The Hill reports that pollster Frank Luntz in a speech to South Carolina delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention said that the GOP has lost Millenials.
We have lost. It’s not like we are losing, we have lost that generation. And I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican, independent, none of the above. The fact that 58 percent [of millennials] say socialism is the better form of economics, that is the damage of academia.
The No. 1 priority to me is what happens at universities. And yes, Capitol Hill matters, yes politics matter, but a whole generation is being taught by professors who voted for Bernie Sanders. That’s a problem that begs for a solution.
I don’t think all is lost with Millenials even if they aren’t flocking to the Republican Party (which in its current state of affairs I’m not sure that’s a bad thing).
Millenials are more pro-life than their parents.
Millenials are more pro-life than their parents. Charles Camosy wrote last year in USA Today that Millenials will change the conversation on abortion.
Gallup found in 2010 that “support for making abortion broadly illegal (was) growing fastest among young adults.” This was “a sharp change from the late 1970s, when seniors were substantially more likely than younger age groups to want abortion to be illegal.” For all Millennials in 2012, only 37% considered abortion morally acceptable . Oh, and remember the debate in Texas and the U.S. House about banning abortion beyond 20 weeks? According to the National Journal, 44% of those 50 and older supported such a ban, compared with 52% of those ages 18-29.
Perhaps even more telling than these polls are the reactions of abortion-rights advocacy groups such as Emily’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America. They are very publicly worried about something former NARAL president Nancy Keenan called the “intensity gap.” Of young people who identify as “pro-life,” for instance, 51% claim that abortion is an important issue. But for young people who identify as “pro-choice,” that percentage plummets to 20%. Fears over this intensity gap were the primary motivation for the 2013 resignation of the then-61-year-old Keenan.
Jeff Jacoby, a columnist at the Boston Globe, writes that young people see abortion for what it is – the destruction of innocent life.
But there has also been an empathy-driven reaction against abortion among the generation of Americans that grew up in a world of vivid ultrasound images, and among the miracles of neonatal medicine that now make it possible even for babies born extremely prematurely to survive and flourish.
Millennials have also grown up amid the grim images of abortion and its aftermath. For many, the willful destruction of life in the womb seems less an act of “reproductive freedom” than an act of violence against an innocent victim. All of them know someone who has had a legal abortion; they need only look in a mirror to see someone else who could have been lawfully aborted.
Jacoby rightly notes that every person born after 1973 can consider themselves a survivor of Roe.
That is good news, and the decreasing birth rate among teens and decrease in abortions is something that we should recognize as good news.
Millenials are reaching other Millenials with conservative ideas.
The shift with Millenials in terms of economic policy and their embrace of Bernie Sanders is a cultural shift that has taken years. It will not change overnight. Change will not happen through political maneuvering, and frankly Millenials won’t flock to a political party. They need to be engaged by ideas.
Turning Point USA, for example, is reaching Millenials in a way I believe the College Republicans can not. They engage Millenials with the message of free markets, free people. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk spoke at the Republican National Convention on Monday.
They launched HYPELINE as an alternative to Buzzfeed (full disclosure – my daughter Kelvey writes for them). They are expanding on college campuses and into Student Senates with the message of free markets and free people.
Part of the reason that Millenials are lost for Republicans is because by and large the party did not engage them and they didn’t speak their language. One of the reasons Rand Paul and Ron Paul made inroads into this group is because they were intentional, and they recognized that Millenials will be attracted to the cause of liberty if it is presented to them in a winsome way.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a libertarian to do it, but it does mean you need to address and focus on issues important to them. They want to be part of a cause and not necessarily a party. They also want to challenge status quo.
Millenials may have been attracted to Bernie Sanders, but they were not enthused about Hillary Clinton. Republicans missed an opportunity to reach Millenials by nominating Donald Trump.
Groups, organizations and campaigns who are ready to do that and who will challenge status quo can make inroads.
Who knows what God might do through this generation.
Most importantly as a follower of Christ I know that ultimately hearts and minds will not be changed through politics, but through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me clear something up here.
I want to make it abundantly clear I’m not saying we engage Millenials with the gospel to change political outcomes. No, we engage Millenials with the gospel because we were commanded to make disciples. We were told to be salt and light.
As people turn their lives over to Christ they are then transformed by the renewing of their minds, (Romans 12:2). As they are discipled they begin to develop a biblical worldview. They start applying their worldview in every area of life.
The Bible challenges status quo as well.
The cause of evangelical Millenials may not be the same as today’s Christian right. That’s ok. Racial reconciliation is a biblical cause. Fighting against human trafficking is something worthy of championing. Fighting against injustice is something all Christ-followers should do. I’m reminded of how the prophet Micah boiled down the entire Old Testament law.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, ESV).
What we need to encourage Millenials to do is to use their God-given gifts and talents to pursue what God has made them passionate about.
This starts at home. We need to do this with our own kids. If you are concerned about the education your children are receiving – change it. Make sacrifices if you have to.
Millienials may be “lost” to the Republican Party, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. I for one see a lot of potential and am excited to see what God might do in and through this generation.
Millenials today need to be engaged, inspired and challenged to a cause greater than themselves.
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