The question of the hour: How can the GOP rebrand itself as the “Party of Cool”…or at the very least as a party that’s less uncool now than it has been for the past 25 years?
Never having excelled at being cool myself — and having recently scored a mere 36 on Pew’s “How Millennial Are You?” quiz (Millennials should score between 73 and 100) — I feel like a fraud proffering up any advice on the subject.
But for starters, I’ll second everything Glenn Reynolds counsels in his column today in the New York Post. His first item of advice: lower the drinking age!
Introduced by Republicans (it was spearheaded by Elizabeth Dole) in the 1980s, it was always a lousy idea. The result has been more, not less, alcohol abuse on campus, as student drinkers have moved from public venues, where there was supervision, to dorm rooms and frat houses, where there’s less.
And it’s fundamentally unfair. At 18, people can sign contracts, get married and sign up for student loans that will haunt them for decades. They can join the military and go off to die in foreign lands. But federal law presumes they’re too immature to have a beer.
Professor Reynolds goes on to recommend that Republicans ought to become advocates for revising the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) so that such things as unlocking one’s cellphone no longer land someone looking to switch mobile carriers in prison; and that the GOP should champion policies that offer solutions to the problem of skyrocketing tuition. Realistically, I think these latter suggestions are small potato issues.
The two major obstacles standing in the way of Republicans ever winning over young voters in a meaningful way are same sex marriage and marijuana. And though some liberty movement Republicans —folks like Rand Paul and Justin Amash and Tom McClintock — might individually support SSM and the legalization of marijuana, there is no way on God’s green earth that the GOP will ever embrace these things en masse. At least no time soon.
But that doesn’t mean that the Republican Party can’t pivot at all on these issues. On the matter of marijuana, why not support a decriminalization of possession so that law enforcement resources are freed up to attend to more serious crimes? And on the matter of same sex marriage, I commend Rod Dreher’s thinking to your attention. Dreher's argument boils down to this: SSM opponents would do well to abandon the fight against SSM, and instead focus on the threat SSM poses to religious liberty.
These are concessions, to be sure. But they are concessions consistent with an overall theme of liberty. Before the Republican Party writes off young voters forever, my sense is that we ought to give the robust message of liberty a fighting chance.
Image of hipsters from Shutterstock.