“I’m sorry I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets.”
This wasn’t a statement from Santa Claus to a little girl wishing to attend her favorite singer’s concert. It wasn’t a parent soothing a whining child or a tickets.com message when the pop singer’s tour is sold out.
“I’m sorry I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets” is what Republican Presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich said to Kayla Solsbak, a college sophomore, while speaking at the University of Richmond. Ms. Solsbak raised her hand to ask a policy question and was belittled by a man who needs her vote. Politics aside, he didn’t even think he needed to address this young women with the dignity and respect that should be afforded another human being.
Ms. Solsbak said her friends’ jaws dropped to the floor. Her retort to the ordeal was “I didn’t go to a town hall forum for Taylor Swift tickets, Gov. Kasich. I went because it’s my civic duty to be an informed voter. Please start treatment me like one.”
At the time of the election, millennials (ages 18 to 24 in 2015) will number over 75 million. Trends show higher voting rates among this generation than ever before. Passionate, engaged young people, like Ms. Solsbak, are really committed to the candidates who show interest in the things that matter to them—student loans, climate change, social justice, and inequality to name a few. Taylor Swift doesn’t register on that list.
Governor Kasich owes this young woman an apology, and while there is little chance he will ever be elected President of the United States, he needs to reevaluate his perceptions of young people and young women in particular.