Billionaire activist Tom Steyer announced this week that his organization NextGen Climate has successfully set up shop on at least 100 campuses nationwide.
Steyer’s ambitious $25 million effort seeks to rally millennial voters behind candidates with green agendas, wooing them with an aggressive social-media push, as well as film screenings and events held at trendy breweries and concert venues.
By November, NextGen Climate seeks to establish a presence on more than 200 campuses in seven key battleground states.
Steyer’s campus-focused voter outreach was announced in April—the same month Pew Research Center reported that millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States.
More blue-collar and union voters—traditionally Democrats’ core constituency—have shown themselves more willing to support Trump this election cycle. So NextGen’s outreach comes at a critical moment for the Democratic Party.
“We know that millennials are engaged in politics every day, but not always at the ballot box, and young people in particular have a lot at stake in this election,” NextGen’s vice president recently said. “Our campus program is unparalleled by any non-candidate campaign and shows the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.”
NextGen’s plan isn’t without obstacles. While millennials are more concerned about climate change than other generations, their top political issue remains the economy, a recent Rock the Vote/USA Today poll showed.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.