CJ Pearson, a 12-year-old YouTube pundit, believes presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has a unique ability to connect with millennial voters and even younger fans like himself.
Pearson is a Georgia student entering 8th grade whose videos backing conservative causes have gone viral. He said he is currently part of Paul’s Georgia leadership team.
In a conversation with Business Insider on Thursday, Pearson said one of the first things people his age notice about Paul is his distinctive hair.
“What I’ve seen as far as the optics of other young people, they look at Rand with this head full of hair, really curly,” Pearson said.
Once younger people take a longer look at Paul, Pearson added, they quickly grow fond of his libertarian-leaning views and deviations from Republican orthodoxy.
“If you want a maverick, someone who’s proud to be his own individual, then Rand Paul’s the guy you’re looking for,” he said. “Young people are just naturally independent.”
He also said Paul’s opposition to widespread government surveillance and support for reforming the criminal justice system deeply resonate with younger crowds.
“If you look at Rand’s views on the issues, they’re quite different than many of the other candidates. We support criminal justice reform,” he said. “Going back even further than that, if you look at just the philosophy of Rand as a whole, as a young person I don’t like people telling me what to do. “
Pearson said he’s occasionally recognised as he travels around as part of Paul’s Georgia leadership team. The 8th grader gained national fame earlier this year when he passionately defended former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) after the former mayor infamously said President Barack Obama doesn’t love America.
In a YouTube clip that has just under 2 million videos, Pearson said Giuliani was right:
As he campaigns for Paul, Pearson said he sometimes surprises people by discussing politics in detail despite being one of the youngest political activists around.
“It’s quite surprising once we start talking about poll numbers, the margin of errors, and the demographics we’re targeting,” he said. “I think many people are very surprised that a 12-year-old is interested in presidential politics.”
Pearson further predicted Paul’s presidential campaign will be buoyed by the youth vote, which he said will ultimately propel the libertarian-leaning senator into the White House. He also touted Paul’s use of social media platforms like Snapchat and Meerkat, which Pearson said will help the senator reach out to new audiences.
“We’re going out in college campuses and we’re preaching Rand’s message and how he’s for the younger generation. I’m going out there and talking to people and establishing ‘Students for Rand chapters,” Pearson said. “The way that we’re running our campaign is second-to-none in terms of millennial engagement.”
Of course, since he’s under 18-years-old, Pearson won’t actually be able to vote for Paul. He thinks this is unfortunate.
“Of course, I would definitely love to vote,”he said. “I think it’s a really cool thing.”
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