So Call Conservatives love to claim they want less government while infringing on our day-to-day personal liberties. Over the last two presidential election cycles, the GOP has turned off millennial voters due to social positions only supported by the eldest of their constituents. As the 2016 election campaign begins in earnest, conservatives must change their narrative on several key issues affecting Americans today.
Marijuana: “I don’t think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana,” potential presidential nominee Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told supporters last year. Conservatives seek to preserve states’ rights and limit the federal government’s power, which means they should leave well enough alone in Colorado, Washington, and a slew of other states that have legalized pot for recreational or medicinal purposes. Legalization initiatives are gaining traction in other key states necessary for a GOP win, thus politicians who maintain support for the War on Drugs are deftly out of touch with the electorate on this issue. By my calculations legalization could cost the GOP at least five points in the general election, more than enough to keep another Bush out of the Oval Office.
Abortion: As the arctic grip took hold, and snow blanketed Washington, D.C., the annual “March For Life” rally took place on January 22. A few icy steps away, the Republican House of Representatives busily concocted a cockamamie anti-abortion bill that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks. Another So Called Conservative mandatory ultrasound bill, introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and co-sponsored by 10 Republican men, compels women to “receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion.” The GOP has long faced significant issues in courting single female voters, and it seems the trend will continue. If the GOP wants to sway their base by introducing patently misogynistic legislation, they stand to lose big with female voters.
Immigration: A federal judge in Texas temporarily stopped the administration from implementing Obama’s executive orders to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work legally in the United States. Republicans hailed the court ruling as proof that President Obama violated his authority on immigration. Republicans in Congress don’t really want to do anything on immigration beyond building more fences. In fact, the expression “path to citizenship” sends shivers down their spines. If the GOP continues to alienate America’s fastest growing voting bloc (Latinos), Republicans will be reduced to a Southern party found only in Alabama’s swamplands.
Any Republican with presidential aims should pay close attention to the coveted 18-34 demographic, who are pro-choice and predominantly in favor of marijuana legalization and immigration reform. The only way for So Called Conservatives to rebound is to drop the Tea Party Movement, assimilate, and redefine their dogma on major social issues of the day.