St. Louis Post-Dispatch: What’s Jason Kander really up to?

WASHINGTON • A supportive crowd of at least 100 students, many of them self-professed young progressives intent on changing the world, came to American University recently to hear Jason Kander.

How, one asks the former Missouri secretary of state and failed 2016 Senate candidate, do we start?

“There is no code to crack, no specific way to do this,” Kander, 36, responds.

He answers questions about how to correspond with people on Facebook you disagree with (talk about something that happened to you that makes you think the way you do, he says: “Show them your math.”); why it’s futile to hope that Donald Trump won’t last four years as president (If you do that, “every morning you wake up and he is still the president, it feels like Nov. 9, 2016, all over again. Don’t do that to yourself.”); and how social media forever changed politics (“It is 2018 — you can’t go say one thing to one group and another thing to another, and not have them know about it.”)

One question he isn’t asked:

What, exactly, is Jason Kander up to?

That answer involves more than just career advice.

The long run

Jason Kander looks like a man on a long run toward the presidency in a world with an attention span no longer than the time between presidential tweets.

Some think he would be a suitable millennial vice presidential candidate to balance an older presidential aspirant on a Democratic ticket in 2020.

Kander’s campaign-like activity, in 34 states and counting, through his organization, Let America Vote, aims at pushing back on what Kander says is Republican suppression of voting.

Kander, along with top adviser Abe Rakov, formed Let America Vote a year ago this month. Through it, he has traveled the country, appearing on virtually every media platform available, including a profile-raising gig on CNN.

‘Majority 54’

Kander’s “Majority 54” podcast — named for the percentage of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 — has had more than 1.8 million total “listens.” Edison Research reported last year that 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly.

Walker, the first African-American elected as Linn County supervisor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said that Kander’s age — he was introduced at the American University event as the first millennial elected statewide in the U.S. — is an appeal to millennials, who, along with Generation Xers, cast more votes than baby boomers in 2016.

“People tend to be more attracted to personalities than they are to political parties,” Walker says. “And as his star continues to grow, so will his influence in the direction of the party.

“Being a young person from middle America, from a red state, who has a message with incredible crossover appeal might be just what the doctor ordered for the Democratic Party heading into these next few elections cycles,” Walker adds.

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