, dearly.
I'm not taunting her now with any secret agenda to get her on—the election is over. No, I'm telling Democrats this so that they don't continue to blow every election going forward because they think people are really swayed by the paper boys on the street corners and spend their time in all the wrong places (another hint—a millennial has no earthly idea what AM radio is).
Note to Democrats—if you were an actual progressive party, you couldn't ask for a better base than the most liberal generation ever. You might want to go talk to them.
—Cenk Uygur is the founder and host of online news show "The Young Turks" and chief executive of TYT Network.