Another GOP “autopsy” is out, and this one, from the College Republican National Committee, looks at why young people rejected the GOP in 2012. And — unsurprisingly — it found a “dismal present situation.”
“Grand Old Party for a Brand-New Generation” basically finds that the GOP’s biggest problem with young people is that it’s not the Democratic Party. Think Progress‘ Igor Volsky looked at the study and found that younger voters simply don’t trust the GOP or agree with them on much of anything.
Focus groups were asked how voters would describe the GOP. “The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.”
The CRNC reminds us that as recently as 2000, the GOP came within 2 percentage points of winning the youth vote. However, that was before the Bush administration and the Tea Party movement, which has moved the party further to the right on social issues than it has been in generations.
The report recommends re-messaging the GOP’s policies. For instance, it suggests shedding the talking point “We need to reduce the size of government because it is simply too big,” which was only endorsed by 72 percent of respondents in favor of “We need leaders who aren’t afraid to fight existing interests like big companies and big unions in order to reform outdated and unsustainable programs,” which 93 percent of respondents liked. Because you know how Republicans love to go after big companies — for donations!
Despite Paul Ryan’s charming references to his iPod, the report found that “to shed the brand of being old-fashioned, the GOP need not just find young candidates who can make pop culture references with ease.” Instead they need to find leaders who speak to young people’s concerns.
The closest the report gets to making a helpful recommendation is “Don’t concede ‘caring’ and ‘open-minded’ to the left.” To do this, they would need to quickly change the course of the GOP Titanic that’s headed into a generational iceberg.
Here are five reasons it doesn’t look as if that will happen.