Winston Churchill famously said “Anyone who is 20 and isn’t a liberal has no heart; anyone who is 30 and isn’t a conservative has no brain”.
Within the last 24 hours, both Sarah Palin and Larry Sabato have stated an inarguable truth in interviews on FOX News: if the Republican party doesn’t capitalize on Ron Paul’s following among younger voters, we won’t win in 2012. A large part of Obama’s success in 2008 was due to a massve turnout by young voters.
So what does the GOP have to offer young, naturally left-leaning voters?
Like any other demographic, young voters need jobs. In fact, the highest unemployment rate is among people under 21. Our party has a solution to unemployment: Cutting taxes and deregulating businesses, to open the flood gates of job creation. The Democrats have no plan, merely a talking point: “We’ll give you an unemployment check”.
They want to be sure mom and dad are secure. They expect their parents’ retirement will be provided. We know this isn’t true: Social Security and Medicare are in trouble and need to be reformed, otherwise these programs will go bankrupt. We have a solution to this problem: Privatized retirement and medical plans which operate less expensively and preserve seniors’ benefits. The Democrats have no solution, just a talking point: “Everything’s fine, Republicans just want to throw Granny off a cliff”.
They’re compassionate. They believe taxing rich people to distribute money to the poor is “compassionate”. We know better: Assistance is necessary, but breeding dependency on government money isn’t “compassionate”, it robs people of their dignity. The source of that money- taxing job creators- is also part of the cause of unemployment problem.
Most importantly, though, is the hate rhetoric college-age voters are exposed to on a daily basis. They are told conservatives “hate” minorities, “hate” gay people, “hate” women, “hate” poor people, “hate” foreigners, “hate” people of other religions, and so on. This propaganda is, in fact, the foundation of the Democratic machine- claiming “tolerance” by comparing themselves to an intolerant straw man Republican of their own creation.
Which is the really tolerant party? We are! We ended slavery, we opposed Prohibition, we enacted womens’ suffrage, we were at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Abe Lincoln was a Republican. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, was a Republican. When Susan B. Anthony illegally (because she was a woman) voted in 1872, she stated she’d “positively voted the Republican ticket- straight”.
What will kill our chances with younger voters is any hint of intolerance. As I stated yesterday, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are liabilities to the party. Racism and homophobia aren’t the GOP message, and these two need to be cut out right away.
While Ron Paul has done a great job of preaching fiscal conservatism to young voters, he won’t be the Republican party’s nominee, and among those young voters who aren’t his direct supporters, the newsletters will be a big turn-off. Nonetheless, we have an opportunity to capitalize on his success in this demographic. Palin and Sabato are right: If we fail to do so, we lose.