Friday, June 7, 2013

GOP Faces Imminent Defection by Republican College Voters

by Sunnyjane

In a feeble attempt to justify his existence, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus authorized a study of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) to ascertain why in the hell college students had not avidly supported -- and voted for -- the GOP candidate in 2012.  Just a little introspection, coupled with the tiniest bit of awareness into how the Democratic candidate won the young scholars' vote by sixty percent/thirty-six percent in the last presidential election, would have saved them a lot of time, money, and humiliation.

As it is, the Republican Party is likely to remain the victim of its own anti-American ideology. 

A Look Back: Wooing the College Voter in 2012

Mitt Romney speaks to a less-than-impressed audience of the 3,000-student body at Otterbein University in Ohio
 While in contrast...

President Obama speaks to a crowd of 36,000 fired-up, ready-to-go supporters at Ohio State University
Granted, crowd size isn't everything.  A candidate's vision -- the message on what policies he or she would fight for in office -- is the issue that is most important to his audience.  The President's phenomenal ground game squad made the campaign fully aware that college students would not be as enthusiastic for Barack Obama in 2012 as they had been in 2008.  The Republicans got wind of this fact, of course, and made the incorrect assumption that, no matter what, college students were apathetic and wouldn't be nearly as excited to engage in the campaign to re-elect the President.   

The problem, of course, is that Mitt Romney had no message that college students could get energized about.  The bold and exciting budget that his running mate had put together would have cut Pell Grants for nine million students, while President Obama had already expanded Pell Grants for three million more students.  Romney also has an anti-education history: while governor of Massachusetts, he had proposed raising tuition by 15 percent, while reducing higher education funding that resulted in a 68 percent increase in student fees.  (I don't believe he mentioned that during the campaign.)      

As a result, the only messages Romney had for college students were: get married and have a quiver full of kids; go into the military and then go to school for free; or, borrow money from your parents and start a business.  When one student asked him what, as president, he would do to make college more affordable, Romney's response was, The best thing I can do for you is tell you to shop around.  (Well, that was certainly hopeful and helpful, wasn't it?)

It should be pretty obvious that when one of your candidate's major priorities is defunding Big Bird, you've got a problem, Houston.

How the GOP Views Education
This is a good thing, see?  Because nobody will understand that the approval rating for congress is currently 0.06! 
Now I'm sure this is an oversight, but darned if I could find anything in the GOP's 2012 Party Platform that lays out a plan to help America's youth obtain an affordable college education.  Oh sure, the Party of No wants a highly skilled and trained workforce, but guess what?  They've tied that to immigration reform in a manner that is almost hysterically amusing: We can accelerate the process of restoring our domestic economy … by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations.  Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products. In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose.  Translation: Come here well educated and we might let you stay.  And, of course, absolutely nothing on aid to American citizens who would very much like to attain those same advanced degrees.  Is that the stench of hypocrisy I detect?

Conversely, the 2012 Democratic Party's Platform devotes quite a bit of space to ensuring that all Americans can achieve college educations under the heading of An Economy that Out-Educates the World and Offers Greater Access to Higher Education and Technical Training.  There's absolutely nothing ambiguous or condescending about what the President wants done to achieve the goal of rebuilding the middle class.  I bet even a Republican could understand it.

And How College Republicans View the GOP

The GOP:  ...closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned
According to the conclusions reached in the CRNC report, how the Republican Party is perceived is a dismal present situation.  While the study's participants described the Democratic party as "tolerant, diverse, and open-minded, the majority of words used to describe the Republican Party were "rich" and "religious."   [If I remember correctly, we warned them about that during the election, didn't we?  Oh well!]

The respondents also faulted the Republican Party for its negative attitude toward gay marriage and Latinos.  Does it sound like these young people are drifting toward the liberal agenda?

And if this doesn't get the attention of the GOP, nothing will: All the participants who were asked to name the most recognized leaders of the Democratic Party responded with Pelosi, both Clintons, Obama, Kennedy, and Gore.  And the most recognized Republican leadersBill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck.

If that's not a hint of what's wrong with the Republican Party, the entire cast of characters at Fox News should give them pause.   Just recently, The Five engaged in a lively discussion on what the GOP could do to solve its issues with young people.  Erick Bolling declared that the party needs more conservative candidates rather than squishy moderates[Either Erick didn't read the report or he is totally tone-deaf.]  Andrea Tantaros firmly believes that the solution is cooler candidates, but Greg Gutfeld responded that cool  gets you laid lucky on campus but it doesn't pay the mortgage.  Bob Beckel probably had the best idea, warning that the GOP should not disregard the report's findings that these young people believe that the party consists of a bunch of isolated white guys who don’t seem to get it.

This reinvention stuff is hard work, isn't it, Reince?

End Note

CRNC Chairwoman Alex Smith: We’ve become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer you a hand to help you get there.

If Congress continues to do nothing about it, student loan interest rates will double on July 1.  And every American will know which political party is to blame.

 [Spoiler alert:  it won't be the Democratic Party.] 



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