Posted by: sweeneyblog | June 11, 2013

Young Conservatives Dissatisfied with Party Stance

I’ve written quite a few times about the disconnect between older and younger conservatives. Locally, this conflict was highlighted when they were shut out of the County Republican nominating convention in 2012. It seems as if I’m not the only person interested in this divide.

The College Republican National Committee produced some fascinating reading for political junkies this week, titled “A Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation.”

Young Republican

Young Republican Logo

While Republican incumbents are wary of Tea Party challenges this next election, this report suggests that perhaps they should spend time addressing younger voter (under 30) interests. While older people tend to vote more, younger voters are developing voting habits and party loyalties that will linger for future elections, warns the report.

Much has already been made about the low tolerance of young people with the Republican party’s closed-minded social agenda. But what I find interesting is the revelation that young Republican voters are just like all young voters when it comes to issues. They are mired economically, saddled with debt and worried about their careers and economic future.

Not surprisingly, the Republican party’s focus on taxation and business issues has left many young voters, even Republican voters who want to start businesses, “thinking they will only reap the benefits of Republican policies if they become wealthy or rise to the top of a big business. We’ve become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer a hand to help you get there.”

I couldn’t agree more.

And while “big government” continues to be a concern for young Republicans, they don’t see government as Doctor Doom.

“Focus on fixing the debt, on tackling long-term problems, on reforming institutions that are broken, absolutely. But realize that railing against “big government” isn’t the most effective way to win the hearts and minds of this generation.”

I think that’s a message shared by most young people, regardless of party stripe. We want action; we want results. Start addressing the problems that need addressing and give us the opportunity to get on our feet and prepare for the mess you leave behind.

This is one of the reasons why the hard-line conservative stance being taken by our state Republicans is not going to win them any votes. Do young voters, no matter their political stripe, care about a five cent tax on bottled water? Not really. Do they care that the summer work program is getting slashed? Heck yes, that’s job experience and pay in your pocket. Young conservatives see the connection between, say, sound economic investment in STEM programs and “wasteful government spending.” I only hope they can persuade their older counterparts before too much damage is done.



  1. Liked this summary in Daily Kos which focused on the fact that young Republicans, like young Democrats, are repelled by the Party of Hate. That, more as much as how obstreperous they’ve been about addressing serious problems, has worried me most, because I thought we were trending toward being the Nation of Mean. The poll indicates that the nastiness costs them votes in the under 30 population, so maybe there’s some hope for us as a nation. I’ve said for a while, I could only wish there were “real” Republicans in Congress and our legislature. Maybe we’ll see some again.

  2. Ideologues can present no history in which they accomplished anything worthwhile

  3. I agree. I know and interact with a lot of young people of all stripes. Regardless of party, they are very disenchanted with the mean spirited Republican Party. They don’t like anything or anybody except those on the very extreme right of the party—the fringe. I will admit that I have voted for Republicans many years in the past—but “these ain’t your father’s Republican party”. They used to be reasonable, and I didn’t always agree with everything they did, just like I don’t agree with everything the Democratic Party does, but at least they were amenable and you could deal with them. This Republican Party is the most intransigent and meanest political party that I have ever seen in my time as a voter. I think that Rep’s Buys and Overstreet fit right in to this mold. They think they are young up and comers, but they might find out that the other young people, aka voters, might not appreciate their fringe and uncooperative attitudes that are hurting the people of Washington State. The Republican Party is against everything and all the progress we have made in our society in the area of civil rights in the last seventy or so years. They want to take this country back to the 1950’s when women were “barefoot and pregnant, and didn’t work out of the home, where my black friends are still in the back of the bus, my gay friends are still in the closet and our Hispanic neighbors are still back in Mexico. Additionally, they don’t want the poor to get the help they so desperately need, including food stamps, medical care, housing, education and the other necessities of life. Yet they have no problem letting the rich and big business have all the loopholes and in many cases pay no taxes or even shamefully get tax refunds. These two are more interested in themselves then they are the people of the State of Washington. I think that if the current Republican, Teahadist, Party does not change they will be out in the wilderness for a very long time.

  4. […] written before about the oncoming strife between the younger libertarians getting involved in the Republican party, and the older, more social issue focused, conservatives that make up the party leadership. Down in […]

  5. […] they are on offense, however their continued alienation from any non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-young voters is continuing to cost them […]

  6. […] While Conservatives can try to limit the amount of people who vote, they will continue to miss out on the big picture: they are losing touch with the general populace. Already polls conducted by national Republicans show that young voters find conservative ideas in general and the Republican brand specifically to be toxic. […]

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