In an awkward display of noticeable irony, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne stopped by campus last night to address a crowd of seven students on the subject of voter apathy among Millennials.
The event was hosted by the Common Sense Action Chapter at LSU, a bipartisan student organization that “engages Millennials on Millennial issues,” according to John Garrett Clawson, the group’s vice president of policy.
Clawson said specific issues important to the chapter include entitlement reform, education reform and incarceration reform.
Clawson said his organization previously contacted various student groups to attend the event, including College Republicans, College Libertarians, College Democrats, Young Americans for Liberty and Society of Political Interest and Networking (SPIN).
In his remarks, Dardenne spoke on the political indifference that plagues many of the nation’s young adults — an epidemic that Dardenne said reaches back to his years at LSU.
Dardenne, former Student Government president at the University, said he often struggled with the issue of student voter apathy during his time at LSU.
Dardenne stressed the potential sway young people could have in both local and national elections.
“The power that you could have as a voting bloc — it rivals any voting group in the country,” Dardenne said.
Dardenne cited Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency as a revolutionary example of inspiring young voter turnout among the electorate.
He said Obama was the first candidate in history to be marketed as a product, akin to a deodorant brand or a soft drink.
Dardenne said the Republican Party’s failure to galvanize the youth vote in recent elections was both because of ideological differences and an inability to successfully reach out to Millenials.
“Traditionally, younger people are viewed as being more ideologically liberal,” Dardenne said. “Republicans have to do a better job at reaching out not only to younger people but to a more diverse group of voters.”