“Policies that lower taxes and regulations on small businesses are quite popular. Yet our focus on taxation and business issues has left many young voters thinking they will only reap the benefits of Republican policies if they become wealthy or rise to the top of a big business,” reads the report.
That statement illustrates what at least one armchair quarterback considers the chief issue with the GOP’s fiscal messaging, and it’s that we’ve forgotten to tell the other side of the story. Take a sledgehammer to the national debt, slash the red tape of excessive regulations, and downsize Big Government, but what comes next?
We’ve forgotten to talk about the economic growth and opportunity that come after, and a generation facing crushing student loan debts and record unemployment won’t be pacified by half a story.
What some would call a scathing indictment should really serve as a necessitated reminder that the party of growth and opportunity has to prove that they’re the party of growth and opportunity to win hearts and minds.
That begins by establishing a year-round relationship with young Americans, not turning their share of the national debt into a punch line come the fall of every election year.
Such an effort should be spearheaded by a populist message, stressing economic growth as the real driver of success and opportunity, not government edicts that spur more Washington into every facet of the real world. The magnitude of that economic growth, not the scope of the cut nor the depth of the regulations eradicated, should be the point of the story.
In the abstract, youth voters support lower taxes, outright tax reform, spending cuts, and the erosion of Big Government. Barely a fifth of millennial voters felt Obama policies had made the job hunt easier, and only slightly more felt the stimulus package left them better off, yet Democrats still topped Republicans by 16 points when it came to handling of the economy, per the CRNC’s report.
And President Obama’s two elections saw him net 66 and 60 percent of their votes, respectively.
The stark reality of those numbers again points to the crux of the problem. Future GOP efforts must communicate the entire message, and they must do so in a relatable way.
Telling the entire story of small government policies and fiscal conservatism means keynoting economic growth as the reason for, and the result of, these policies. For a generation of young voters saddled with debt and craving a healthy job market, that message must be displayed loudly, clearly, and constantly.
Brandon Howell is an account director at Hynes Communications and a contributor to the Peach State political blog Georgia Tipsheet.
June 14, 2013, 12:00 pm