Midterm Election Messaging Towards Millennials Turns Shirtless

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The mid-term elections are less than a week away, and as the big day draws closer, the means employed to attract the youth to the polls are garnering extreme controversy. This was first seen with the release of the College Republican National Committee’s “Say Yes to the Candidate” ads, which were widely derided by the liberal media as sexist.

It has since then, evolved from music videos containing popular celebrities to physically trying to get millennials to the polls. The most outrageous case of this attempt is set to take place at North Carolina State University this Election Day, thanks to Cosmopolitan Magazine.

The #CosmoVotes Party Bus is part of a recent contest by the magazine, aiming to increase youth participation in the “party of the year” by providing transportation to and from this polls this coming TuesdayThe fascinating thing about the bus is it is not just a simple shuttle. The Cosmo Party bus will contain not only your typical free handouts and food, but an entourage of shirt-less male models. The magazine even posted this video to accompany the rest of the “party of the year” campaign:

North Carolina State University earned the privilege of providing this eccentric ride to get their students to the polls, not by request of the University, but due to a winning submission by the Associate Director of Publicity for student government, Camden Willeford. There are a few things that concern me about this eclectic situation.

Cosmopolitan Magazine does not endorse many candidates, but all of the candidates to thus far receive the “honor” have fallen in the liberal camp. They have evidently made it a priority to endorse those candidates that fall in highly contested states such as North Carolina, where arch-progressive Sen. Kay Hagan is running for re-election. There is no word on if the coeds enjoying this scenic ride to the polls have been informed on the magazine’s editorial stance.

The student government association at North Carolina State University also seems to be more than happy to provide politically biased transportation for their students to use. Despite being the group of students whose job description includes hearing and representing the voice of the entire student body, it seems they are content with only representing a small percentage of people at their college.

The primary issue I take with the Cosmo Party Bus, as well as with all previous attempts to attract millennial voters, lies with the message they are clearly sending to my generation. It appears that in the eyes of many messaging consultants, all politicians can do to attract millennials is talk down to them with reality TV spoofs, catchy rap videos and shirt-less male models.

We as a generation care about more than these simple distractions. My worry is that while these seemingly harmless messaging tactics can be fun from time to time, when they are resorted to constantly they can also pose as distractions from the real issues that young Americans should or want to focus on.

Instead of worrying about wedding dresses, we are worried about the lack of jobs waiting for us after graduation. Instead of dancing to catchy celebrity filled videos, we are deeply concerned by those headlines that always seem to bring bad news from foreign shores.

Most importantly, we care about much more than distracting male models, no matter how gorgeous they may or may not be; we care about the direction in which our country is heading. My only hope is that when millennials do make it to the polls, we can convey our maturity by sending a much clearer message than any of these feeble attempts have sent so far.

Caitlin is a senior political science student at Marshall University. She currently serves as the student government associations chief of staff for the executive branch. Outside of school she is a field associate for Americans for Prosperity and enjoys working with groups such as Young Americans for Liberty.

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