Mitt Romney

OPINION: Republicans can capture this demographic if they hold back on social issues

The Democratic Party no longer has an undeniable hold on millennial voters, with an increasing number shifting toward the right side of the political spectrum, according to a report issued by Pew Research Center.

A newly identified subset of young voters are now “skeptical of activist government,” and a “substantial majority” of this subset “view government as wasteful and inefficient,” according to the study, Beyond Red v. Blue: The Political Typology, released on June 26.

This group of fiscally conservative, small-government advocates is classified as “young outsiders” by the study, among eight political typology groups that include “steadfast conservatives,” “solid liberals” and “politically disengaged bystanders.”

While young outsiders aren’t entirely comprised of millennial voters, Pew says the category is collectively the youngest of all typology groups, with 30 percent under 30 and most under 50.

The findings of the study complicate the view of millennials from a mere two years ago, when many voters now classified as young outsiders supported the reelection of President Barack Obama.

Sixty-seven percent of voters ages 18 to 29 cast their ballots for Obama, to 30 percent for former Gov. Mitt Romney. Voters 30-44 years old supported Obama 52 percent to 45 percent in support of Romney.

The cause of the rightward shift? Take your pick from a long list of grievances: out-of-control government spending, the soaring costs of higher education, government corruption, staggering unemployment and the uncertain job market, among many other issues.

One of the topic issues in the typology study is entitlement and welfare spending.

As compared to 48 percent of the general public, 86 percent of young outsiders believe that “government aid to the poor does more harm than good,” said the report. Further, 76 percent of young outsiders believe the government cannot afford to further assist those in need.

Government over-involvement is another issue of top concern, with 66 percent of young outsiders indicating that they feel the government is doing too much to resolve the country’s issues and problems.

While millennials’ viewpoints on government spending and the scope of federal power are shifting toward the right, the demographic holds mostly liberal opinions on social issues, including environmental protection regulations and controversial social policies.

Young outsiders feel that society should accept homosexuality (78 percent) compared to 62 percent of the general population. The group favors the legalization of marijuana (67 percent), and 58 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Yet despite their general resistance to government spending, 68 percent of young outsiders believe that the costs of stricter environmental laws and regulations are worthwhile.

Curiously, young outsiders veer back to the right on the gun-control debate, with 63 percent stating that protecting the right to own firearms is important.

Despite mostly socially liberal viewpoints, Pew predicts young outsiders will still lean Republican when comes to casting a ballot, although the category does not favorably view either political party. This bodes well for the GOP in the approaching midterm elections, but only if they understand the opportunity the party is afforded by this realignment of youth political philosophies.

studentsforliberty.sflThe GOP needs the young outsider demographic almost as much as the group wants stringent, fiscally conservative leaders and representatives, presenting an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship that has the potential for a very large return.

Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate that they are not just the party of stodgy old white men, but also appeal to a vast array of demographics in age and gender.

Young outsiders are largely comprised of two demographic groups that could vastly contribute to improving the GOP’s image problem – youth and women. Women comprise 52 percent of young outsiders, according to the report.

However, there is a large difference between ideological agreement and actual ballots being cast for conservative candidates on Election Day.

The best plan of attack for the GOP is to leave social issues for another day and focus on appealing to young voters with decisive, realistic plans for resolving the financial problems facing our country.

Jobs, the economy, deregulation, entitlement reform and legislation that lowers the cost of college tuition – not combating the social culture war of our elders – are the issues that this demographic wants to hear about.

College Fix contributor Julianne Stanford is a student at the University of Arizona.

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IMAGES: European Parliament/Flick, Students for Liberty

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Celina Durgin at The Corner reports on the fees charged by Hillary Clinton at assorted colleges across the land: “$1.8 million in fees for speeches to eight universities during the past nine months, receiving over $200,000 for each.” Aside from the recent controversy surrounding her gig at UNLV,

Clinton also earned a $250,000 fee in April from the University of Connecticut, where tuition recently rose 6.5 percent, and $300,000 in March from UCLA. She has been paid for speeches at the University at Buffalo, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Simmons College, and the University of Miami. Claremont McKenna College paid Romney a mere $11,475 to speak there.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, remember the hassle the media gave him during the 2012 campaign about his speaking fees? Well, his disclosure forms show a total of “$374,000 for nine speeches.” That works out to approximately $41,592 per speech.

