Curiosity, more than anything, brought me to attending the State GOP convention (my first!) and though it was entertaining (from the perspective of a mere observer, nothing more) it has further justifies my hesitation in joining or aligning with the GOP or any other political party. I did meet a lot of great people and heard some fine remarks, no doubt about it – overall however, the event was disorganized from the start which led to utter chaos and absurd delays.
Nothing wrong with a bit of organized chaos here and there, but this is a bit much for the party which claims that they are the “best vehicle for translating these ideals [in a word, conservatism] into positive and successful principles of government.”
Imagine my surprise and utter disappointment, after expecting to hear good discussion of issues and policy, all I got was hours of bickering about credentials and delegates.
There is something great that came of this turmoil, however: Randy Brogdon was elected state chairman of the OKGOP, an enormous victory for the grassroots. The future of the party is brighter because of this.
There was a series of good speeches. The most notable of them was Michael Stopp’s, chairman of the Oklahoma Young Republicans Delegation, who addressed how 67 percent of the millennial vote went to the left in 2012. The GOP is losing its grip on the young voters, on the young generations and this is an obvious problem for the continuation of the party’s power.
Stopp said that the GOP needs to focus on two things: economics and education. Couldn’t agree more on both counts; however, I think the GOP is not understanding the real reason they are having a lack of support among the young.
Of the 40,000 new voters who registered last year (mostly young voters, 18-25 years old, presumably) 90% registered as independents. 90%! This tells me that the young are understandably tired of the political party circus built by the previous generations more than anything.
According to a resolution of the OKDP, “There are a growing number of independent voters who share the socially liberal platform of our great party; and THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that the Oklahoma Democrat Party open its primary election to Independent voters effective 2016.”
The Democrats are taking advantage of this. I do not think that the GOP should adopt a socially liberal policy, but instead a socially libertarian policy. There are subtle differences between the two I think – but both would appeal strongly to the young vote.
The GOP now does not appeal to the young vote because they seek to regulate personal life. This is why they will only continue to lose support in the coming years. Of course the Democrat party is by no means the champion of freedom – they will regulate all business away and tax prosperity until it is no more, but they will leave the bedroom alone, and such is the key to their success among young voters.
To the youth of Oklahoma and the United States, this is the only thing that matters to them at this point. The burden of excessive taxation is not yet fully felt; the negative consequences of a bad economic policy is either misattributed or ignored altogether.
The Youth of this nation sees two sides: on one (the left) the promise to stay out of your personal life, and on the other side (the right) all that is seen is a bunch of older people who want nothing more than to regulate personal life based on their “moral principles.” Any wonder why the GOP is losing ground among the youth?
I have the solution of this, but I fear the GOP will not listen. Drop what is hurting you most; the millennial generation is not suddenly going to turn around and adopt these GOP principles on personal life declared on the first pages of the platform.
Less of the policy of “enforcement by the law of what we do and do not like” and more of the philosophy of “freedom to do what you want so long as it does not affect me.”
The rest of the GOP platform of limited taxation, small government, gun rights, free religion, etc., is already harmonious with the latter ideal.
After all, things like gay marriage or marijuana consumption are not as big of a deal as is being presented in the media. It’s absolutely blown out of proportion by both sides for political gains. Yet, it is a contradiction which will prove to be fatal for the GOP.
After all, the Democrats contradict themselves too, again “enforcement by the law of what we do and do not like” and eventually, these contradictions will become apparent.
Would it not be easier to say, “you have the freedom to engage in whatever contract or activity you wish, as long as it does not affect me” and see a strong, liberty based party which will appeal to all, especially the young and the independent voters (which are absolutely essential to deciding elections) or to stick with the same traditional marriage rhetoric that the millennial generation just scoffs at, and see the party fade into obscurity? That is up to the party to decide.
More on the convention to come.