Chicago — After a disproportionate number of millennials and Gen Z voted for Democrats in the midterms in November, Republican voters are demanding that the party do more to attract young voters.
According to the Hill, Republicans are urging the party to find more Gen Z surrogates to go on social media to engage young voters and to speak to issues those voters care about in the aftermath of the midterms, where 18 to 29-year-olds favored Democratic candidates to Republians 63% to 35%.
“When you ignore people’s bread-and-butter concerns and their more cultural concerns, you can’t expect to win their votes. And we’re having a series of close elections, and the Republicans are just throwing away an entire demographic, and it’s costing them elections,” said veteran GOP strategist Keith Naughton.
David Morgan, a senior at Pennsylvania State University and political director of the Penn State College Republicans, said the GOP is facing challenges with young voters because they’re not speaking to social policies and issues.
“Better health care, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, stuff like that … climate change, those issues are huge for Gen Z. And because the party kind of is a little bit slow on the uptake initially with kind of some of these issues … I think it kind of automatically slanted our generation to go more towards Democrat,” he said.
Other Republicans think the problem lies in how the party communicates with young voters.
“We have a tendency to do a lot of things wrong talking to younger voters. One is we don’t go to where they are,” veteran GOP strategist John Brabender said, noting how young voters are increasingly on TikTok.
“Our party says we can’t be on TikTok for privacy and security reasons,” he said. “Well, that’s great, but you better come up with an alternative really quickly, then, because we have a whole generation growing up with that being their number one news source yet we’re not talking to them there.”
Former GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who serves as president for Young America’s Foundation, said the party’s challenges is partly because young voters are not often introduced to different perspectives on issues, including views considered right of center.
“Any of the consultant class in Washington who thinks just more clever digital ads or some sort of student coalition is going to make the difference I think don’t realize what they’re up against,” Walker said.