I've got a new column up at The Daily Beast, which is about the new report released by the College Republican National Committee. Based on national surveys and focus groups of 18 to 29 year old voters, it's a clarion call for the GOP to go libertarian if it wants to have a future.
What do young voters want? More than anything, a shot at working and thriving in a growing economy. Yet even though only 22 percent of Millenials thought "Obama's policies had made it easier for young people to get a job" and "only 29 percent thought they were better off as a result of the stimulus package…Democrats held a 16-point advantage over the Republican Party among young voters on handling of the economy and jobs (chosen as the top issue by 37 percent of respondents)."
That's because young voters are turned off by the GOP's emphasis on tax cuts uber alles and habit of embracing big businesses rather than scrappy entrepreneurs. They are equally turned off by the GOP's constant thumping on gay marriage, which more than any other social issue has emerged as a "deal breaker," or an issue that will cause a voter who agrees on everything else with a candidate to vote for his or her opponent. Abortion, immigration, even health care are less important in this regard, according to the CRNC….
Millenials, says the report, don't care much about abstractions such as that favorite Republican bogeyman, "big government." But they are into cutting government spending and reducing national debt, as they realize both things are strangling their future before it begins. Fully 90 percent agree that Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed now, 82 percent are ready to "make tough choices about cutting government spending, even on some programs some people really like," and 72 percent want to cut the size of government "because it is simply too big." Only 17 percent want to increase spending on defense and just 30 percent said that "marriage should be legally defined as only between a man and a women," with 44 percent saying same-sex marriage should be legal everywhere and 26 percent saying it should be up to individual states.
You don't need a decoder ring to read the libertarian strain in such responses. Often described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative, libertarians argue for keeping the government out of the boardroom and the bedroom. They tend to favor more-open borders for people as well as goods and services, agitate for legalization (or at least decriminalization) of drugs, and push for choice in whom you can marry as well as where you send your kids to school.