Can Republicans win over Millennial Voters?

millenialsThe answer is simple: We must aggressively pursue an agenda of opportunity. — Rep. Tom Reed

Mytheos Holt, writing for The Daily Caller, explains that the GOP has a problem with younger voters. After noting that cherished right wing views on “social issues” don’t appeal to millennials, he writes:

So yeah, social issues have to go, but that’s not all. You’ve got to do more than keep talking about how capitalism will save the young if they just give it time. This generation wants to see results. Literally. When it comes to government spending, they don’t care how they get jobs, so long as something works. If it’s infrastructure spending, fine. If it’s job training programs, cool. And if it’s tax cuts? Well, six in ten of them are fine with those, but they have to actually create job growth. This generation is fed up with waiting for economic opportunity. They want it now, and they don’t care how they get it. If you want to win with them, you need a jobs program that comports with your principles, but that also will work, and you need it yesterday. 

Mytheos Holt has a point–millennials might well approve efforts to create good paying jobs. Opposing a reasonable minimum wage, suggesting more tax breaks for businesses and wealthy persons, and rescinding environmental regulations ostensibly to create jobs, as Rep. Tom Reed and other Republicans do, isn’t likely to win their support. Holt continues:

Now, I’m going to tell you something a little scary: 54 percent of millennials want the government to guarantee a college degree. That’s right. 54 percent. But you know why they favor that kind of expansive government spending? Because most of them are poor.

Yes, we are a low wage country with widespread poverty. What does Mr. Holt suggest?

Millennials aren’t hardline liberals, in other words. They’re just desperate, and they’ll vote for whoever looks serious about helping them. And you know what would help them? That’s right, a job.

Yes, and not just any low-wage, part-time job; a real full-time job with benefits.

Look, Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, let’s be honest. You know your economic principles work better than the left’s. History’s proven it again and again. But this generation didn’t get to see those principles in action. All they’ve seen of Republicans is a man who increased spending more than any President since Lyndon Johnson getting called a “conservative” because he campaigned against gay marriage. You know you can do better than that. So go out and prove it. The people who will vote for you because you’ll keep them safe from the gays are dying. The people who could vote for you because you saved them from poverty are waiting, and hoping, for a better alternative. And if you don’t give it to them by finding a way to get them jobs? Well, sorry, but you’ll probably lose yours.

In brief, Mytheos Holt, like Bobby Jindal, suggests that the GOP stop being the stupid party, clinging to cherished, hurtful, out-of-date beliefs. Sadly, I found no concrete suggestion in his article for doing that.

© William Hungerford – July 2014



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6 Responses to Can Republicans win over Millennial Voters?

  1. solodm says:

    In 2010, Mytheos Holt didn’t seem to be getting the message too well himself. He wrote ” Elegy for Wesleyan”; in which he describes the horrors of attending a Wesleyan orientational program designed to inform and encourage freshmen to drop stereotypes and consider equality. He missed the point. Mr. Holt appears to want to follow exactly in the “new normal” of Conservative ( and Reedian) political rhetoric – ” tell them anything, true or not – then take what you want”.


  2. whungerford says:

    The GOP’s problem is that too many Republicans believe too many things that just ain’t so. Koch funded propaganda reinforcing such beliefs just makes it worse for them.


  3. josephurban says:

    I liked the quote, referring to conservatives and libertarians, ” You know your economic principles work better than the left’s.” Really ? Principles that give massive tax breaks to big business at the expense of workers ? The biggest “transfers of wealth” are not welfare programs for the poor. They are tax breaks, tax credits and tax loopholes for the wealthy and big business. In a true “laissez-faire” system business would not get tax bailouts. And that is nothing new. The “capitalists ” have always demanded government bailouts. The railroad barons went broke until rescued by federal money. The mining industry and oil industry survived for the last 100 years with massive subsidies (paid for by the working taxpayers). FDR bailed out the entire failed system. Despite their hatred of FDR, it was his policies that saved capitalism. And lately Wall Street has been saved from collapse, by what ? Federal dollars. One of the great myths that the right wing of the political spectrum has been able to keep alive is the idea that “capitalism” works as an economic system. It works only for the very few. Until people begin to look at the REAL economic history of corporate socialism they will continue to buy the myth that the US brand of capitalism works. It doesn’t.


  4. whungerford says:

    What would happen if the GOP retained control of the House, gained a majority in the Senate, and elected a Republican President in 2016? The GOP would still be a “house divided against itself.” Would they continue to resolve internal conflicts with the “Hastert Rule” doing nothing that would expose their differences? Would they embrace default, turn the USA into a “nation” of fifty fiefdoms, legislate morality, and adopt a host of other bad ideas that some of them favor? Would they play “follow the leader” with the President whatever he or she might propose as they did with GWB? In any case, the outcome would likely be another disaster.


  5. Anne says:

    I wonder if the author was remembering the time (as I do) when you could at least trust the R’s with the checkbook. He isn’t, I’m assuming, old enough to have lived through that era, but perhaps he’s heard stories…the current insistence that trickle-down economics “work[s] better than the left’s” is only true in the sense that it benefits people at the top–who happen to be the people who make the laws, and the entities that purchase their favors. Even the millennials I know who are fiscal conservatives are socially progressive, and the current far-right love affair with homophobia, racism, misogyny, &tc. is a complete turn-off to them. Also, none of them seem interested in living under a theocracy, so the whole “Christian Nation” mythology also alienates them.


  6. whungerford says:

    Was there ever a time when Republicans were fiscal conservatives? Often they were and are assumed to be that, but consider this:
    “Roosevelt’s (FDR) Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. believed in balanced budgets, stable currency, reduction of the national debt, and the need for more private investment. Morgenthau accepted Roosevelt’s double budget as legitimate–that is a balanced regular budget, and an “emergency” budget for agencies, like the WPA, PWA and CCC, that would be temporary until full recovery was at hand. He fought against the veterans’ bonus until Congress finally overrode Roosevelt’s veto and gave out $2.2 billion in 1936. Morgenthau’s most notable achievement was the new Social Security program; he managed to reverse the proposals to fund it from general revenue and insisted it be funded by new taxes on employees. Morgenthau insisted on excluding farm workers and domestic servants from Social Security because workers outside industry would not be paying their way.”

    Many Republicans, Tom Reed for example, pose as fiscal conservatives, while favoring low taxes and spending lavishly on things they like.


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