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The rise of young Super PACs

March 10, 2015

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A Millennials For Jeb beer koozie, via @MillennialsJeb on Twitter.

Believe it or not, millennials are putting Jeb Bush’s face on flasks and beer koozies.

That’s just one of the few ideas that the Millennials for Jeb super PAC (political action committee) uses to attract young donors to its cause — getting Jeb Bush elected president in 2016. But besides raising money for the former Florida governor’s presidential run, Millennials for Jeb wants young people to get active in politics.

That’s why the PAC is pledging to provide 15 percent of every donation to “an ambitious voter registration effort aimed at the Millennials who are not registered to vote,” according to its website. The aim is to get millennials voting and end political gridlock in Washington, which, coincidentally, electing Jeb Bush would also do — again, according to the PAC’s website.

The college senior who started the PAC, Lucas Agnew, believes his generation needs to be more involved in the political process and that super PACs would work as a great tool to get things started. He’s quoted saying this in an article from the National Journal:

“A lot of people think that it’s just a tool for the wealthiest donors, Washington insiders, but they’re relatively easy to start,” he said. “We think it could be the new frontier of political activism. That sounds crazy to say, but if anyone can start one, why not? Why not create your own platform with a super PAC and try to reach people?”

While the idea and Millennials for Jeb certainly has its detractors, it’s one that might already be working, at least on a smaller scale. Millennial-run super PACs in Philadelphia are becoming major players raising funds in the city’s mayoral race, according to philly.com. The biggest so far, Philly 3.0, has raised $2 million in funds, the website reports.

Really, the Millennials for Jeb PAC is trying to take advantage of two things about the generation: its low voter turnout and reluctance to identify with political parties. These two things, the site argues, are a direct result of the split in Washington that has brought about millennial’s distrust in the political process and ballot apathy.

As the site’s “Pledge” page reads in big, bold letters:

“We the Millennials, in order to form a more perfect union, pledge to work towards a bipartisan future.”

But will it get millennials active in politics? Only time will tell. In the meantime, at least they’ll have something to keep their beers cold.

Story Ideas

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OpenSecrets.org 2014 PAC data

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  • Rian Bosse

    Rian Bosse is a PhD student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012 and worked for a small daily newspaper, the Daily Journal, in his hometown o...

    View all posts

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