OPINION: Make Conservatism Cool Again
It’s time for a harsh reality check: Conservatism is on a lifeline. If you feel the way I do, that’s not something you want to admit – But it is. With Democrat Beto O’Rourke outraising Ted Cruz 2-1 in Texas’ Senate race (Yes, Texas), Troy Balderson winning by .8% in a traditionally R+11 District, and Democrats more fired up than ever, conservatives should not be as optimistic as they claim to be.
For someone like me, a liberty-leaning, small-government, Constitutionalist, that’s scary. With 55% of my generation embracing socialism as the most acceptable economic system, it sure seems that traditional libertarian values are far from home.
We have got to start appealing to younger, more diverse audiences if we want a future in politics. If we don’t, there’s no guaranteeing the survival of traditional conservative values.
So, how do we combat this? By facing the harsh truths that are among those on the right.
The first harsh truth: The Republican Party is the party of old, boring, out-of-touch white men.
Policy aside, this is incredibly damaging – While Republicans discuss policy, business, and finance, the Democrats put an emphasis on social justice, hot topics, a changing world, etc. While we’re beginning to see the introduction of more diverse candidates into the party (Marco Rubio, Candace Owens, Dan Crenshaw, etc.), we are still, by and large, the party of old white men.
If we want to be able to engage with the millennial voter, we have got to do better about the resonation of our message. Our message is fantastic – One of free markets, prosperity, and individual liberty. Let’s get it out there the right way.
The second harsh truth: Republicans are awful at social media.
The big names, not necessarily as much, but as someone who has worked as a media consultant for Republican campaigns before, the much-needed presence on so many platforms is missing. And when it’s there, it’s minimal, lazy, and again: Out of touch.
Conservatives need to be everywhere, all the time: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, Google+, and too many more to name. Our culture, specifically those of my generation, rely so heavily on what we see on our phones that of course we’ll be more inclined to vote for the one we see most often.
The third, and most important, harsh truth: The message needs to be changed.
Before you click away and call me preposterous, just hear me out for a minute. Conservatives have the right message – However, the principle is not always there, specifically with the neoconservative branch of the movement. Our arguments have to become more principled around the concept of limited government and individualism.
If we’re the movement of small, limited government, why are we still talking about who you can and can’t marry? Why are we still talking about what you can and can’t do in the privacy of your own home? Why are we still talking about how the government should be collecting our private data in an attempt to “protect” us? These backwards figures like Roy Moore and Josh Hawley only make the idea of traditional, pro-freedom conservatism unappealing to crowds that would otherwise gladly embrace it.
We have got to change our message to a strictly Constitutionalist, small government, almost libertarian approach. Young people, for the most part, don’t care about who you are, what you want to do, and more. Individualism, and the Western concept of the divine individual, is the most humanitarian ideology to ever exist.
Let them know that leftism is not a kind ideology: It advocates for violence, theft, the absence of individualism, and more government control. The ideology of Stalin, Castro, Kim Jung Un, etc. The only small government movement is that of the new-age conservative.
Everybody thinks that they’re advocating for small government. However, it’s our job to reach out to my generation through running younger candidates, heavy social media presence, and making our message more appealing to those who advocate for individualism. This is incredibly important – If we don’t get on this soon, it may be too late.
Jonathan Lammey is a Lead Contributor to theDailyLead.