It is no secret that President Barack Obama has lost millennials through his underwhelming presidency. After all, when the preview is better than the movie, it is no shock that the reviews are always bad. Although, the President managed to secure a sequel in 2012, he has received consistently low marks from the millennial generation.
With the recent Democrat’s Obama-induced millennial problem set aside, Republicans have been struggling with this precocious generation for over a decade. Republicans are about as good at reaching out to millennials as your grandma is at tagging a photo on Facebook.
Republicans have struggled primarily due to lack of support on social issues that millennials hold great value in. In the latest Reason poll a millennial was asked why they are liberal and the respondent said, “I am more concerned about social issues and people’s quality of life than economic issues.”
Most political pundits would say that Republicans can fix their millennial problem if they would just be more inclusive on social issues but that is not the case. The latest Pew Research poll found that Republican millennials are just as ”liberal” on social issues like same-sex marriage, immigration, and the environment as ideological liberals.
Furthermore, the recent study released by Pew illustrates how far Republicans still have to go to pick up the coveted youth vote and how far self-identified Republican millennials are moving from the current establishment’s platform.
Most in the Republican Party have come to the conclusion that young people are just liberal and there is no changing that. The fact is Republicans need to stop trying to change millennials and realize all that has changed is the meaning of the word liberal. Liberalism to millennials is akin to libertarianism. Yes, they want to legalize marijuana and same-sex marriage, but hey also believe overwhelmingly in capitalism, the first, fourth, and 10th amendments. These beliefs are at the heart of the Republican Party.
The Reason poll also found “policies that receive support from roughly six out of 10 millennials include increasing government spending on job training programs (62 percent) and national infrastructure (58 percent), and cutting taxes (58 percent). And fifty-five percent agree that reducing government regulations on businesses would help the economy. All of these are at the core of Republican policies and yet they still fall short with millennials.
The challenge then comes to Republicans and their ability to reword the definition of what it mean to vote for the candidate with an (R) behind their name. As stated earlier, Republican millennials hold social issues as very important but at the end of the day they still vote for Republicans, why?
These Republican millennials care slightly more about the economy and their civil liberties than social issues and believe they are in better hands with Republicans. The winning PR push for Republicans will be developing a strategy that engages all millennials and shows them that economic issues are just as important as social issues. One is not more important than the other, they both hold equal weight and demand the same amount of passion and support to make this country great.
One premise that all millennials polled agreed on, no matter their ideology, is that they do not want government to promote “traditional” values. Luckily, for Republicans, social issues will begin to play a much less important role in elections. With many state courts overturning same-sex marriage and marijuana bans, Democrats will not be able to focus on Republicans enforcing these social issues limiting laws. This leaves Democrats standing only on their very shaky economic and foreign policy platforms.
Republicans need to step back and pay attention to winning economic issues. Republicans need to stop trying to rebrand themselves, this just breeds cowardice and defeat. It is time for them to rebuild the Grand Old Party for what it originally stood for; freedom for all Americans in all aspects of life from economics to privacy to social issues.
Whether the baby boomers want to accept it, millennials are the key to winning elections and the key to restoring America.
Salvator La Mastra is a youth vote and millennial expert. Follow @SalvatorV. For media inquiries email Sal.LaMastra@gmail.com
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