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MEMO: What’s at Stake for Young Voters This Election

Voters under 35 matched Baby Boomers (aged 52 to 70 years old) for the first time this year as a share of the electorate. Millennial voters are a diverse group, from those who are currently in college to young parents beginning to have families of their own to entrepreneurs starting businesses.

This year’s Democratic primary engaged and energized millennials, resulting in the most progressive platform ever in party history. Democrats have already made history in selecting Hillary Clinton as the first woman presidential nominee from a major party. Hillary embodies the fights and values that youth care about most: inclusivity and community, equal opportunity and a fair shot. She has heard and addressed millennial concerns, and she’ll never stop fighting for them.

Making College Debt-Free

Hillary and Democrats believe that cost should not be a barrier for anyone who chooses to go to college, and student debt should not hold Americans back after they leave school. Too often, millennials must balance their dreams of higher education against staggering costs. Tuition at in­-state public colleges and universities has risen more than 40 percent in the last ten years, and outstanding student debt now exceeds $1 trillion.

Hillary worked with Sen. Bernie Sanders to develop the New College Compact, to help millions of Americans who are grappling with staggering student loan debt. Her plan will reduce costs for students attending four-year public institutions and provide free in-state tuition for families making less than $125,000, and she would make community colleges tuition-free. For those who have already completed a degree, borrowers can refinance their loans and would never have to spend more than 10 percent of their income on paying them back. Hillary’s plan will provide debt relief to an estimated 25 million people, and forgive college debt after 20 years. College students and graduates can actually see how much they can save under Hillary’s plan with the ‘college calculator’ for families.

The closest that Donald Trump has come to involving himself in higher education issues is making millions through his for-profit Trump University. The company has been the object of class-action lawsuits and ongoing investigation. While Trump  University advertised itself as a real estate course that would help its students access wealth, employees were instead trained to use aggressive sales tactics to make participants take on more debt to pay for more expensive course packages. The program reportedly encouraged people to cash in their 401Ks and open up new lines of credit to pay for these courses; recruiters were actually trained to target single parents with hungry kids.

An Economy That Works for Millennials

Millennials know our system too often has stacked the deck for those at the top, has burdened their generation with excessive student debt and has tolerated too much injustice in our society. Millions of millennials entered the workforce during one of the worst recessions in our nation’s history, and as a result, many are still struggling to find good­-paying jobs. In fact, roughly one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average.

Hillary Clinton believes that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential ­and that means addressing the social and economic disparities that stand in the way of people succeeding. Hillary will build an economy that works for everyone ­ not just those at the top, and create new pathways to  jobs and career opportunities for young Americans.

As president, she will make the largest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II and invest in apprenticeships that provide pathways of opportunity ­because college shouldn’t be the only path to economic stability.  She will also help small businesses grow and pursue smarter, fairer, tougher trade policies that put American workers first, and oppose trade deals like the TPP that do not meet this standard.  Hillary has spent her entire career fighting for equal opportunity and policies that help young families succeed ­and that will continue in the White House. She’ll champion paid leave, affordable childcare, and equal pay for women ­so that everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. She will get incomes rising and close the wage gap, including by raising the minimum wage.

Hillary also understands that the burden of student debt coupled with the struggle to find good-paying jobs has made it harder for millennials to pursue homeownership. She will break down barriers to make housing more affordable. Democrats are committed to expanding affordable rental housing as well as putting sustainable home ownership into the reach of more families.

In the meantime, experts have suggested Donald Trump’s proposals could blow a $1 trillion hole in the economy, spark a recession, and our economy would lose 3.5 million jobs. Trump has no realistic economic plans for millennials, or for anyone else for that matter.

Health Care & Reproductive Freedom

Hillary will fight to protect the Affordable Care Act ­ which allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26 ­and take additional steps to expand access to quality and affordable coverage.  Hillary will work with governors to expand Medicaid in every state, so that access to care no longer depends  on where you live ­ and pursue efforts to give all Americans the choice of a public-­option insurance plan. She’ll work to get health care costs under control so those with insurance can get the care they need and  stand up to pharmaceutical companies who dramatically increase the price of lifesaving prescription drugs. She will fight for an AIDS-­free generation.

Democrats understand the necessity of protecting women’s right to choose. That’s why Hillary will work to overturn the Hyde Amendment, so that cost doesn’t stand in the way of low-­income women accessing reproductive health care services. And she will continue to fight Republican efforts that would de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Donald Trump would work to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood, leaving millennials to shoulder additional health care costs.

Climate Change & Environmental Justice

Hillary’s plans for our nation will grow jobs that fit the 21st century economy and ensure clean air and water for generations to come. She has a plan to transform U.S. energy and take on climate change. Hillary believes in creating a cleaner, safer planet to fuel America’s clean energy future. As president, she will update the American energy infrastructure, including upgrading the electric grid, dramatically improving our rail systems for safety and replacing outdated pipelines. She has called for installing half a billion solar panels across America by the end of her first term and partnering with state and local communities to cut carbon pollution and expand the use the clean energy.

Donald Trump doesn’t even believe climate change exists, calling it a hoax by the Chinese. If elected, he would be the only global leader to reject climate change. He has also advocated eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency and turning his back on international agreements to combat global warming.

Hillary and Democrats understand that climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and have a plan to address it. With smart investments, we can make America the world’s clean energy superpower, create jobs nationwide, decrease expenses for working families and produce better public health outcomes.

Ending Systemic Racism & Reforming Our Criminal Justice System

Millennials are strongly moved to action on social justice issues and value equal opportunity for all Americans. Our nation still has a long way to go in ending the effects of discrimination. Democrats are committed to ending systemic racism and mass incarceration.

Racial bias disproportionately impacts African-American and Latino communities and have resulted in mass incarceration and distrust between neighborhoods and law enforcement. Those who have served time are marked in other ways that prevent successful reintegration to society, including finding work. Hillary’s criminal justice reform plan will focus federal enforcement resources on violent crime and not simple marijuana possession, which account for a large number of drug arrests. She has laid out a plan to increase support for drug treatment and measures to increase trust. She will also prioritize treatment and rehabilitation, rather than jail time for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. As president, Hillary will take executive action to “ban the box”  for federal employers and contractors so that applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications. Hillary will bring community stakeholders and police forces together in developing new guidelines for use of force to rebuild trust in our communities.

In stark contrast, Donald Trump would set us back. He regularly spreads vicious stereotypes about communities of color. He kicked off his campaign by calling those of Mexican heritage criminals and rapists and the centerpiece of his campaign is shutting people out with a wall on our southern border. Trump has threatened  to change the U.S. Constitution to get ridof birthright citizenship. He proposes to ban Muslims and picked a fight with a Muslim-American Gold Star family. Trump has suggested appointing judges to turn back LGBT rights and supports legislation discriminating against transgender people. His appeal to African American includes insulting the entire population as having no jobs and living in poverty. The U.S. Justice Department sued Trump’s real estate company twice for discriminating against African Americans. Trump’s campaign has given white supremacist groups a platform and regularly promotes divisive fear-mongering that would exacerbate the problems in our criminal justice system. The list goes on.

Hillary and Democrats believe that Americans are stronger together and are committed to policies that dismantle systemic inequality. We all must work together to lift each other up. We recognize that prosperity does not come at the expense of each other.

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