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Rand Paul’s one-word strategy to reach young voters: Snapchat

File: Snapchat isn't just for teens sharing texts anymore. Photo by Linda D. Epstein for The Washington Post

Here's a sobering fact to remind you of your own mortality and the inevitability of death: People born in 1998 will be eligible to vote for president in the 2016 election.

That's right. A generation of Americans who were born after the Monica Lewinsky scandal and after "...Baby One More Time" was released and after "Titanic" came out will help select our next commander in chief. It's a whole new crop of potential voters, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) thinks he knows how to reach them. And it's Snapchat. Snapchat, released in 2011, is an app that lets users send photos, messages, and videos that automatically delete after they're viewed.

"We reach thousands of kids that we might not ever have reached before," Paul told Politico's Mike Allen.  "But ... you have to have something to say to them too, and we tell them ... that the government has no business looking at their phone records, and I think they appreciate that. I remember being a kid, and you're trying to escape from under the thumb of your parents. And then you don't want to replace your parents with the government. I think kids are quite open to the message of having a right to privacy."

Paul announced he joined Snapchat in January 2014. He currently has a score of 12,331, and earlier this year, he did an interview over Snapchat with CNN.

If you want to talk to voters about the importance of privacy in an age of NSA civilian spying and mass surveillance, Snapchat is the perfect way to communicate that. It's also used heavily by young people. More than 60 percent of Snapchat users are 18-24, according to a BI Intelligence report. It's the youngest social network; only 28 percent of Instagram users are between 18-24. It's also huge. Snapchat said in May its 200 million users send 700 million photos a day.

Young people are also the most likely to value privacy and think of Edward Snowden favorably for leaking details about the NSA.

According to Pew, 78 percent of those aged 18-29 say Americans shouldn't have to give up privacy and freedom in order to be safe from terrorism, and 57 percent believe Snowden served the public interest, the only age group where a majority felt that way.

But Paul won't be alone in using Snapchat. Last weekend, Hillary Clinton starred in a Snapchat story to commemorate International Women's Day, and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley (D) recently joined the social network as well.

Fear not, millennials, candidates are ready to ask for your vote where you are.