The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio (#RNCinCLE) kicked off this morning, and a slate of speakers have already made their mark. I tuned in to hear a number of folks weakly persuade the crowd to unify around Donald Trump, as expected, but when a number of speakers began mentioning young voters, I perked up.
Would these middle aged speakers thank my generation for pioneering the Party’s cause on social media and praise our efforts to engage right-of-center students on college campuses?
Just the opposite. First, National Chairman of College Republicans Alex Smith remarked that “Millennials cost [the GOP] the White House four years ago. ” Dennis Cook, Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation, echoed her sentiments in a speech just after.
I was livid. I am livid.
No, I don’t need anyone from the GOP to compliment my generation’s efforts; I’m not that entitled. But I certainly don’t appreciate the hypocrisy spewing from our leaders’ mouths. The GOP has never managed to fully catch up with the social media and marketing trends that are necessary to capture young voters. Yes, it is an individual’s civic duty to be informed and make an educated choice at the ballot box, but it is the job of political parties and organizations to make persuasive arguments accessible to the voters.
Hillary Clinton is a corrupt liar for sure, but even her campaign team understands the pressing need to keep up with all trends affecting young voters. That is why she recently referenced Pokèmon Go in an attempt to “catch voters.”
Many users on Twitter poked fun at her efforts, but I guarantee you that most GOP leaders haven’t heard of the trend themselves.
Millennials are constantly on the receiving end of a general blame cast by GOP leaders, and quite frankly, this is just a lazy explanation for why the Party fails to reach young voters. Millennials are blamed for losing entire elections, but over the past several years, I have seen the most innovative thinking and campaigning for conservative causes coming from millennials themselves. But, because the GOP refuses to actually utilize the skills of young conservatives and put them in prominent leadership positions, we continue to lag behind.
And, I might remind the GOP leaders, that it is not the young crew that got us into this current chaotic division within the Party regarding Trump’s nomination. In the Virginia primary, for example, Rubio and Kasich dominated almost every single college town. Imagine how the election would be faring if one of those two individuals were our presidential nominee.
GOP leaders, your move. Stop blaming millennials for your problems and instead listen to their ideas. Hire some young conservatives for important positions or see your party fail indefinitely.