Nick Gillespie: Why GOP Must Go Libertarian or Go Home!


A new report by the College Republican National Committe (CRNC) shows that voters between the ages of 18 to 29 want to cut government spending, reform old-age entitlements, and support gay marriage. With a few notable exceptions such as Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, they also see Republicans as rigid, dogmatic, and old-fashioned, which explains why Mitt Romney lost so-called Millennials by a whopping 5 million votes.

Nick Gillespie analyzes the CRNC's report and concludes that the GOP needs to go libertarian or go home.

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.

Today's younger voters—who have grown up in a wild, wired world in which the click of a mouse brings forth endless options in entertainment, commerce, and identity—naturally imbibe an essentially libertarian ethos that privileges individual choice over top-down control. They're not anarchists: The CRNC report notes that 88 percent support safety-net programs that help people temporarily and 86 percent favor trimming regulations but maintaining ones "that keep us safe." But Millennials plainly have a spirit of innovation and experimentation that is stymied by centralized government.