How’s that compare to Mrs. Clinton, eh?

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Via Examiner.com:

Assistant Professor Brittney Cooper wrote an article for Salon magazine (Tuesday) claiming that Melissa Harris-Perry was right to apologize for mocking Mitt Romney’s black grandchild, but she was still the target of “faux-outrage on the right.”

Cooper said: “What costs white folks a slap on the wrist, or a mildly disapproving look, costs black people our dignity.”

The Rutgers professor said in her article titled, “White supremacy wins again: Melissa Harris Perry and the racial false equivalence,” that Harris-Perry was “an unfair target, left at the mercy of the right’s utter dishonesty on questions of race.”

Read more.

IMAGE: A2Gemma/Flickr

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My liberal friends are always posting clever, politically related pictures, quotes and memes on social media.

For example, they were among the tens of thousands of people across the nation who changed their Facebook profile picture to red-colored equal signs when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on same-sex marriage in late March.

Where were College Republicans with an official and clever little icon to post in support of traditional marriage? Nowhere to be found.

So I changed my profile picture to that of a man and a woman, which sparked quite a dialogue. How cool would it have been if that were more widespread?

This week, the College Republican National Committee released a postmortem on what went wrong with the youth vote in the November election, during which “President Barack Obama won 5 million more votes than Gov. Mitt Romney among voters under the age of 30 … enough to ensure his re-election.”

To earn more youth votes to the Republican ticket come 2016, the 95-page report cites numerous ideas and strategies, among them improved social media campaigns.

Gee, you think?!

I know that people my age use their smartphones much more than “at least once a week,” and nearly everybody uses various apps/texting “multiple times per day,” as the report stated.

It seemed odd the notion was startling to College Republican leaders.

I’m no College Republican crusader. I’m a 21-year-old English and theater major at San Diego State University who may or may not still be listed on the College Republican’s membership roster.

But I’m on their side, and while some of the report’s advice is obvious and should already have been undertaken with earnest, on the positive side – it’s a good start.

The strategies show at least College Republicans are doing something, instead of just giving up and accepting labels put on us by Democrats.

The report used focus groups, surveys, and looked at studies to gather its intel and advise students how to address such hot-topics as abortion, immigration, health care and the military.

But the larger issue is image, the rhetoric used by Republicans. Neither resonates with young people, the report said.

We cannot be content to concede labels like “caring” or “open-minded” to the Democrats just because they want us to.

“It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party,” according to the report. “They simply dislike the Republican Party more. . … Young ‘winnable’ Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard ‘Republican Party.’ The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.”

In my opinion, we have to work based off of our own brand. Meaning, we shouldn’t argue why we aren’t racist or homophobic, because that essentially validates Democratic posturing.

Instead, we have to explain why we are intelligent, helpful, hardworking.

Definitely making better use of Facebook and Twitter is a good idea. The report also suggested identifying younger, hip candidates. Sure, why not?

Ultimately, however, we need to articulate our positions better, and not just College Republicans – all Republicans, politicians included.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Obama’s oratory skills are largely what got him elected.

On our side, people like Dennis Prager and Michael Medved have ways of clearly explaining issues. Everything is brought down to simple, intelligent discussions. Why can’t our politicians speak more like that, instead of talking down to people?

Take the health care issue. At San Diego State, it is not required to take an economics class to earn a bachelor’s degree. I assume that is similar elsewhere. So the idea that a small business owner would have to cut employees in order to stay afloat in the face of Obamacare is not inherently understood.

We heard some of that during the Obamacare debate, but not enough. The national conversation centered on Obamacare’s unconstitutionality.

Like the report says, a bad message doesn’t earn votes or support.

“Economic growth, tackling long-term challenges, and focusing on opportunity trumped narratives around the constitution, liberty, and American values,” it stated. “While those things are not unimportant, this generation is looking for outcomes – particularly economic outcomes – that are going to make them better off.”

