IVN launched the first installment of IVN Radio on Thursday. Now that the 2012 elections are done, IVN Managing Editor, Shawn Griffiths; Director of Public Relations for IVN, Emma Goda; and IVN’s Founder and Director of Operations, Chad Peace, examine the current state of the Republican brand and how it relates to the attitude of young voters.
During the 2012 campaign season, the Republican Party was in a position to potentially gain the majority in the US Senate, keep their majority in the US House, and make President Barack Obama’s re-election efforts more difficult. In the early months of 2012 political analysts and pundits were seriously talking about a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic White House. After election night, however, many Republicans were left wondering, what happened?
On the surface, there were obvious moments before the election that didn’t help the national perception of the Republican Party. However, things like the Todd Akin’s comments on rape and abortion, the leaked video from Mother Jones of Mitt Romney speaking before donors about forty-seven percent of Americans, and the GOP presidential candidate’s inability to connect with voters highlighted problems with the Republican brand that have existed for a while now.
“The GOP has been completely hijacked by consultants and polls,” Chad Peace said. “They used to be known as the intellectual party and they’ve become exactly the opposite. They say what their consultants and their polls tell them will get votes.”
Some people will choose to look at the candidate as the problem or specific points during the election, but the real issue with the GOP brand is beneath the surface. Many independent-minded voters just don’t trust the message of the Republican Party anymore because there is no guarantee that it is genuine.
Young voters, a demographic that is more likely to be socially liberal, has become an important segment of the voting age population to reach out to. They were vital to Barack Obama’s re-election victory since voter participation in other age groups declined sharply from 2008 levels, but remained high for voters aged 18-29. This generation has become the hardest for Republicans to reach out to.
As the face of the American electorate changes, it is young voters that are driving an overall attitude shift in the US on many issues, including social issues like same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization. In the 2012 elections, three states legalized same-sex marriage and two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It is unlikely that these ballot referendums would have passed ten years ago.
What changed with the Republican brand from the Bush-era to now? What can the party do to turn things around? Since the youngest generation of voter is a diverse generation and a generation that is more likely to be independent-minded, do young adults simply reject institution? Listen to the first installment of IVN Radio as we discuss these questions and more.
"The Republican Brand and Young Voters" features soundbites from former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Associate Director of Research at the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Michael Dimock, and President Barack Obama.