How The Republican Party Can Better Reach Youth Voters
Image Credits: Herald Tribune
Have you ever gotten frustrated because a bunch of liberals kept telling you that the GOP is full of a bunch of people with old ideas? Have they ever said this to you right after you’ve returned from a conference where thousands of young conservatives gathered (Counting down the days until CPAC 2017)? And have you ever thought about how the buck should stop with us?
Are the Republicans a bunch of old people? No.
Do we have old ideas? Yes but that’s why we, as Republicans have been successful. We want to progress in a way that isn’t radical or spontaneous while also keeping an eye on the things that have worked. While our platform may not seem old and out-of-date to us, that doesn’t mean that other people don’t see it that way. In fact, if you take the time to take a step back and look at how the GOP portrays itself, I don’t blame young people for not even hosting the idea that they could be Republican.
So that’s why it’s time for a change. The change doesn’t need to happen with what we’re saying, but rather how we’re saying it. Organizations like FFL, Turning Point USA, and College Republicans are mobilizing younger people in a way that has not been seen in a long time. Sometimes it feels like the Republicans pundits on television, or Republicans running for office and in office can’t seem to generate the youth vote. What I’ve learned as an activist is that it’s not because the younger crowds don’t agree with us. It’s that we aren’t articulating it so that they understand and we aren’t marketing it to seem appealing.
We know that these politicians can sell many people on their policies because they get elected. Politicians are experts at marketing for what they want to get passed, but it seems that Republicans won’t touch anything that might seem “unconventional,” but unconventional is why so many people are flocking to people like Bernie Sanders (may his campaign and his policies rest in peace) and Donald Trump. But it seems as though the “establishment” is unwavering in their efforts to acknowledge the youth vote, even though they wonder why they don’t get the youth vote.
So how about they start by actually learning about social media and utilizing it. The most popular Republican politicians and pundits are the ones who have a consistent social media presence. Look at Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Justin Amash, Mike Lee, Dana Perino, Katie Pavlich, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos and what you’ll find is that they all have excellent one liners in a tweet or a Facebook post that has been shared a million times. One of the reasons Tomi Lahren is so popular and goes viral so often is because she is blunt and doesn’t sugar coat things or make them complicated. The older politicians don’t understand that, unfortunately, short and sweet is the new long and sincere.
I hate to say that younger people need to hear what they want but there are problems now that may not seem important in Washington but they are super important back at home. For many younger people, the problem is paying for college. Instead of Republicans saying that college shouldn’t be free (and it shouldn’t), they should be showing that the reason for the costs of tuitions to keep going up is because big government keeps on giving younger people more money for college so the universities know they can make more due to the government never saying “no.” Big government is why the cost of college tuition is so high.
Republicans need to be telling people that they are going to create jobs so that when they get out of college, they will have a career path to walk down. We don’t need to just say these things, we need to prove it to them. We need to show how our policies that promote capitalism and limited government go hand in hand with job creation.
Republicans need to start letting more people in; the Grand Old Party is not “invite only” but rather, it’s a welcoming and inclusive place where if you believe that limited government is the way to move things forward in this country, then you’re a friend of mine. Just because you don’t like how someone dresses or who they love, doesn’t mean you should shy away from them. Embrace the differences among Republicans; encourage the diversity that Democrats are trying to eliminate by suppressing speech.
It’s the small things that Republicans overlook that could win a ton of young people. The Republican Party needs re-branding and I think the revolution that everyone is expecting in this 2016 presidential election is actually going to be coming from the GOP, not the “democratic socialists.”
FFL Cabinet Member