Millennials are Going to Hear From us in 2014

Reince Priebus - January 10, 2014

Red Alert Politics
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
January 10, 2014

Last month, a Harvard poll of Millennials had some pretty damning news for President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. Not only do 54 percent of 18-29-year-olds disapprove of the president’s job performance, but also 52 percent of 18-24-year-olds would recall him if given the chance.

That’s headline news for a president who built a reputation for connecting with young people. More importantly, it’s an indictment of his policies and his leadership.

It’s no coincidence that the president’s popularity has fallen at the very time ObamaCare has been in the news almost non-stop. And as anyone who’s been awake the last few months knows, that news hasn’t been good: canceled plans, sticker shock, a malfunctioning website.

According to Harvard, Millennials have taken note: 57 percent disapprove of ObamaCare. A majority believe it will drive up costs.

ObamaCare is not kind to young people. Young, healthy Americans shopping for individual plans could spend more than twice as much as they would have before ObamaCare for the same coverage.

And young people have no choice. Under ObamaCare, they must purchase insurance or pay a fine. Democrats are counting on young healthy Americans to subsidize older Americans.

It’s not fair, but it’s what Millennials should come to expect from Democrats. They consistently advocate for borrowing more money to pay for things the country can’t afford. It’s younger Americans who will pay off that debt someday. And here again, they’re subsidizing older Americans.

Young people have endured a lot in the Obama years, including record student loan debt and an 11.1 percent unemployment rate for 20-24-year-olds. Today, 18-34-year-olds account for almost half of all unemployed Americans. What has the president done for them?

Good question.

Last month, the White House held a “youth summit” to talk to young people about ObamaCare and try to improve the administration’s image. They tried to give the impression Millennials have a seat at the table in the Obama White House. But as College Republican National Committee Chair Alex Smith noted, an event for doling out pro-administration talking points isn’t a seat at the table; it was more like Millennials were stuck at the “kids’ table.”

That’s not acceptable. It’s not fair that Democrat policies are making life harder for Millennials and forcing them to spend more of their paychecks — if they have paychecks.

Millennials need leaders that will give them every opportunity to succeed in life. Young people want to work; they want to live their lives. Too many of them don’t have that chance in today’s economy, which still looks too much like the economy of a few years ago.

Republicans can’t guarantee that everyone’s outcomes will be the same, but we can guarantee that we won’t force the Millennial generation to subsidize other generations more and more. We wouldn’t get in their way; we’d get out of their way — letting them get to work and get on with life.

We don’t believe their lives need to be micromanaged from Washington, D.C. We believe in giving them the freedom to chart their own courses. But they won’t have that freedom as long as Democrat policies keep them from good jobs and financial security.

Now, it’s no secret that Republicans didn’t win the majority of young people’s votes in the last election. We have work to do. One of the RNC’s priorities is engaging more with young people and offering our ideas. It’s not enough for them to reject President Obama and the Democrats; Republicans must stand as a viable option.

That is why we asking our young volunteers to focus on their own communities — having them work on their campuses and in their neighborhoods. Because we know that young people are tired of failed policies that promise more than they deliver. We are going to be leading candidates to events focused on young voters so that they can hear firsthand the issues on Millennials’ minds — and so Millennials can hear our candidates’ priorities. Young people have not heard enough about the party’s positive vision for America. That changes now.

The 2014 midterms are less than a year away. Republicans will offer to young people an alternative to the status quo: more freedom to live their lives as they determine. We’ll spend the next ten months sharing that message.

Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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