After a decade of silence, Monica Lewinsky shot back into the spotlight this week writing an essay for this month's Vanity Fair. In it, she details just how difficult life has been being remembered as "that woman." A big question has been whether or not this would affect a speculated Hillary Clinton run for President. The media has been full of bipartisan responses since the essay's release, but when millenials were confronted with the idea many said, "Who's Monica?"
The Clinton/Lewinsky scandal broke in January of 1998. Eighteen-year-old voters for 2016 were born that same year. There is simply a lack of institutional knowledge among their peer groups to trickle down into political conversations.
Dr. Jason Johnson, a political science professor at Hiram College told CNN that only two students in his college classes knew who Monica Lewinsky was. "Even when I said she's been referenced by Eminem, Kid Cudi, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé - none of them had even Wikipediaed her before," Johnson said. "I found that a lot of my millenial students didn't really know much about Monica Lewinsky, and they didn't care."
Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger and his selfies, David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, John Edwards' love child, gay sex scandals, straight sex scandals– these are the headlines millenials are familiar with. While Clinton's impeachment may have influenced their lives eventually, the fallout from more recent scandals are the ones that actually affect the leadership that represents them and their tax dollars.
Blame Scandal, House of Cards or media gluttony, but millenials are somewhat desensitized to political behavior that their parents and grandparents may have found controversial.
Danny Funt, a student at Georgetown University said the Lewinsky scandal simply would not play into the 2016 election cycle. "A president's private life still matters... I think it's worthy of Twitter gossip," Funt said.
Young voters priorities lie in advancing policies that affect their peers– most popular issues include healthcare, gay marriage, marijuana legalization, privacy issues and freedom of information on the Internet.
It's easy to sympathize with Lewinsky's career failure but her essay confirmed what we assumed was true: Monica Lewinsky will never be someone other than Monica Lewinsky. If that's the only way she can make money, there are some people out there who will continue to buy the magazines, but it ain't millenials.
"Hillary Clinton can make history. That excites young people," said Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala.
The prospect for a woman to be in the Oval Office seems to outweigh any scandal of the past in young voters minds.
Clinton has started a tour of colleges with the Clinton Global Initiative, where she very well may be priming that demographic. "We are going to make sure the millennial generation really is the participation generation," Clinton said in a speech at Arizona State University in March. At these events, Clinton has been very vocal on issues popular among young, more liberal voters.
But some strategists suggest her age may hinder her appeal to millenials.
Counteracting that– perhaps intentionally– Clinton is very active on social media.
One female student who attended Clinton's event at the University of Miami told CNN, "Age isn't a factor. It's how 'with it' you are. She's very with it."