Updated: Oct 18, 2021
The Republican Party has always protected the public from government micromanagement, encouraged a free economy, and ensured individual liberty, safety, and security. However, with its such policies come certain values that are detrimental to current American voters.
Considering that American youth’s affiliation can suggest that of the next generation, the GOP has reason to be concerned. With the massive youth voter turnout in this year’s election, it is apparent that the youth are overwhelmingly voting Democratic. Several aspects of the Republican Party are to blame for this shift.
Stances on Climate Change Action
Several GOP politicians have opposed combating climate change. The majority of the party is overwhelmingly in support of practices including fracking that are detrimental to the environment. Various Republicans outright deny the situation; for example, netizens still ridicule the infamous 2015 “Snowball in the Senate” incident, in which Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) memorably brought a snowball from outside into the Senate building, supposedly as a means of denying the existence of global warming.
Considering the direness of the situation for the youth and the future state of the Earth, such refusal to combat — let alone accept the existence of — climate change can be a significant factor in the youth’s opposition to the GOP.
This is unsurprising, considering that the Democrats are more concerned about climate change than their Republican counterparts. Hence, it is unlikely for those who believe climate change and global warming pose a serious threat to vote red unless a significant change that promises possibility of pivot in policy pertaining to climate change is made by Republicans.
Furthermore, which actions to take against climate change could be a key issue that would allow Republicans to gain an advantage over the Democrats because the Democrats’ current plans to combat climate change involve massive government spending and regulation. The Democratic Party’s signature “Green New Deal” — supported by numerous politicians on the far left — has been estimated to cost as much as $93 trillion.
In contrast, the Republicans — with some reformations — can cater to voters as the party that believes in privatization of the alternative fuel industry via the transition from traditional energy sources. They would gain an advantage over the Democrats, considering that they do not support the implementation of crippling taxes and government restrictions on the public; conservative politicians could even push for tax cuts to private companies transitioning away from fossil fuels.
After all, the alternative energy industry has a high potential to create an influx of jobs in the coming years in light of the climate situation. Transition to alternative energy without government control could (and should) be the new normal for conservatives in years to come.
Such stances by the GOP pertaining to climate change are detrimental to conservatives across the nation. In light of the Republicans’ overwhelming non-support of climate action as well as recent COVID-19 catastrophes, many liberals and centrists are painting the GOP as a non-scientific, backward thinking party.
Non-Support of LGBTQ+ Rights
Considering the GOP’s massive support amongst Evangelical Christians and other traditional groups, transitioning to a platform which supports the increased rights of LGBTQ+individuals would be difficult for the party. After all, Republicans have always championed religious freedom rights for individuals. That being said, the party can shift to a more accepting platform that accepts religious and traditional values whilst also supporting LGBTQ+ people.
In order for the GOP to gain support amongst youth, it’s imperative for Republicans to support the marriage equality resolution passed by the Supreme Court during Former President Barack Obama’s term. This would allow the abysmally low rates of LGBTQ+ Republican voters to increase.
Unlike the Democrats, however, the GOP would still respect the traditional beliefs of Americans who oppose LGBTQ+ rights. This would give the party an edge over the increasingly leftist Democratic Party, of which many are fearful considering the agenda of their more liberal members. The advantage for the GOP, in this case, would be that the party would become more inclusive and also not disregard the importance of religious and individual freedom in America.
Diversification of Those in Power
The GOP’s greatest weakness in the eyes of youth voters is the lack of diversity of its politicians because most Republican leaders are old white males. For example, in the U.S. Senate, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is the only Republican senator who is Black. In contrast, the Democratic party is far more diverse, with non-white leaders spanning a broad range of ethnicities such as Middle-Easterns, Black people, and Asians.
Incorporating more ethnic and racial minorities into the upper leadership of the Republican Party could be instrumental in drawing youth support. After all, the massive turnout resulting in Former President Obama’s election was partly due to the inspirations associated with the having of a minority president.
Republicans are in a Dire Position
Although such feats may seem challenging for the GOP to achieve in a short amount of time, the timing is critical. With even supposed Republican stronghold states such as Texas being classified as tossups in 2020, the situation could not be direr for Republicans: Either reform platforms on select issues or risk the end of the party.
Republicans have an opportunity to, in fact, gain the youth vote; with the Trump administration’s concerning COVID-19 response, many are now self-identifying with neither the Democratic nor the Republican, citing outdated social views of the Republicans while also expressing concern regarding the Democrats’ recent leaps towards the extreme left and the possibilities of increased taxes, government regulation of the economy, and the condoning of violence in the name of justice. “I don’t agree with most of the Democrats’ policies, but the GOP is backward thinking and anti-science,” an anonymous individual said.
America could already be on the path to reform in the GOP; with a potential blue wave in 2020, pundits suggest that such a temporary hiatus in Republican incumbency could result in new faces being added to the national stage in conservative politics. For instance, Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan—both of whom are conservative Republicans in fiercely blue states— are both considered to be likely contenders in the 2024 Presidential race Furthermore, minority rising stars in the infamously White-dominated party like Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are projected to advance in their rankings as well. Many also predict the Republican Party shifting towards favoring alternative energy in the coming years.
However, if the party fails to reform one way or the other, we could witness the end of a major political party on the national stage since that of the Whigs in the 19th century.