The Ann Arbor News
April 24, 2009
Steve Hildebrand nearly gave up on politics before he met Barack Obama.
Introduced through an acquaintance, Hildebrand went on to become Obama's deputy national campaign manager during the historic run-up to the 2008 election.
During an appearance in Ypsilanti on Thursday, Hildebrand, who worked on a host of Democratic campaigns, made a bet: Young people, nicknamed the millennial generation, will be such a political force in the coming years that they'll throw any Democrat or Republican out of Congress who doesn't take their concerns seriously.
"If they don't start being leaders instead of politicians worried about the next election, this generation is going to rise up and throw them out of office and take over, so watch them," Hildebrand told members of the Washtenaw Economic Club at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.
This young generation, he said, is well-educated, adept at high-tech networking, engaged in civic affairs and cares deeply about addressing the economy, climate change, and socio-economic and racial disparities.
Hildebrand knows a thing or two about their political power. He basically summed up one of Obama's keys to victory as: It was the young people, stupid.
By all accounts, they're responsible for Obama's victory, he said. "Voters under the age of 30 turned out at a higher rate than voters 65-plus," Hildebrand said.