What do millennials, Hispanics, and Muslims have in common?
They’re three of the fastest-growing demographics in this country, and they should be exactly where both political parties focus on winning the electoral future.
Let me preface this whole discussion by saying I have no particular allegiance to any political party beyond its effectiveness for policy change. I’m a pragmatic libertarian, which means I find myself agreeing with Democrats on some issues but working within the Republican Party in most elections and legislative battles.
This is why I find myself so frustrated this election cycle as a person who values rational discussion generally, but specifically as a registered Republican.
I support fiscal sanity and sound monetary policy, but I’m also a tad cynical about military intervention overseas. I’m pro-life, but I also don’t want government dictating marriage or sexuality issues. I’m all for laissez faire local administration, but I favor some serious criminal justice reform, pot legalization, and restoring the civil rights of nonviolent felons after an amount of time out of prison.
I don’t have a convenient home in either major party, but I do my best to move the Republican Party in a direction that favors personal and economic freedom and in turns helps the Republican Party change policy.
That’s why it irks me when the GOP fails so abysmally at reaching the precise demographics that need to be reached in order to secure a place in America’s electoral future. If the Republican Party, at the national level, wants to outlive the generation in power today, certain changes in attitude are just going to be imperative.
Look at those three fast-growing demographics: millennials, Hispanics, and Muslims.
Those three blocks are not going away, no matter how much the existing Republican base wishes they would.
Young people are, believe it or not, getting older. And as they get older, more and more of us come of age to vote, volunteer for campaigns, run for office, and all that jazz. Older demographics, by contrast, may hold a majority of influence at any given moment simply because it takes awhile to get started in a political career, but their remaining time in politics is inherently shorter.
And when a new generation takes its place at the helm of a nation, they remember who respected them, listened to them, brought them into the political fold, and engaged them in frank conversations about public policy. If your party’s approach to reaching young people is “kids these days just need to wake up to the way things were when I was their age,” plan on taking your political opinions to the grave.
Hispanics are another fast-growing demographic in American politics that no candidate or political party is going to be able to ignore. I hesitate to speak too extensively on this subject because, if you couldn’t tell from my picture, I sport a Scottish and Swiss-German ancestry, and my skin comes out on a sunny day something like your average sheet of printer paper.
But I don’t think it’s rocket science to say this is ridiculous. This strategy of drawing attention away from public policy discussions into socially insensitive places, and lately out and out racism is beyond politically stupid.
It’s just evil.
It’s wrong to imply that a person will be biased against a legal case that’s completely unrelated to immigration simply because the person is Hispanic. I’m a little embarrassed I have to say that, but it happens to be politically stupid in addition to being wrong.
Then Muslims, that fast-growing voting demographic currently sweeping Europe and spilling into America. Not to mention the world’s fastest growing religion. You can have your opinions about the compatibility of Sharia Law with western systems, you can have your ideas about Middle Eastern foreign policy, but golly you can’t make these debates about people. As a rule, if you can’t sit down with a well-intentioned person and have a healthy back and forth about why you may or may not agree with some of their views, but keep respecting them, there’s a problem.
Whether you agree with that or not, you cannot ignore the political consequences of hoping whole demographics of people just stop voting. That’s how you turn that demographic into a long-term enemy.