Speakers and participants at the Republican National Convention are eager to talk about the future of America, but are silent on what political shifts they are willing to make to appeal to and energize young voters -- the very voters who are the future of America.
A growing number of millennial voters are embracing a more open-minded, left-leaning approach to social policy. My generation has information at our fingers tips, allowing us to further educate ourselves on how people are affected by social policy. It should come as no surprise then that millennial's have differing views than previous generations on social issues ranging from war to marriage equality.
Will the widening gap between social policy views drive a wedge between millennial voters and the Republican party? Some would argue that young people, like many other Americans, are more concerned about the economy rather than social issues. On the other side, there are those who claim that young Americans are not single-issue voters and that most of them determine who they will vote for based upon a variety of issues.
So what will the future Republican party look like? Although it has been extremely difficult spotting young people around the convention this week, when I did see young people, most of them had one thing in common: they described themselves as libertarians. Although there were pockets of young social conservatives, I was struck by how many of the young people that I did talk to referred to themselves as "fiscally conservative" but also "socially liberal."
So, will the Republicans soon embrace a platform that is economically conservative and socially liberal?
The answer to that last question is simple -- not anytime soon. The Republican National Committee recently adopted a platform that would push for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, and seeks to ban abortions in all cases, including cases of rape and incest. As the GOP continues to reaffirm their commitment to "traditional marriage" and other divisive social issues, they will also continue to isolate themselves from the potential of gaining the vote of the majority of millennials in the future.
Why haven't the Republicans adopted a platform that a majority of young Americans can embrace and ultimately be energized by? The problem is the fact that young voters are largely viewed by the political establishment as unreliable voters, and the worst thing about that assumption is that it is true. Young voters, although they did come out in force during the 2008 presidential election, are not as steady or dependable when one compares them to other voting groups like senior citizens. The reason my generation has not been taken seriously by the political establishment is simply because we have not demanded it. When talking to young people about voting, the most common response is, "Well, my vote doesn't matter, everything is always going to be the same." I must say, it often feels that our votes do not matter, and that everything will stay the same regardless of who we vote for, but how can we expect a political shift, when we do not demand that our voices be heard?
Now the question is, will the Republican party be faced with an ultimatum? The answer to this question is dependent on whether people in my generation decide to stand up and demand that our politicians listen to what we have to say.
Until generation Y stands up and becomes politically active, your votes will not count, and your voices will not be heard. The solution to this problem is simple though, speak up and demand that you be counted. Millennials, we are the future of America. It is now time for us to take that responsibility seriously, and start shaping the future of America now.
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