Millennials have seen a lot in their short lifetimes. They witnessed the 9/11 attacks at a young age, grew up through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and are now about to vote in an election where they must choose between two evil candidates for president of the United States.
It’s safe to say that the millennial generation is faced with a political environment like no other, but this is affecting young Republicans the most.
These young conservative voters are looking at a choice between a candidate who represents everything they’re against and the candidate of their own party who consistently proves himself to be sexist and racist. Do they stay loyal to their party despite the conflicting ideals? Or do they go against the only party they’ve ever known to voice their own brand of views?
After the disappointment and controversy surrounding the Republican party during this election, the future of the party lies in the hands of their young members.
Young conservatives differ from their older Republican counterparts. They lean left on social issues, are passionate on limited government and are conservatively fiscal. However, they are first and foremost confused after this election.
“Millennial Republicans are looking for truth and they’re kind of confused by the messages of the alt-right coming up. They’re not sure whether to take the political correctness side or defend the politically incorrect side and if they are politically incorrect, are they too radical? All in all, it’s a confusing time,” said Amanda McGuire, vice president of Cal State Fullerton’s Republicans club.
There is no choice for millennial Republicans in ideologies when it comes to our current presidential candidates, just a choice of who is worse, McGuire said.
Many Republicans are hoping to see a new era of Republicans, mostly on social issues after this election, said Bernardo Tirado, the social media coordinator for the CSUF College Republicans.
The differences in the two generations have been occurring for some time, but after 2016, young conservatives are more lost than ever.
“We are definitely seeing a clash of the minds as we have both candidates saying things no one can put value in,” McGuire said.
Republicans are often automatically labeled as bigots, racists and heartless. While these insults are directed at the right, they’re really responding to views of the radical right. Millennial Republicans are a less radical but still a passionate bunch.
“Everyone is different and I can’t force regulation on someone else because that goes against my very nature as a Republican and a conservative,” McGuire said.
Conservatives from different generations often conflict on social issues. Age does matter when it comes to the Republican party.
“With fiscal issues they are still very similar. It’s with social issues … It’s very different than the typical stereotype of the gun wielding Texans,” Tirado said.
The Millennials are leading the party towards the middle, but they are very much of their own, McGuire said. Typically, younger Republicans are more open to hearing about issues because of what they have already been through.
“The world is changing so much that we as a party are changing,” said Stephanie Delateur, a freshman and member of the CSUF College Republicans.
Because of this unfortunate election cycle, McGuire is optimistic for the future.
“It’s going to be really different because we are going to be able to say, ‘never again,’” McGuire said.
As we have seen this election unfold, many have said Donald Trump is the destruction of the Republican party and all it stands for. Many say this party will no longer be the agent to conservatism and an unknown and drastically different future lies ahead.
The Millennials of this party are ready to fight for its values despite these worries. They are soon to be the policy makers of America and will lead it in the right direction.
“(Millennial influence) could change a lot of how we expect the world to be instead of what the world is … I believe in our generation in that we want to do what’s right for the collective,” McGuire said.
Political figures seen on the news and talk shows often represent a different Republican party than the Millennials. While strong willed on many conservative issues, they differ from what many think the right actually is.
The 2016 election changed the political spectrum in more than a few ways. A major change will come from how these young conservatives respond and where they will guide the future of the party.