Meghan McCain: Is This the New Face Of the Republican Party?


Being the daughter of a famous person is difficult enough. The whole world is privy to some of the most awkward periods of your childhood whenever your parent is in the public eye. The same goes for Meghan McCain, the straightforward, more liberal daughter of former presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). She's been on the political stage since before her father began working in Washington, D.C., in 1982. After graduating and working for MSNBC, she's decided to break out into television on her own. Her new show, Raising McCain, premiered on the millennial-oriented channel Pivot on Saturday and promises to discuss real issues that millennials care about. This might just be the push that the Republican Party needs to make inroads with millennials.

McCain's political beliefs don't necessarily match up with those of the rest of the Republican Party. In fact, she was regarded a controversial figure during her father's presidential campaign, with staffers who tried to limit her appearances at campaign events. She is very passionate about environmental issues and gay rights, but also believes that the government should remain small, stating that "yes, [she's] still a Republican." She feels that it's very difficult for her to be a moderate, saying that she's "too liberal for Fox News and too conservative for MSNBC," and hopes to bridge the divide between liberal and conservative millennials through her show. 

McCain hopes to connect to her audience on a personal level. The original genre for the show was a talk show, but McCain didn't want to preach to her peers from on high. Instead, through a unique format showcasing a guest co-host every episode and filming it like a reality show, McCain hopes to learn alongside her audience. The first episode of the show will focused on issues of privacy on the internet, and McCain's approach to the hot topic was indeed creative. She and journalist Michael Moynihan decided to have a competition to see who could dig up more dirt on the other person in the shortest amount of time. Her unscripted dialogue also focuses on the dangers of sexting and how to navigate the even more tenuous boundaries of dating and social life.  

How does this relate to politics? Despite her voting for John Kerry in the 2004 election, McCain now considers herself a loyal member of the Republican Party. She intends not to use this show as a bully pulpit, stating that she is "still trying to figure out the world" and wants to have "much more of a conversation with the audience," but also understands that the current polarized state of political discourse is putting young Americans off. She hopes to discuss other important issues, such as what it means to be gay in America in 2013 and being an engaged citizen, in future episodes of the show. She also intends to collaborate with her brother, Jimmy McCain, for an episode about millennial veterans (Jimmy joined the army at age 19 and served in Iraq). 

True, Meghan McCain may be considered "on the fringe" by more traditional Republicans, but the truth is that McCain might be the face of younger Republicans. While understanding that the Republican Party is particularly doctrinaire, she is willing to engage with millennials in a unique way that the party hasn't tried before. Through this show, she might be able to win Republicans millennials' votes — and maybe even their hearts.