The Tea Party is Hurting the GOP and Millennial Support

By: Joey Gale

This morning at the Washington Center, Governor Howard Dean addressed the room on issues of bipartisanship, the GOP and Millennials. “Trust is everything in Politics, and there’s none currently there” Governor Dean said with regard to bipartisanship. He went on to say that bipartisanship isn’t very likely because many issues are rooted into our core values and personal values are very difficult to change.IMG_0076

Bipartisanship is tough because politics never just stays focused on a single issue or bill itself. They spill over into deals like “I’ll vote for this if you vote for that.” A problem many Democrats ran into when the elections came around a few months back was that many voted along party lines. This became problematic because Republicans associated candidates with President Obama. Republicans and Democrats seemed to agree that being associated with the President was harmful for a campaign.

Republicans right now have a really primed opportunity to do well in 2016. If Republicans can carry momentum through these two years and simply get things done, they’ll align themselves well for a 2016 President. However, Governor Dean brought some very valuable perspectives to the table about our generation, what we value, and how we’re likely to vote.

As I wrote yesterday, we know a lot about Millennials. We know how they act, what they like, what they value, and who they vote for. The Millennial cohort is the most diverse in U.S. history. According to NPR, Millennials are also the largest group by population. Millennials have been shaped strongly by technology, and for the first time in our history according to Governor Dean, our generation “isn’t tolerant, but inclusive.”

He went on to explain that Baby Boomers experienced the outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement and the impacts of the Vietnam war. These, according to the Governor, have made Baby Boomers a “tolerant” generation, as a lot of change was forced upon them. For Millennials, we’ve grown up in the most diverse generation in history. Our classrooms are more diverse, our friend groups are more diverse, our experiences are more diverse and therefore our understands are more diverse. This is exactly why Governor Dean said that we are an accepting generation. We’ve grown up with differences and are accepting of those.

In the context of politics, we’re talking about Social Issues here, more importantly what Millennials have to say about them, and what the Tea Party represents.

In the 2008 Presidential elections, we saw an overwhelmingly large vote from Millennial voters. In fact, according to the Governor, for the first time in history, young people as a total outvoted eligible voters over 65. Why? Because Obama represented what our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were founded on, hope. Along with hope, President Obama used the internet and social media like no other campaign in history. I could go about the strategic metrics and eventual marketing efforts that helped the President win, but I’ll save that for another post.

The point is that Millennials care about social issues. We have Pew Research and poll data to prove that. The problem is the Tea Party and where they fundamentally stand on modern Social Issues. The Tea Party seems toxic to the GOP, and likely could botch the 2016 election for them. As more and more Millennials are going out to vote, a right leaning candidate with Tea Party ties will be extremely difficult to elect.

Pew Research data shows that on social issues like gay marriage, immigration, corporate  and environmental standards, Millennials take on a more liberal stance in every single category. If we look at U.S. voting populations as a percentage, a Tea Party candidate theoretically would lose about 28.7% of votes from those aged 18-34.



While we can’t truly predict whether or not Millennials will vote on social issues more so than fiscal, this should raise red flags for the GOP through the course of the next two years.

2 thoughts on “The Tea Party is Hurting the GOP and Millennial Support

  1. You say Millennials care about social issues. Are Millennials only concerned with social issues when they determine for whom they will vote? Isn’t the wiser approach to look at all issues (social, economic, foreign policy, security/defense, etc.) and pick the candidate that best agrees with your position? If you pick one issue and vote lockstep on it, you are bound to elect candidates with whom you disagree on more than one issue. Also, I find it fascinating that you pick the Tea Party as extremist but make no reference to extremist Democrats who, it can easily be argued, are as rigid and in many cases, more rigid than Tea Party folks on their ideology. If your goal is bipartisanship, than both sides should concede on issues, not just the Tea Party. Finally, you seem to belittle folks for holding to their principles. If one concedes their principles, then they really aren’t standing for anything are they. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Barry Goldwater.

  2. Pingback: More “And”, Less “Or” | Drake in D.C.

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