How Republicans Can Win Back Millennial Voters to Succeed in 2014 and Beyond

ByMatthew Swift

Editor's NotePolicyMic is partnering with Concord 51 to host a series of conversations with millennials & high-profile conservatives on the future of the GOP, timed with CPAC 2013. Follow Concord 51 on Facebook and Twitter.

Embrace the war and embrace the debate. Partisan politics is a good thing. Partisan politics is what produces the greatest legislation of our time. There is an electoral shift in this country and the GOP must address it. Urban areas are not voting Republican, even though their Democratic leadership has failed them in many instances. Women are not voting Republican because they are appalled by the comments on issues like abortion made by a few individuals in the party. Minorities are not voting Republican because they have yet to see the proof that we are in fact for them and not against them. 

Every 30 years, political parties tend to go through a dramatic shift. We are at one of these critical moments today.  A dramatic change in direction is required to forge the party platform for the next 30 years. After our loss on November 6, we now need to embrace our shortcomings and come up with an entirely new approach that is inclusive and attractive to a broad populace.

As we see it, there are currently four camps within the GOP that are going to duke it out in the media, in private dining rooms on Capitol Hill and over dinners of political junkies throughout the country. The camps are:

The Denial Camp – Those in complete denial about the current state of the GOP and its inability to connect with voters.

The Dismissive Camp – Those that seem to dismiss half of the country and have determined, without much consideration for the rest of us, that there is little to no point in engaging half of the population.

The Purist Camp – Those that believe that no one should ever evolve their thinking or political beliefs, nor cede any ground or else they will have abandoned their core.

The Disenchanted Camp – Those who are moderates/independents and socially liberal, those who are fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal,  those who value the principals of conservatism/limited government but don’t know it, and those who generally can’t relate to an out of date party approach. 

I am within the disenchanted camp and believe this is where the long-term future of the GOP lies. I am a staunch fiscal conservative and have varying opinions on social issues and I do not consider myself a moderate. There are many other like-minded young professionals who would identify themselves in the same way.  When it comes to federal politics, opinion on social issues will naturally vary. When it comes to fiscal policy, energy policy, defense policy and issues that address the long-term economic viability of the United States, we are not moderate in any form.

As Roger Ailes will tell you, in a war you need the essentials: clothing, shelter and food. But as he will also tell you, communication is the fourth essential. If you cannot communicate, you cannot win. The biggest problem facing the GOP is that we are terrified to communicate for fear that the other faction will win. Why are we so afraid to disagree? Why are we so afraid of vigorous debate within the party? If we cannot embrace dialogue and healthy debate within the party, we will be a party of the minority for decades to come.  So, why not acknowledge that now and start the war. Embrace the difference of opinions, produce a stronger and smarter party platform and go back to governing.

Weigh in below: How do you think the Republican party can re-brand itself to appeal to millennial voters? What issues should it tackle to make in-roads with young people?