The 2014 midterm election season proved to be victorious for Republicans, considering they maintained control over the House and took the Senate while they were at it. However, unless the Grand Old Party changes their PR strategy, their victory will be cut short come the presidential election in 2016.
Unfortunately, the GOP has been labeled with a variety of stereotypes that they will have to fight off in order to get this refreshed public image. Women-hating, white, rich, old men does not truly represent what the Republican party is comprised of. This upcoming election will hopefully disprove these stereotypes that the party has picked up over the years. Potential presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, and Allen West are examples of that.
Appealing to millennials is going to be the party’s biggest challenge. President Obama’s camp in the 2012 presidential election used social media to their advantage, and everyone knows how much millennials love their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Well, the GOP is going to need more than hashtags to win the White House.
While issues such as foreign affairs, defense, veteran’s affairs, and economics are some of the GOP’s strong points, millennials don’t care much about these topics. Rather than trying to force these issues of concern onto them, the party needs to address the issues that do concern the younger voters. Students and young professionals will tune in, and turn out, for issues such as college loans, debt and jobs. at the same token, they need to feel as though the candidates are genuinely interested in them and these issues.
While efforts such as Rock the Vote are an attempt at getting millennials involved in politics, they’re not casting a wide enough net. Watching the latest Rock the Vote video featuring Lena Dunham dancing in what looked like pajamas, while saying she’s voting in advocation of abortion, it’s easy to forget that this video is supposed to be encouraging millennials to go out to the polls. It’s glitzy campaigns such as these that feed the public’s need for entertainment and sensation, rather than information about the issues.
Now, this does not mean that political information needs to be carried out in a dry and non-entertaining manner, but rather, there needs to be an equal, if not, more overpowering, amount of substance. Shows such as “Desperate Houswives” and “Full House” taught life lessons that are still applicable to daily life, yet in an entertaining way. The same goes for politics.
One tactic that will seriously help the GOP dominate the 2016 election is if they focus on issues that are the strength of the party. The GOP are experts in national security and defense, so they should use this to their advantage. In the 2004 election, President George W. Bush decided to use our military to protect our nation after the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. Not only helped him get that second term, but earned him a 90% approval rating in September of 2001.
The President’s approval ratings have been less than favorable, hence the GOP Congressional takeover. However the party mustn’t get too cocky; we’ve still got part of the 114th session to go before the political bloodbath that we call campaign season commences. Unfortunately, there is still room for error, but if Republican presidential contenders try to rebrand themselves as the best there is, the party of “no” will say “yes” to the White House, come 2016.