There’s always a lot of good stuff on The Next Right about rebuilding the GOP. I met two of the site’s primary bloggers, Patrick Ruffini and Jon Henke, in St. Paul last September and was impressed both with their knowledge of politics and their appreciation of new technologies. I do hope RNC Chairman Michael Steele–or one of his top aides–checks their blog on a regular basis.
But, the piece of greatest particular interest to this blog was Kristen Soltis’s post on Young Voters, the GOP, and Gay Marriage. She runs through the demographics showing that a majority of voters age 18-34 favor gay marriage in contrast to their elders and offers:
This is not to further imply that a change in position on gay marriage would mean droves of young voters signing up for the GOP. A number of other factors have to come into play, not the least of which is how important gay marriage is relative to other important political issues in the minds of these voters. . . .
Yet whether the Republican Party amends its actual policy stance on gay marriage or whether it simply makes efforts be more tolerant and inclusive of homosexuals generally, the Republican Party cannot ignore the vast differences in public opinion between young and old voters on the issue. This difference certainly presents a serious challenge to the party’s long-term ability to swell its ranks among young voters.
I don’t think the GOP need be pro-gay marriage to win the youth vote. I do think it needs offer a vision of choice and opportunity to contrast the Democrats’ preference for government solutions and one-size-fits-all approaches.
That said, I think the best path for the party would be take a more neutral stand on gay marriage and favor a state-by-state approach, consistent with the federalist principles which once undergirded the GOP.
Given the libertarian leanings of young people, they represent the greatest potential source of “flippable” Obama voters. And the numbers show that it won’t help the GOP to make ours the party opposing gay marriage.