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Bernie Sanders Recruits Teenage Voters for Iowa Caucus With ‘Prove Them Wrong’ Campaign

The progressive candidate is counting on the Hawkeye State’s youth to give him an edge over Hillary Clinton

Image by Phil Roeder via Flickr

Bernie Sanders won over Killer Mike in 2015, saw Ben & Jerry’s stump for the campaign in December, and garnered effusive praise in Joe Biden’s recent televised CNN interview. Now the Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful is trying to wrest high schoolers’ eyeballs from their mobile devices with his new Prove Them Wrong website.

Mobilizing teenagers, many of whom are legally unable to vote, might seem like an odd strategy, a sort of MTV-ification of the Sanders campaign, if you will. But there is a method to Sanders’ madness. Prove Them Wrong is aimed squarely at Iowan high schoolers who are currently 17 but will turn 18 by Election Day (November 8, 2016).

“They say young Iowans won’t show up to caucus for Bernie. In fact, they’re counting on it,” the site reads. “They say our generation doesn’t care about the world around us, the wars on the horizon, the theft of our democracy, the debt we’re inheriting, and the job market we’re entering. If you are 17 and will be 18 by Election Day... you can caucus for Bernie.”

As the site makes clear, Sanders is calling on these potential voters to caucus for him and prove everyone wrong. Those who sign up for Prove Them Wrong can earn points in various ways: 20 points when signing up for text alerts; 15 points for pledging to volunteer; 15 points for starting a group at a school; 10 points for sharing on Twitter; and 10 points for liking Bernie on Facebook. When supporters earn 25 points or more, they receive a Bernie campaign t-shirt.

Sanders surged past Hillary Clinton in Iowa for a five-point lead, according to Quinnipiac University poll published Tuesday. But while Sanders enjoys a lead in favorability over Clinton, Quinnipiac also found that Iowa voters feel that Clinton is more electable. Sanders’ team is certainly aware of this electoral reality, and counting on Sanders’ strong appeal to young voters. So the Prove Them Wrong campaign might be an attempt to mitigate any late voter swing toward Clinton on February 1 when Iowans caucus.

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