Crystal Clanton

Age

Location

Marquette University, Political Science

Occupation

National Field Director, Turning Point USA

Twitter

@crystal_clanton

BIO

Crystal Clanton is the National Field Director at Turning Point USA, a youth movement dedicated to educating and organizing students to promote the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. She is responsible for overseeing the field program, hiring and managing staff, assisting with organizational development, and writing publications such as “How to Organize” and “How to Influence.” Crystal is also the National Grassroots Director of Turning Point Action, and a frequent contributor to Hypeline News.

Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or in other capacities?

Young people need to be aware and involved because everything that is happening right now will affect them very soon. Whether it’s Obamacare or the national debt, these are real issues that will have devastating consequences for the next generation. Young people deserve a voice in those debates. I also believe if we’re going to win the youth, we need to have young people leading the charge. A peer-to-peer conversation is much more effective than a lecture from someone several decades older.

What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of-center message resonate with the Millennial generation?

We can make our message resonate by breaking it down into catchy, engaging, and relevant soundbites. Young people don’t want to hear about big, complex issues like social security and medicaid expansion. They care about what impacts them right now. The left has mastered the soundbite wars and we need to be producing the same type of messaging. We also need to integrate pop culture into policy discussions. Staying relevant is everything.

Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?

I’d like to see a united, organized, and well-prepared grassroots machine. The left has just that, and we really need it. To get there our movement needs to identify, organize, and educate young people. We need to build the same infrastructure that Organizing for Action had in 2008 and 2012. You build that by going to high schools and college campuses, having face-to-face — and peer-to-peer — conversations, and rebranding our ideas for the next generation. Our ideas aren’t wrong, but the way we articulate them needs to be improved.

Thirty Under Thirty 2015

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