Last week, a Senate colleague of mine said that when I questioned whether or not the president could order a drone strike on American citizens on American soil, I was just catering to “libertarian kids in their dorm rooms.” Standing up for the Bill of Rights and the Fifth Amendment was not a political stunt designed to appeal to certain audiences. I took an oath to protect the Constitution and it is an oath I intend to keep.
But we do need a Republican Party that addresses the concerns of young people. We need a different kind of GOP, a party that speaks to the rising generation, who may have unique interests and concerns.
Most Americans, and especially young people, worry about our country’s $16 trillion debt. This deficit is a burden that is guaranteed to grow more as time passes, and as Washington continues with its reckless spending. The number one contributor to our debt — entitlements — is something most young people simply don’t expect to see. We need to have serious reform to save Social Security and Medicare so that those who’ve paid into these systems all their lives can receive their benefits. But for young Americans, they need a way to opt out or at least something very different.
Most young people will tell you the same, if those in Washington would only listen.
I believe a Republican Party that is more tolerant and dedicated to keeping the government out of people’s lives as much as possible would be more appealing to the rising generation. We have a nation of 300 million people who all harbor very different opinions on various policies. We have a Constitution that allows, even requires, many of these decisions to be made at the state and local level, which could accommodate the diversity of opinion in this country. Most young people I encounter simply have no desire to tell other people what to do or how to live.
Another part of our debt woes is the trillions of dollars we spend fighting decade-long wars and sending foreign aid all over the world. America must always maintain a strong national defense, but young people can imagine a world in which the United States doesn’t have to be involved in every part of it. We can’t continue borrowing money from China or spending ourselves into debt to protect the entire globe. We simply cannot afford it. It is not what’s best for our country. It makes us less secure, not more.
There are blue parts of the country where Republicans haven’t fared well, and yes, a more libertarian-Republican might be able to start winning in those areas. The youth vote could play an integral part in this.
Young Americans — conservative, libertarian, independent — are as fed up with big government as their parents and grandparents. A Republican Party willing to address their unique concerns could build a new majority that might finally turn this country around.