Rush Limbaugh Gets It Wrong On GOP's Millennial Outreach
Rush Limbaugh isn't helping the Republican party. Whether the party needs "pander" to the millennial generation isn't an option ... it's a necessity. By acting like we're a passing trend while at the same time hoping for an elixir of youth that will keep him and his aging cohort relevant forever, Limbaugh displays a fear of progress that doesn't sit will with young people. Instead of encouraging us to enter politics and attempt to solve age-old problems by regarding them with a fresh eye, Limbaugh is acting as recruiter for the GOP, urging us to subscribe unquestioningly to antiquated ideals.
Right away, Limbaugh presents us with a conundrum: he tells us that he is going to talk about himself and insists that we pay attention to him while pretending that we don't know who he is. In the same exasperated breath, he announces that he won't listen to us because we have to earn the right to be heard by "demonstrating potential" and "being interesting." His op-ed is a response to a very sharp piece written by a young and female National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee and second-year law student at Seton Hall with a number of political achievements under her belt. Is that not potential? Is that not interesting?
But Limbaugh doesn't care about the reality of just how successful and driven our generation is. Embracing and encouraging our talents and ambitions isn't to the benefit of the Republican party he envisions, one whose unwavering goal is to defeat, not compromise with, the Democratic party. What Limbaugh wants is an army of good boys and girls (mostly boys) who will "yes sir" their way to a land of GOP milk and honey.
And the irony of this is that by virtue of writing a column exclusively for a website that caters to politically-minded millennials, Limbaugh is, in fact, pandering to our generation. His listenership may be huge (though the numbers are never certain) but it's aging. Wisely not expecting 20-somethings to flock to him, Limbaugh comes to us. Though he likely never intended to extend an olive branch to millennials, what could have been a rallying call for conservative youth to get involved with the GOP turned into a scolding session that screams of a distrust for all things newfangled.
It's a harsh truth for Limbaugh, but there's just no way for the Republican party to circumvent our generation. His, and the party's, fatal mistake is an unwillingness to change. To view compromise as weakness is a weakness in itself, and this is what's deepening the cracks that riddle his beloved GOP. He says that a party that "reaches out to groups and demographics with ideas that lack cohesion is a party destined to lose," then adds that a "party has to be about a universal set of principles and ideas that attract all kinds of people from all walks of life."
What he's talking about isn't people of "all ages, all genders, all orientations" making an educated decision to vote Republican. Rather, Rush is hoping for passive and unquestioning subscription. With the level of education, political knowledge and access to information available to millennials, the idea of blind followership is becoming as outdated as the party's ideals.