A friend of mine recently asked in an article on her website: “Where is my Republican Party?”. In the last few weeks, I’ve observed where her Republican Party is.
I’ve been doing volunteer work for the Indiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity in the last few weeks in support of Mike Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut, and, in that time, part of my job has been to meet with Republicans and Tea Party Republicans – something that has been quite eye-opening.
I’ve observed that the Republican Party and even the Tea Party elements within it are, unsurprisingly, aging. They see eye-to-eye with libertarians on some issues, but on other issues, they’re no better than the Democratic Party is, especially in regards to entitlement reform. A common refrain from the meetings I’ve attended has been something to the effect of:
“You’re so young! I wish we had more youth involved in politics, because your generation has a lot of decisions to make!”
Young people are involved in politics, yet most of them are involved in the Democratic Party: an entity that, regardless of its flaws and hypocrisies of its own, has still managed to market itself effectively to those 30 and under. Young people are also involved with the Libertarian Party, which, while politically ineffective, has also done a good job at marketing itself to young voters and activists.
To attract the youth, the Republican Party needs to stop chasing off those affiliated with Ron Paul or libertarianism – something that they’ve done a great job at, especially given how they treated the former congressman and his delegates at the Republican National Convention in 2008 and 2012.
I’m not asking for the Republican Party to embrace everything that I believe in, but to give those of us who have libertarian beliefs a place at the table. For too long, we’ve been marginalized. I personally have been told that I’m too young and lack the experience to fully understand politics, when I have in fact been a part of four political campaigns and one policy campaign. I’ve also been told that I’m too idealistic, and that I’ll eventually “wise up to reality”.
With such things being said to young people by older members of the Republican Party, is it any wonder why the Party is a club of aging baby boomers? The Party isn’t even trying to market itself to the youth- it has been chasing us off. We want to be a part of the political process and all they can do is be dismissive and unsupportive, which is not a way to make friends or influence people.
The young leaders of the Republican Party exist and are trying to make a difference; they just need to be assured that they can have a place at the table. Their thoughts and policies need to be considered and not merely laughed off. If this doesn’t happen, the Republican Party will continue to be irrelevant and eventually fade into obscurity.
Your Republican Party is currently aging, as I’m sure many know, yet, if the powers that be in the Republican Party decide to face reality, the Republican Party can market to, and gain, youth activists and leaders . Doing so will bring into the Republican Party young adults who have grown up working in campaigns for the Paul family or those who serve as committeemen and women, and have practical real-world experience, especially concerning the nuts and bolts of political work: canvassing, literature drops, and phonebanking.
We’ve extended the olive branch. Now it’s their decision whether to take it or leave it.