Huckabee sits down with Lee University media
WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is not interested in fooling millennials to generate their support.
Huckabee addressed the Values Voter Summit Friday on Republican issues, but he also spoke with Lee University media concerning his approach to winning over college-age voters.
'I think more than anything regarding a specific issue, it's authenticity,' he said. 'I believe younger people are not easily fooled and it's better to be honest about issues.'
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the 2012 election, 15.4 percent of the voting population was comprised of voters between the ages of 18 and 29.
Many attributed President Obama's victory three years ago to these young voters creating a larger focus on gaining the college vote in the upcoming election.
The obstacle for Republican candidates such as Huckabee lies in millennial liberal leanings.
According to Pew Research Center, millennials are the most liberal age group, with 50 percent affiliated with the Democratic party and 34 percent affiliated with the GOP.
Huckabee said although many candidates attempt to align themselves with millennial values, efforts to tell young people what they want to hear are futile.
'If I try to pretend I'm not pro-life, it will never come across as genuine. I'm very pro-life and I can't be anything but that,' he said. 'I think I can explain it and articulate it, even persuade people, but I would never deny that.'
Another issue Huckabee refuses to budge on is the concept of "biblical marriage." Although people have advised him that his stringent views will damage his support from young people, Huckabee remains true to his beliefs.
'They'd [millennials] rather have someone be honest with them and say, 'Here's what I believe, here's why I believe it and here's why I think that it's the right way,' ' he said.
Because to Huckabee, there are larger issues that college students must grapple with.
'I think young people are concerned about [if] there's going to be a country for them to grow up in,' he said. '[You're worried about] the debt you face, not just personal student debt, but the debt of the country. [You're worried about] the crisis that we face from a security standpoint with ISIS and radical Islam ... If you're not worried about it, you need to be.'
One of the largest issues Huckabee is concerned about is religious freedom, specifically for Christians.
'I'm shocked that I'm living at a time when we're virtually seeing the criminalization of Christianity,' he said.
He called attention to the $135,000 fine on Aaron and Melissa Klein after refusing to make a same-sex wedding cake, as well as Kim Davis, who was jailed for five days after refusing to issue marriage licenses based on her religious opposition to gay marriage.
"It was because [Davis] was a Christian with a conscience and the conviction to stand firm in her convictions, and for that she went to jail," he said. "That's a scary thing—an elected official put in jail— not because she failed to do her job, but because she did do her job."