March 2, 2015

Civitas Associate Patrick Phillippi’s Op-ed in the Daily Caller: Millennials Pulling the GOP to the Middle

Civitas Associate Patrick Patrick Phillippi’s op-ed on millennials engaging with Republicans was published in the The Daily Caller on Thursday, Feb. 26. Check out the full article in the link below!

Millennials Pulling the GOP to the Middle

“Finally, there are signs Republican Party leaders are moderating on issues that drive many millennial voters away, and instead are focusing like a laser on jobs and the economy. This is a welcome sign for millennial Republicans like me. From the actions of Congress to statements from 2016 candidates, the evidence is clear, and this is a huge step forward for the GOP to build a coalition big enough to win in 2016.

Republicans have much to offer all Americans on fiscal issues, but especially millennials. From lower taxes for young entrepreneurs looking to start a business, to a limited government focus to prevent a government bloat so big that it leaves our generation with a debt we can’t repay. But, a few issues are standing in the way for many millennials to enter the GOP tent, and at the forefront are marriage equality and climate change.

large majority of millennials support marriage equality and believe climate change is happening, sixty-eight percent and sixty-six percent respectively, according to recent polls. Republican opposition on these issues, consequently, is creating a brain drain away from the GOP, not only with the voters we’re courting but also with the campaign talent we need to win. The good news is that leading Republicans are starting to course-correct.

On marriage equality, House Speaker John Boehner said he expects Republicans to stay out of the upcoming Supreme Court case that could legalize same sex marriage nationwide. On climate change, 99 Republicans voted in January that climate change is real. The 2016ers are taking note too, as Jeb Bush said the party should “show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue,” and Scott Walker said the fight over marriage “is over” in Wisconsin.

This is substantial progress for the GOP, and to build a coalition required to win in 2016, the party has no choice but to continue on this path. The goods news is, as CPAC kicks off this week and Presidential contenders begin the long sprint to Election Day 2016, millennials are ripe for the picking. Nearly half of us don’t identify with either party, and we now surpass the baby boomer generation in size. In 2015, according to Pew Research, the millennial generation will increase to 75.3 million and become the nation’s largest living generation, for the first time surpassing the baby boomer population of 74.8 million. Most notable about this statistic is 2016 will mark the first time millennials outnumbers baby boomers in a national election year.

Millennials are also growing up. While we don’t turnout the way older groups do in midterms, we do turnout for national elections, and indeed have increased our share of the electorate between 2008 and 2012. Looking at these numbers, and where millennials stand on the issues, it will be an almost impossibility that a candidate is  elected who doesn’t believe our nation should address climate change or that all Americans should have the freedom to marry the person they love.

Whether GOP leaders moderate out of principle or electoral reality, this shift must happen, and the country will be better for it. With a week of high profile speeches at CPAC, the serious contenders for 2016 must continue to turn the page towards building a more inclusive GOP. Turning this page is the only way to create a national coalition, that includes more millennials, to win back the White House in 2016.”