Promoted. My basic philosophy on a good leader: A's hire A's, B's hire C's. Let's hope that the next RNC Chairman is an A that can find A's within CR's and YR's to work for (and provide innovation for) campaigns and parties around the country. -Matt Moon
College Students to the RNC: We Care, Use Us!
by James Barnes and Brandon Hines, The George Washington University College Republicans
Fellow Republicans: As we enter a fresh new year, it's easy to be discouraged by the battle ahead. The Obama Administration promises to pursue an agenda of socialist redistribution. On top of this, the 111th Congress has just convened, and it's the most liberal in our nation's history. Together, this double-headed monster threatens to grow another in the form of a new judiciary.
Sitting in a position we have long been removed from, our first step has been to question what got us here. We've started to regroup, on Twitter, on the web, and soon by reconsidering who should lead the RNC into 2010 and beyond. And, through these exercises, we've come up with some basic answers to the question of what got us in trouble. We've blamed it on our grassroots, our fundraising, our web presence, our message, and a slew of other equally valid reasons, which we promise to overcome in the next election cycle. We hope to argue, however, that many of these issues boil down to one oft-overlooked component: a focus on engaging and activating the 18-24 demographic —College Republicans.
As the future of our party and, in many cases, the most passionate advocates for our platform, it is important that the RNC not only reach out and speak the language that we speak and communicate the way that we communicate, but that it engage and empower the youth of the party in helping to win elections. In this vein, the party already has a virtual army of well informed and connected potential activists, who, in many cases, simply haven't been asked to volunteer the resource they have the most of: their time. Though we lack the ability to donate large sums of cash, or the experience needed to run campaigns, we make up for this with cheap labor and an uncanny, even absurd, ability to remain in instantaneous contact with our peers and advocate for what we believe in. It is time for these and other potential resources to stop being overlooked, and for the RNC to directly engage the future of the party.
Consider this: during our organization's deployment by the RNC this year in Ohio, a state never lost by a Republican president, we never met a single student from an Ohio college. Elsewhere, in 2007, many argue that we lost the Massachusetts special election due entirely to a complete absence of area college students. Contrastingly, in Georgia's recent runoff, the unusually strong showing of college students from Maine to Texas served to bolster a winning campaign—a notable exception to a troubling rule. College Republicans exist everywhere. In this regard, it's very simple; it's not about changing the minds of college students-- it's about activating and empowering the ones who already care. To our detriment, this is something that Barack Obama knew all too well.
In the coming years, the promise of victory does not tolerate the prospect of an inactive college demographic. This is why we, with the support of many of our friends in the young conservative movement, are calling on the next RNC chairman to pledge to directly engage the next chairman of the College Republican National Committee in kick-starting a strong partnership for a radically better next four years. In this, they should plan for a future that utilizes CR’s in dominating new media, more directly involves college students in party operations, and most importantly, ensures that, in 2010 and beyond, every willing College Republican will be afforded the chance to work for a Republican candidate through a better organized and more broadly utilized College Republican grassroots operation in every state. On the path to victory, this is an important stop that has the promise to change the future (and the face) of our party for the better.
James Barnes and Brandon Hines are the Political and Public Relations Directors, respectively, of the George Washington University College Republicans and are working to re-engage Republican youth.