James, who is said to be living the “quintessential Millennial Dream,” brings focus to a critical swing state Ohio.
By Sheryl Estrada
At age 31, LeBron James, star forward of the2016 NBA ChampionsCleveland Cavaliersis considered one of the most influential millennials in Ohio, which is a critical swing state in presidential elections. In an op-ed, James endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president.
He emphasized Clinton’s shared interest in community outreach:
“I’m so proud of the more than 1,100 students in my Wheels for Education and Akron I PROMISE Network programs,” he wrote. “We’re working on year six now, and my kids have big plans for their futures. And when I think about the kinds of policies and ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.”
In the op-ed published online Sunday on the Business Insider, and in the print edition of Akron Beacon Journal, James said he supports Clinton because in regard to race relations, “We need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified,” and “Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution.”
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, Republican presidential candidate Trump still leads Clinton by five points in Ohio. Trump tops Clinton 47-42 percent, with 6 percent for Gary Johnson and 1 percent for Jill Stein, both third party candidates. Since John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960, no Democratic candidate has won the presidential election without winning Ohio and its 18 electoral votes.
ASeptember 14 Quinnipiac poll found that 44 percent of millennials (ages 18-34) said they would vote for Stein or Johnson, while only 31 percent said they would vote for Clinton.
James said in an interview with ESPN on Monday that he was not trying to influence Ohio voters through his endorsement.
“I didn’t do it for that,” James said. “I did it because it’s what me and my family believe in, it’s what we want, and hopefully it happens.”
View ESPN’s video:
It can be argued that James’ ability to have great control of the trajectory of his career is the type of the control millennials seek in regard to employment.
In a 2015 article for Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron, John Gorman wrote, “LeBron is living the quintessential Millennial Dream” and explained why:
“Millennials have been classified, by turns, as detached from institutions, friend-focused, civic-minded, job-switching team players with a deep desire to make the world a better place.
“These qualities have the potential to rub people the wrong way, which is why we in the sports-media world tend to hear so much about LeBron’s generation being ‘entitled’ and ‘narcissistic.’ LeBron has ushered in a new era in the NBA wherein exceptional players appear to be less and less at the mercy of the front office.”
Courting the Millennial Vote
In his op-ed James wrote he believes Clinton will continue President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“I support Hillary because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama,” James said. “I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.”
But in 2012, Obama received 60 percent of 18-29-year-olds’ votes. While James’ influence could result in a bump of support from millennials in the important swing state, the Clinton campaign realizes it has a lot of work to do and has brought on several of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ former campaign aides to mobilize voters under age 35.
In addition, youth directors have been designated for swing states. The directors will be in charge of pursuing and registering voters on more than 280 college campuses, according to CNN.
First Lady Michelle Obama is also targeting millennials in campaigning for Clinton, and Sanders has campaigned alongside Clinton last week.