Any given presidential election is settled by a select few states classified as battlegrounds. Colorado is without question one of those states that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should heavily contest. It also is home to one of the only two Senate seats that Republicans have targeted as ripe for flipping for months (the other is, of course, Harry Reid’s Nevada seat).
Former Congressman and failed presidential candidate Tom Tancredo has endorsed Trump. However, Tancredo’s recent political history in Colorado leaves a lot to desire. In the 2010 gubernatorial election, Tancredo bolted the Republican Party to run as a Constitution Party candidate, ultimately getting over three times the number of votes the Republican nominee received. In 2015, Tancredo once again quit the GOP. Hilariously, it was only a few months ago when Tancredo questioned Trump’s commitment to border security.
One the other political side, the Clinton campaign recently announced that former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar will be in charge of her transition team. Salazar’s expressed support for both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fracking has led to criticism from the Left (given the fact that the more that people hear about TPP, the more they like it, that is not a bad thing, and fracking has been enormously beneficial to Colorado’s economy). On the Right, Salazar is viewed by some, such as Michelle Malkin, as “a job-killing, truth-sabotaging, law-skirting, media-bullying corruptocrat who just won’t let go of power” for threatening a reporter, “refus[ing to support] emergency drilling requests in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even if gas prices reached $10 a gallon…[and] arbitrarily pull[ing] nearly 100 oil leases in Utah — costing the state thousands of jobs — based on bogus eco-claims that were refuted by the Interior Department’s own inspector general.” I include reference to Salazar here merely to demonstrate how important Colorado is to both campaigns.
I realize that I have committed a cardinal sin of journalism by burying the lede until this point in the article, but the above provides important context to a state that has not received too much focus from the media, probably because Clinton is blowing Trump out of the water (so much so that she is not even planning on airing ads before Election Day), and even Gary Johnson may be doing better among millennial voters than Trump in the state.
Trump’s struggles with young voters in Colorado might explain why his campaign has placed one of them in charge of a campaign office. However, this volunteer is so young that he can’t even vote! Weston Imer, the co-chair of the Trump campaign in Jefferson County, one of the most important counties in the state,is twelve years old. Although his mom is the field coordinator for the county, this is still pretty remarkable.
I actually think that this is awesome. As someone who was extensively involved with a litany of campaigns well before I was able to vote, I think that it is crucial for young people to get involved in the political process and be given a lot of responsibilities. Imer is recruiting his friends to join the campaign (and I know just how difficult this can be), and intends to stay active through the election, although school will make running the office’s day to day operations a little bit more difficult. Imer harbors political ambitions of his own, and is currently planning on running for president himself in 2040, with Barron Trump as his running mate, although Trump will be a few months’ shy of the eligible age (after all, it isn’t too difficult to imagine that Trump’s children are picturing themselves as candidates in the short term).
The more serious ramifications of Trump’s youth outreach are how nonexistent it is. Students for Trump focuses on organizing college students to support his campaign. They have physical presences on over 100 campuses, and a social media presence that far dwarfs that of Students for Hillary. The group “has emailed campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks numerous times, typically with data they’ve collected from people at Trump rallies or at the group’s own pro-Trump events. But he has never received any indication that the information was used. Hicks would just reply with ‘thank you.’”
With Colorado rapidly slipping out of reach for the Trump campaign, maybe it’s possible that a 12-year-old can turn things around. However, the campaign’s complete lack of competent organizing of college aged students across the entire nation makes that an unlikely possibility, in Colorado and beyond.