In the end, the report essentially offered five basic ideas, stating: focus on the economic issues that affect young people  today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment; capture the brand attributes of intelligence, hard work, and responsibility; don’t concede “caring” and “open-minded” to the left; fix the debt and cut spending, but recognize that messages about “big government” are the least effective  way to win this battle of ideas with young voters; and go where young voters are and give them something to share.

It’s a good start.

Fix contributor Emily Yavitch is a student at San Diego State University.

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The usual suspects will speak this week at the Conservative Political Action Committee confab, a.k.a. CPAC, during which thousands of Republicans, conservatives and libertarians converge to brainstorm, network and strategize.

Launched in 1974 with Ronald Reagan as its first featured speaker, the annual March event, organized by the American Conservative Union, has grown ever since.

However, as much as CPAC attempts to rally, galvanize, and unify conservatives, it often ends up exposing serious rifts and disagreements within the movement. This year’s slate of speakers promises to do the same.

The usual suspects will all be present. Mitt Romney’s silver sideburns will be seen in a major public venue for the first time since his defeat in the November election. It will be interesting to see if his tone and rhetoric have undergone any changes; perhaps a more believable and relatable as person will emerge.

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, will also be there. He’s been relatively quiet and arguably soft lately. He could really use a hard-hitting, passionate speech filled with great ideas to help regain some of the relevance and credibility he once enjoyed.

Then, for entertainment purposes, CPAC has also invited Sarah Palin, whose relevance and credibility are certainly in their twilight hours.

As mentioned above, CPAC is often a microcosm of intraparty battles. There are two emerging factions within the Republican Party; we’ll call them the “conservatives” and the “libertarians.”

Marco Rubio has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the conservative ranks. Elected to the Senate in 2010, he has earned a place of prominence and is widely viewed as one of the top contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination. Earlier this year, he delivered the official Republican response to the State of the Union address, during which he lunged for a now infamous water bottle.

Contrast Rubio with another first-term senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul, a polished and subdued version of his father, is the face of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. While Rubio’s and Paul’s speeches at CPAC will likely contain a lot of the same messages, Paul will likely differ on issues of war, defense spending, and civil liberties. We’ll most likely also hear him call for an audit of the Pentagon.

One of Paul’s closest allies in the senate is Mike Lee, a quieter and less controversial libertarian, although many might consider him more principled from an ideological perspective. He is one of a few potential surprises that we may see this year at CPAC.

Ted Cruz, only a few months in to his freshman senate term, has already made a name for himself for his boisterous and often blockading views and votes. As an ethnic minority, like Rubio, he could potentially become a Very Important Person as Republicans seek to adapt to modern demographics.

One more senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, will make his first influential national speech at CPAC. He is well-known in his home state for being exceptionally hawkish on fiscal issues, and it will be interesting to see how well he introduces himself to conservatives across the country.

Finally, Dr. Ben Carson is poised to become the next Herman Cain, hopefully with a few more brain cells. This Johns Hopkins powerhouse will certainly be a favorite of the anti-Washington-insiders crowd.

CPAC 2013 will also feature a number of young political and ideological rising stars.

Jeff Frazee is the founder and Executive Director of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), an organization that boasts a membership of over 125,000 people and possesses a network of over 380 local chapters on college campuses nationwide. Their stated goal is to “identify, educate, train, and mobilize young people on the ideals of liberty and the Constitution.”

A similar organization, Students for Liberty (SfL), which was founded in 2008, is led by Alexander McCobin, who will also speak at CPAC. SfL’s biggest claim to fame is their annual international conference, which draws thousands of youngsters from around the world. Both Frazee and McCobin are expected to deliver speeches with libertarian themes; McCobin’s may prove to be the most libertarianesque of all the speeches at CPAC.

Francesca Chambers is the editor of Red Alert Politics, a popular conservative online news site geared toward college students. Chambers and the two young men represent the future of conservatism in America.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the speaking line-up is who will not be present. The ACU was wise to not include the likes of Donald Trump, to be sure, but many are left scratching their heads at the exclusion of Chris Christie.

Fix contributor Joseph Diedrich is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also Director of Operations of Young Americans for Liberty at UW, and a columnist for Washington Times Communities.

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