Millennials are the generation of hyper-stimulation; they never stop engaging or exploring, they hold others and themselves to rigid standards of tolerance and character and they expect results. Both political parties are failing to tangibly reflect these principles, yet there is obvious disparity between the appeal of Democrats and Republicans to millennials. This disparity exists — and is growing — because, in a political dynamic where neither side takes the effectual action that millennials demand, the idealistic platform of liberals, particularly with social issues, offers progress.
In order to reduce the generational gap and, quite frankly, be relevant in upcoming election cycles, Republicans cannot continue debating endlessly with their adversaries, only to occasionally reach an agreement so convoluted that, in practice, it offers no real solution to the issues facing America. Republicans need to apply the pragmatic tenets of their platform, rather than endlessly preach the overhaul of Obamacare, and lead Washington in areas where both parties are willing to cooperate.
Immigration reform thus poses an invaluable opportunity for Republicans to reinvent their image as the party that is willing to propose viable solutions that avoid philosophical schisms and ensure results.
The current United States immigration system is flawed to the point of irrelevance. That’s why there are millions of illegal immigrants living in the country. Neither party disputes this and both parties claim to support an overhaul of the immigration system. As the most pressing inconsistencies between the parties lie with regard to illegal immigrants, Republicans should embrace reform in the technicalities of the system itself so that Americans, and millennials, will see tangible results.
The current immigration system is defined by its futility and serves as a metaphor for all that millennials detest in the current government. If Republicans can successfully act as the party of pragmatism and spearhead reforms that are already universally accepted as necessary, they will subsequently take an important step in rebranding their image in the eyes of millennials.
Undoubtedly, millennial support for Republicans is stagnant at best, as is millennials’ faith in this generation of politicians. The opportunity for Republicans to proactively confront the immigration system, and ignore the politics of illegal immigration in order to accomplish meaningful reforms in areas where both parties agree, is an opportunity that, if capitalized upon, might dramatically improve the hue of the party.
Too often in Washington, necessary reforms and pressing components of laws fail to pass because they are part of a package that includes philosophically controversial provisions. The government should not ignore the controversial debates that must be had — illegal immigration is still a pressing issue. But the government should not allow these debates to hinder progress in issues where progress might be made more easily. Immigration reform will allow Republicans to exhibit this sensible approach, for which millennials and many other Americans yearn, and prove that progress and conservatism are not mutually exclusive.