(Jim Clark) – Politico, an on-line affiliate of the Washington Post, recently published “The GOP is dying off. Literally” by Sam McGraw. The author contends that the GOP is the party of “old, white people”. Comparing 2012 election exit polls to US Census life expectancy rates he predicts some 2.75 million who voted for Romney will be dead by the 2016 election. He acknowledges that the same methodology shows that 2.3 million Obama voters will be dead by 2016 but that still leaves a difference of roughly 450,000 in favor of the Democrats. Coupled with that is the specter that nine to twelve million illegal immigrants will one day be granted citizenship and the right to vote.
Is that all there is to the equation? William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institute, concedes that the GOP should be concerned about conservative voters dying off. He added, however: “The key question is whether these election death rates will make any real difference. (The data) says that if Republicans focus on economic issues and stay away from social ones like gay marriage, they can make serious inroads with millennials.” The same thing goes for Latino voters. The left’s message of big government, welfare and wealth redistribution does not sit well with young men and women, nor with industrious, family-oriented Hispanics.
But the GOP is not very good at getting its message out to millennials, Latinos and others. Maybe that’s about to change starting with baby steps. Americans for Prosperity, an umbrella organization for a number of non-profit and educational entities, recently rolled out its Grassroots Leadership Academy (GLA) in Northern Nevada. They have set up classes in Reno and the Incline library. Although not affiliated with any political party GLA’s goal is to “market” freedom . . . a way of thinking such that individuals will learn to challenge candidates and officials who espouse laws and measures that would restrict economic and personal freedoms. The course is designed to be interesting and fun.
The six session introductory curricula focus on why the battle for economic freedom is so important, a history of grassroots endeavors that work and those which don’t, communities and networks, telling freedom’s story, social media and effective messaging.
Will something like this keep the GOP from going the way of the Whigs? I really think so. The course primer is a book called “The Law” written in 1848 by a Frenchman named Frederic Bastiat. He saw the results of the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon and how those who survived managed to do so. His analysis started with the American Declaration of Independence which held that “all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Bastiat concluded that our founding fathers were exactly right and that life, freedom and natural resources allowed man to create products and market them. He contended that the law should function to protect and defend individuals, their lives, liberty and property. He also observed that greed causes some to covet property of others so they can live off the labor of others and that it is the duty of free men to resist and oppose actions or laws which would result in this.
The last paragraph may sound like something out of the Federalist Papers but I have personally witnessed in the last two presidential elections the strong appeal that Libertarian ideas of Cong. Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have for millennials and college students.
Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have become repositories of special economic or social interests seeking power. The clear concepts of freedom, constitutionally limited government and economic enterprise espoused by our founders still have their strong appeal. Democrats can’t match that.
Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates. He has served in the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.