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First Female President? How Young Women Perceive Clinton’s Historic Nomination

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Election day is drawing closer, and the United States could make history again by consecutively electing two minorities — a black man and a woman — to a position historically reserved for white males. Hillary Clinton made history this week by being the first woman in the United States nominated as presidential candidate for a major political party.

“I remember watching Clinton on television in the 2008 election with my family, and my grandfather saying that a woman can never be the president, and I remember being torn by that,” says Maria Eliot, 22, communications director for the Young Democrats of Georgia. “[Now] it’s 2016, and we have a Democratic nominee that has proven herself worthy over and over again. She won’t back down, even after all the challenges that she’s faced.”

It’s an exciting time this election season, with Clinton and controversial business mogul-suddenly-turned-politician Donald Trump making this election twice more interesting.

Younger women are an important target group in any presidential election. They may not always have the same political views as their older counterparts, as this election especially shows. Some have doubts about Clinton’s authenticity.

To assuage the doubts about her authenticity, Clinton has been meticulous in showing her support for many important feminist issues that Trump has either spoken against or ignored, such as reproductive rights and the wage gap. Sharne Williams, 21, has no doubts about Clinton’s authenticity: “I think Hillary is one of the most qualified in our lifetime. She’s advocated for women’s rights, such as reproductive rights. As a senator, she introduced legislation [with Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.] to make emergency contraception Plan B over the counter for women, and she’s worked very hard to provide funds for Planned Parenthood, which is important in a time when those funds are being taken away.”

Clinton had an unexpectedly close race with Bernie Sanders, the popular socialist who captured the hearts of many young liberals and Democrats. Some former Sanders supporters aren’t happy about Clinton being their only choice besides Donald Trump. The fact that the Democratic race was so close this year in so many states shows there was a big divide in the Democratic Party, especially between younger and older Democrats. Keonte Lee, 22, a Spelman grad, who is interning this summer at the Washington D.C.-based political and policy nonprofit Brilliant Corners, has some doubts that Clinton will be able to get support from younger women, especially young women of color.

“She does represent women in that she has to work twice as hard as a man would. She is working hard and getting the job done and not backing down from challenges. [But] she needs to work harder to get support from younger women of color. Among conversations with my peers, they don’t feel as she speaks to them enough. My grandma, aunts and other older women support Hillary, but when it comes to younger women of color, she needs to work harder,” Lee says.

Tonight, Clinton will be accepting her official nomination in Philadelphia in the closing speech of the Democratic National Convention. Here’s how to watch it:

  • ABC, CBS, NBC: Live coverage 10 to 11 p.m. (ET)
  • CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel start coverage at 4 p.m. (ET)
  • C-SPAN: Live coverage from 3 p.m. to midnight. (ET)
  • PBS: Live coverage, 8 to 11 p.m. (ET)

Miranda Mullins, 16, goes to Duluth High School and will be watching Hillary Clinton’s historic speech tonight.

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