As Gabby Orr at Politico writes, “Nobody involved in Donald Trump’s reelection thought the president would win the youth vote in 2020. But they didn’t think it would be this bad.” Orr interviewed more than 20 people from the Trump campaign. Here is a taste of her piece:
Others faulted the Trump campaign, accusing the president’s top aides of “outsourcing” his youth outreach program to Turning Point Action, the political action arm of the conservative campus group Turning Point USA.
Led by its 26-year-old founder, Charlie Kirk, the group oversaw myriad door-knocking and grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts this cycle, in addition to working with top White House aides like senior adviser Jared Kushner to plan events that put the president and his surrogates in front of young audiences. People involved with Kirk’s operation claimed his “herculean” efforts to boost Trump’s reelection were done without input or resources from the Trump campaign — much to their chagrin in the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election.
But two Trump campaign aides who have worked closely with Kirk said the campaign had its own youth outreach efforts that went beyond voters who are still in college. These aides described Turning Point’s messaging as too sycophantic to bring in young voters who might align more closely with conservatism but remain apprehensive about Trump himself. Kirk was afforded a primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August and has a close relationship with the president and some of his adult children.
“It’s a mistake to think that groups operating on college campuses alone are going to reach young voters outside of college,” said one of the aides.
Another Trump ally described Turning Point Action as ill-equipped to handle youth outreach for a major party presidential campaign “because it’s a relatively new organization without deeper community ties.”
People close to Kirk rejected these claims, suggesting the young activist and his group did what they could to help the president, and accused the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee of lacking the organizational skills and resources needed to reach broad swaths of young voters in the critical 2020 battlegrounds.
Read the entire piece here.