This week, Mobile, Alabama will be hosting the Young Republican National Federation's 2013 Convention, where the future of the Republican Party will be part of the discussion points. U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) is optimistic about the success of the convention. She says, "Conservatives all over the country are organizing to discuss how best to engage the public to promote our principles of limited government and economic prosperity ... We're seeing tremendous momentum among young people and women in particular, so I’m excited to participate in these conferences and visit with those on the front lines of our conservative grassroots movement."
The future of the Grand Ol' Party, and its youngest generation of supporters, can now be discussed openly during the convention. Some have said that the GOP is doomed, but the party is much more resilient then people give it credit for. The Republican Party, just like any other political party, has risen up to the challenge of each new generation time after time. The transitions have often been clunky, operating under new demographics has often called for rethinking old election game plans, and dealing with the widening difference between the two parties has led to a crisis of the moderates. But this has all happened within the Republican Party before. The key to unlocking this new party is understanding the younger generation of Republicans. These conservative millennials are the future of the party. With an understanding of the needs of this youngest generation, an opening up to the power of attracting new demographics, and keeping the principled approach of the party of yesteryear, the GOP will become stronger than ever before.
There are many important issues that younger conservatives hold strong beliefs about. One of these is climate change. Alex Bozmoski, director of strategy and operations for the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, is the head of an organization dedicated to rethinking the Republican approach to climate change. At a Wisconsin event where young conservatives petitioned for a more serious look at climate change Bozomski said, "An elected official may not fully understand the amount of young conservative support that would accrue to them after leading on climate change ... It's not readily apparent when you go to tea party rallies that there's this large group of young conservatives that are singing a slightly different tune — same principles but a different outcome that acknowledges and wants to tackle this issue. These kids want to show that they're out there."
Another important issue now at the forefront of public debate that holds a special place with the younger generation is immigration. The immigration issue is being approached by the Republicans in a careful way that reflects an economic agenda. According to Ross Douthat, a New York Times writer, "... A conservative party with an appealing, populist-inflected economic agenda will ultimately probably win more white votes and more Hispanic votes (and, for that matter, black votes and Asian votes) than a conservative party whose idea of rebranding is just a headlong rush to put President Obama's signature on an immigration bill." Some believe the Rubio-Schumer bill is the key to this "rebranding" nevertheless. What is unquestionable is that immigration is already an important issue, and publicly supporting widespread immigration reform is necessary to open up new demographics for the GOP.
Sticking to the Republican Party's basic principles in the transition may be easier than many may have thought. A survey done by the College Republican National Committee has revealed some more similarities between young people and the GOP that make the job of transforming parts of the party easier. The survey discovered that young people were supportive of Republican platform classics such as "reducing the size of government" and "fixing the national debt." In essence, this reveals that the core of the Republican Party still is gaining support. The party, even in its new form, is still going to be the same ol' elephant from the Reagan years; however, this time it's going to be leaner, meaner, and more competitive in the current political atmosphere in the United States.