Much has been said in the media as of late about the Republican Party being a “dying party”, being swept away by a new generation with left-leaning ideas. I don’t believe this is so, with myself as a prime example. In 2013, I decided to finally put my years as a Democrat behind me and officially became a Republican.
This was no easy decision. I had spent years in the Democratic Party. I had always been passionate about politics and had given the Democratic Party my all. By switching, I was putting on the line not only much of my life’s work but also the connections with countless thousands of comrades-in-arms I had met through this work.
I was on Barack Obama’s national student coordinating committee in 2008. I was offered a Senate internship with Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE. I interned at the Democratic National Committee’s Political Department in D.C. I served as National Committee chair of the High School Democrats of America, organizing thousands of high school students for the Democratic Party. I served as president of the Maryland Federation of College Democrats, national executive vice-chair of the Young Democrats of America’s College Caucus, and so much more.
I attended both of President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJudge denies Trump spokesman's effort to force Jan. 6 committee to return financial records Gina McCarthy: Why I'm more optimistic than ever on tackling the climate crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks MORE’s Inaugurations. I even was invited to and celebrated July 4th at the White House, watching the annual fireworks display just feet away from the White House Portico. That’s still a moment I can’t forget.
But somewhere along the way, I realized that the Democratic Party wasn’t right for me or for those of my generation. I realized I was a Democrat less because I truly identified with liberal ideology, though I had always considered myself a “Reagan Democrat” rather than a liberal, but rather because I just fell into it. And I believe many current Democrats and millennials, upon reflection, will find the same.
It is often claimed that the Democratic Party is the best home for the socially liberal, agnostic, libertarian, socially conscious generation that the media often claims millennials are. But upon closer inspection, millennials may not be as easily a part of the Democratic Party as that generalization assumes.
The millennial generation is by far the entrepreneurial generation. Hundreds of incredible new businesses are started by illennials each year. Many fail, many succeed, and some become multi-billion dollar public companies. millennials love technology and experimentation. And therefore it shouldn’t be too hard to see why millennials are apprehensive about government intrusions into the market that have greatly slowed down services that they themselves have used to great benefit like Airbnb and Uber.
And then there is the question of religion. It is true that many millennials don’t follow religion in the same way as generations before them. But hasn’t each generation had a differing relationship with faith than ones before it? The way religion was practiced in 18th century America could be said to be radically “new” compared to the way it was practiced in 15th century Europe, let alone 11th century Europe. Just because millennials have a different relationship with religion doesn’t mean they have abandoned faith. And as millennials make it through life’s challenges, I think our generation will turn back to religion more strongly once again. And the Republican Party remains the party of religious liberty. I believe millennials will eventually come to see that.
But then there are those that claim that the Republican Party has far too much of a “take it or leave it” attitude towards this platform. I would argue that this is in fact the attitude of the Democratic Party. We see and hear how on campuses across the country leftists try to silence opposing views. I don’t think this is something the overwhelming majority of our generation believes in. As demonstrated by the fierce competition with the Republican presidential race right now, the Republican Party embraces open debate and discussion in a way that I think my generation will find more and more appealing.
Furthermore, it is often assumed that millennials will stick to the same views and values as they get older, and therefore America in the future will be far more liberal. But couldn’t that have similarly been said of many generations in the past? I don’t particularly see those who were in their teens and twenties in the radical times of the 1960 being still a cohesive force for liberalism nowadays. As people get older, they naturally become more conservative. And I believe millennials will do the same.
As a millennial, I know these were reasons for me to abandon the Party that I had given so much to and start anew in the Party I belonged in. The Republican Party is not perfect, but it is the party that is right for our generation.
Much has been said in the media about the Republican Party attempting to broaden its appeal. I believe that the Republican Party and conservative movement have always been the party of new opportunities. I encourage others in my generation to take a look at it as well.
Reimer is currently a student at the University of Virginia School of Law. He serves as the 5th Congressional District coordinator for the Kasich for America campaign, a member of the executive board of the conservative Federalist Society at the law school, and on the Charlottesville City Republican Committee.