Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster ignited the nation and sparked a national debate on drones and America’s targeted killing policies. Legions of Americans tweeted #StandWithRand, CSPAN-2's audience went through the roof, and the Young Turks even tried to deliver him a pizza on the Senate floor.
The GOP’s response? Tell Senator Paul to stop pulling “political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids."
Lest the GOP forget, Presidential candidate Ron Paul reached out to millennials as well, and brought the youngest group of delegates in Republican Party history to the Republican National Convention. Even Democratic candidate Barack Obama took 66% of the millennial vote in the 2008 election, and 67% in 2012.
Here are three things the Republican Party needs to do to gain millennials:
1. Start honoring the U.S. Constitution, and remember such a document actually exists
The Republican Party, along with the Democrats, has long since abandoned the Constitution. Laws like the PATRIOT Act, FISA, SOPA, and the NDAA have been overwhelmingly supported by both parties, and violate multiple amendments of the document our elected officials swear an oath to defend.
The Republican Party, thus far, has been completely oblivious to this “oath” thing. In fact, during Senator Paul’s filibuster against assassinations on U.S. soil, 10 prominent Republicans were having dinner on the President’s tab and couldn’t even be bothered to show up in support.
Ron Paul’s message, on the other hand, of a “Constitutionally limited government,” his outrage about the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA and unwarranted spying under the PATRIOT Act garnered him the youth vote in 2012. In New Hampshire and Iowa alone, nearly 50% of young voters supported the former Congressman.
One of the key points of both Ron and Rand Paul’s message is simple: honor your oath and follow the Constitution. If the Republican Party wants to survive, it needs to start doing just that.
2. Quit insulting the younger base
If you want to stay in office, as a mathematical fact, don’t insult your constituents. Millennials are clearly the next generation of voters, and will soon be the primary voting block the GOP needs to target.
If you listened to the stalwarts of the Republican Party today however, you’d think millennials were more of an annoyance than a real threat to the establishment. At the International Students for Liberty conference in February 2013, conservative firebrand Ann Coulter called the young people in attendance “p*ssies,” and in August, when Ron Paul brought the youngest generation in the history of the Republican Party to the Republican National Convention, they were unseated, ballot access was changed, and their candidate’s name wasn’t even allowed to be mentioned from the podium.
If the GOP started playing nice with its younger base, they might actually have a chance to win some serious seats in 2014 and 2016. If they don’t, they will find themselves losing … again, and again, and again.
3. Become ideologically consistent, especially on social issues
People, especially young people, admire consistency in politics. During the 2012 election, only one man represented that consistency … and that was presidential candidate Ron Paul. Not only did powerful media personalities, from comedian Stephen Colbert to MSNBC’s Ed Schulz, admire that consistency; it also captured the youth vote by a long shot.
The Republican Party, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to admire this consistency. Their preferred 2012 Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, had a reputation as a flip-flopper. Although the Party brands itself as “pro-limited government,” it wants big brother to interfere in the bedroom, the internet, and every other aspect of our lives.
In order to garner the millennial vote, the Republican Party needs to start being ideologically consistent. If it is truly pro limited government, then it must be limited government in every aspect. Candidates, policies, and talk must start lining up or millennials won’t.
Although the GOP has a tough road ahead of it, there are some major signs of improvement. Traditionally big government Republicans backed off the internet under massive public pressure, and former Republican Presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman is encouraging the party to accept a strong dose of libertarianism. With leadership from people like Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. Walter Jones, the party is slowly taking his advice.
After all, one day it will be millennials and those “impressionable libertarian kids” who decide the fate of America’s elections.