The GOP Must Focus on Millennials, Minorities, and Women to Stay Relevant

Editor's NotePolicyMic is partnering with Concord 51 to host a series of conversations with millennials & high-profile conservatives on the future of the GOP, timed with CPAC 2013. Follow Concord 51 on Facebook and Twitter.

Greater inclusion of young people, minorities, and women – the trifecta – in policymaking represents the rolling evolution of our society toward a more perfect union and, if embraced, toward a more perfect GOP platform. 

If one views today’s media sound-bites and the platforms of some of the “loudest” politicians out there, you see limited thoughtfulness and limited diversity of opinions, policy, and analysis. This goes for both sides of the aisle. Yet, the GOP seems to take first prize for myopia these days, characterized by: divisiveness inside the party, being projected outwards; a failure to parlay introspection into actions; a lack of diversity of membership; and questionably realistic solutions for its platform beyond the biting sound of that nightly sound bite. The GOP could highlight the same negative attributes of its Democratic counterparts, but if Republicans want to succeed, they shouldn't compare themselves to the mediocre, they should aim above.

If the GOP truly wants to recapture a broad swath of support in the 21st century, it should look to attract youth, minorities, and women to help it bring a necessary focus back to its roots. Or, it should focus on its roots to help bring these game-changers back into the party. By doing so, it will bring a humanizing element to a party many believe puts ideology first and people second. Many voters seek a place where they can act on their belief in the community’s greatness and the individual’s potential to be the source of their change and their future, without having to rely on the heavy hand of bureaucrats.

Surprisingly, in contradiction to today’s evidence, the fundamental roots of the GOP rest on opportunities and empowerment of the individual complimented by a strong, independent community that embraces and cultivates these citizens. Ideally and evenly applied across social and economic policies, such a platform cultivates the belief that individuals are unique, complex, and diverse with the right to determine actions for themselves based on these factors. A narrowly defined prescriptive hand will not encourage growth, entrepreneurship, rights and responsibilities, or ingenuity.

The ideal trifecta strongly embodies each of these factors. It is community oriented, which is a necessity for the promotion of economic and social opportunities relative to the traditional norm or current economic realities. It is also driven, having recognized that to overcome traditional barriers requires dedication and self-reliance. These experiences are proof that prescriptive policies or the heavy guiding hand of the state often fail to recognize the multitude of diversities in every single person and community. Finally, youth in particular represent a new age of thinking that more readily accepts many of these principles. They also have access to infinite amounts of information within the blink of an eye, demand to have their opinions heard, are disrupting and creating technologies, ideas, and businesses with unprecedent speed, and prefer to live in a more layered society. This trifecta needs an empowering outlet for political expression where it is not taken as a narrowly defined category, but rather viewed as an integral part of a renewed community with which it can identify and grow.

To more naturally align the party with the socially inclusive and economically conservative policies that so many are quickly realizing is the future for the GOP requires thoughtful, empathetic, and hopeful politicians who take into account all of these individuals. This must then be parlayed into nuanced policy that demonstrates smartness and includes complex factors and solutions required to propel us through some of the 21st century’s most difficult challenges and opportunities.

This is a call to the GOP to rise up – thoughtfully – seize its roots, seize people’s potential, and grow again into the smart party it has the potential to be.

Weigh In: Should the Republican Party make a special effort to attract millennial, minority, and women voters? If so, how can it do so effectively?