NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the first time in a presidential election, registered millennials match the number of baby boomer voters, according to projections from the nonpartisan States of Change project. That means millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000), have about as much power in this election as their parents.
Now it’s just a matter of exercising that power.
Young supporters from both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns debated issues in the race for president. The event was moderated by Marla Diamond from WCBS 880, Sonia Rincon of 1010 WINS and Sara Tabatabaie, Digital Manager at Rock the Vote.
The debate took place at the Adorama Live Theatre at CBS Radio’s Hudson Square Studios, which will host another debate Monday, April 18. featuring supporters of the GOP. Diamond and Rincon will be back to moderate the event on Monday, along with Rock the Vote’s Sarah Audelo.
Friday’s event came on the heels of a raucous debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and ahead of the vital New York State primary on April 19.
The debate centered around topics that were important to the six young Democrats — three Sanders supporters and three Clinton supporters — who took the stage Friday morning.
As New Yorkers, the economy was a hot-button issue for the supporters, who sparred over the Glass-Stegall Act, Dodd-Frank reforms and raising the minimum wage.
“We need to make sure the big banks are regulated responsibly,” one Clinton supporter said.
PHOTO: Young Democrats Debate
Supporters on both sides of the debate agreed that rallying young voters was a crucial element for the success of their candidate and discussed roadblocks when it came to getting voters registered.
“It would totally change the outcome of the election if people could vote how they want to,” one Sanders supporter said, touting the candidate’s stance on online voter registration.
“We are out there, we are knocking on doors,” one Clinton supporter said.
Both sides agreed that social media has become a vital tool in raising awarness and gaining support for their candidates — especially for those of the Millennial generation.
“We’re becoming more passionate about our candidates because of social media,” one supporter said.
However, they had mixed opinions on how the tool was used.
“Social media really is a double-edged sword,” one Clinton supporter said, adding that while some material shared among young peers can be educational and passionate, some jokes about the candidates or their supporters can be offensive or misleading.
“I think social media is one of the greatest things to happen to Bernie Sanders’ campaign,” one supporter said, adding that she believed the large social media support for Sanders has helped compensate for what she believed was a ‘lack of mainstream media coverage’ of the candidate.
Throughout the debate, Tabatabaie stressed the importance for young people to get out and vote.
“This is the most diverse generation we’ve had in the history of this country,” Tabatabaie said. “…There’s so much at stake for young people in this country to care about.”
She later added that having open debates like Friday’s event were important because they show that that young people are “educated, passionate and engaged in the upcoming election.”
Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, but in every election dating back to 1988, people aged 18 to 29 turned out to vote at lower rates than all other age groups. There are signs they could still buck this trend.