Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lose the Young, Lose the Future

It shouldn't have taken a report like this to uncover what's wrong with the Republican Party, but now that it's been released, it would be great if the power brokers on the right will heed its call. The problem is that this is the other major American political party and their dysfunction is having a profound effect on our political life. Their obstruction has robbed us of a robust economic recovery from a downturn that they planted the seeds for, with Democratic help in many cases, and their lack of identifiable, fair, economically feasible ideas caused the sequester and downgrade of United States' securities.

But there's more. Here's a summary of how young people see the Republican Party on some of the issues of the day.

Gay marriage: “On the ‘open-minded’ issue … [w]e will face serious difficulty so long as the issue of gay marriage remains on the table.”
Hispanics: “Latino voters … tend to think the GOP couldn’t care less about them.”
Perception of the party’s economic stance: “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.”
Big reason for the image problem: The “outrageous statements made by errant Republican voices.”
Words that up-for-grabs voters associate with the GOP: “The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.”

How many national elections do you think the right can win with perceptions like these? We can ask President Hillary after 2025.

The truth is that most people in this country are trending leftward. Not in overwhelming numbers and not by leaps and bounds, but it is happening. Marriage equality will be the law in significantly more states over the next ten years and the health care law will result in broader insurance coverage, technological improvements in health delivery, and a system that encourages and rewards innovation and cost-cutting.

If you were a young adult in 1985, you know how much the country has changed since then politically, economically and culturally. Imagine what the United States will be like in 2035 after an era of expanded equality, more access for more people to the nation's wealth, less expensive higher education opportunities and a fairer tax code.

Yes, we will have our problems and we could become enmeshed in any number of foreign conflicts (we will get involved in Syria somehow. Mark my words.) and will have our share of domestic disturbances. But if the GOP can reform itself and make the party more responsive to what we need to improve the country, then we will all benefit.

For more, go to and on Twitter @rigrundfest

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