The ideals and concerns of millennials make them the perfect demographic for the GOP to target, despite the fact that only 20 percent of them currently identify with the Republican Party.
American voters age 18-35, the largest voting age group in the United States, are not just lazy and entitled, as many older Republicans believe. They are passionate, driven, and innovative, making up the largest portion of the current work force. Older millennials now have families to support and care deeply about their futures and the future of our country.
“In the United States, the interests of millennials are ones that are tailor-made for conversion to the Republican Party,” said the Daily Beast’s Evan Seigfried. “They are a diverse group of men and women who are socially more libertarian and economically more conservative.”
The GOP’s millennial problem does not necessarily stem from conservative policies, but rather from how such policies are communicated. Republicans often fail to explain the reasoning behind certain stances in a way that resonates with young voters.
“Young Americans believe that the Democrats care more about creating an economy that benefits everyone, while at the same time, [millennials] choose openness and innovation over Washington regulation,” Madison, a contributing writer for the Future Female Leaders of America, said.
The GOP has a history of opposing the expansion of entitlement spending, which leads many to believe that they don’t care about the poor. Rather than pounding the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” argument, Seigfried suggests that Republicans could stress the free market, not the government, as an answer to problematic social programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
“They have in place a policy that penalizes urban users who try to use telemedicine apps that enable a patient to speak with and be treated by a board-certified doctor with the push of a button on their smartphone—all without having to leave their home,” he said in regard to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “If you live in an urban area, CMS will not cover this because, in their antiquated view, patients are geographically close enough to a doctor’s office that they do not require telemedicine care for a noncritical issue.”
So instead of spending $50 in taxpayer money on a telemedicine visit, patients are often forced to visit the emergency room — as many doctors in urban areas are no longer accepting Medicare and Medicaid — which can cost taxpayers over $1,200. Eliminating this arbitrary government rule and embracing free market innovation would allow the federal government to spend less on entitlement programs without reducing their quality of care.
Millennials grew up during a financial crisis, so being fiscally cautious isn’t an outrageous proposal to them. However, fiscal responsibility is often overshadowed by the notion that conservatives are not compassionate. It’s likely that young voters would be receptive to Republican economic proposals, as long as they don’t appear to lack empathy.
“The key to winning young American votes is to reform the GOP’s messaging to fit to the millennial ideology. This does not mean straying from our core beliefs. They’re practically begging for a Republican candidate, and they don’t even know it,” Madison concluded. “Make freedom look more appealing from the right side. It’s critically important that we associate the policies we propose with freedom, openness, fresh and new ideas, and working from the bottom up instead of the top down.”
That is to say, conservative policies can solve inequality of all forms, a major concern of millennials, if Republicans are able to make their message worth listening to.