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GOP: The Case For Liberal Conservatism

As the American electorate becomes more diverse, so does its generational makeup. Millennials and GenZ voters are becoming increasingly crucial in close elections, where the future of a state or the entire country can be decided for the years to come. So far, Millennials and GenZ voters seem to skew heavily toward the Democratic Party as they see Republican rhetoric and policies not appealing to their interests or needs. If the Republican Party wants to remain electable, the path they have been running on for the past seven years is not the right one.

After the 2012 election, the Republican Party had realised that its position of specific issues was hurting them with increasingly important demographics. The report that came out of the RNC that same year and was supposed to be the platform 2016 hopefuls would run on, was ignored, blatantly. The candidates who appeared to have read at least part of such crucial report were defeated, one by one, due to the inaction and egoism of part of the GOP. Division and personal ambition led to the victory of the single most controversial candidate in the race, Donald J. Trump. The estate mogul had clearly never read the RNC report.

That report, while still important, is obsolete. New generations have moved further left on social issues while the party has become increasingly conservative on abortion, education, immigration, and rhetoric. Before Trump, the Republican Party used to be a big tent where anyone could speak their mind and where you could have a variety of different positions on the same issue. Now, those people have either retired or been silenced by Trump and the resentment he created within the electorate.

If the Republican Party wants to remain electable it needs to compromise and deal with key issues once and for all. In Sweden, the Moderates were a big tent conservative party like the GOP. Circumstances, like the enormous approval for measures like abortion and gay marriage, forced them to make a change. Today, as a liberal conservative force in Sweden, they are the most voted party among young people and on college campuses. Obviously, American politics are a little different but much can be learned from the Swedish experience. The Republican Party should move toward the liberal conservatism many of its international affiliates like Britain's Conservatives, Australia's Liberals, and New Zealand's Nationals have already adopted.

From the economic perspective, economic liberalism or, how it's called in America, "economic conservatism", remains popular even among younger generations. Certainly, a part of high school and college students has shifted significantly to the left on these issues, but it's not different from anything that happened in the past 50 years. Younger generations become economically conservative as they grow older, get a job, and build a family. The Republican Party should become the face of "fiscal responsibility" and hope for a better country, where each generation can live better than the previous one. Debt policy is therefore crucial as Republican administrations need to stop voting for tax cuts or programs that cannot be paid for. Younger generations are increasingly worried with the amount of debt accumulated over the past years, a weight that will gravitate over their shoulders as they grow older. As seen here, from an economic perspective, the party does not need to compromise its historic values that much. Little adjustments, especially concerning fiscal responsibility can be made.

From the social perspective, things are much more complicated. The Republican Party and the general will of the electorate have shifted apart significantly in the last ten years. Politicians within the GOP think it's better to count on evangelical, old, white voters (who tend to turnout more and vote in the primaries and whose ideology is much more conservative). I understand their choice but it truly lacks meaning on a long-term perspective. Young voters will not be young voters forever and they won't be a low turnout demographic forever. This party cannot rely on the abstention of certain demographics, it needs to work in order to gain their trust.

Going back to social issues, it is clear that a super majority of Millennials and GenZ voters support abortion and same sex marriage, two policies that the official platform of the Republican Party opposes. Post-Dobbs elections have made it clear that these positions are becoming unpopular even with the average voter. Conservative parties across the world that decided to shift toward liberal conservatism have chosen to either throw their support behind these policies or ignore them. In America, over 70% of the electorate approves of Obergefell v. Hodges, including more than half of registered Republican voters. On issues concerning individual rights like these, the best solution for a party like the GOP would be to delete the official opposition from the platform and strike a balance between its different factions. In the end, isn't the Republican Party the party of small government and individual rights? The government should not have anything to say about who its citizens choose to love. After all, within the party there would still be space for people who disagree but opposition to same sex marriages should be deleted from the official party platform. On abortion, the position of the Republican Party could moderate while not compromising the values and support of specific voters. Limits for mid and late term abortions are popular across the electorate and understood even by young generations.

The GOP is the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Charlie Baker, and Larry Hogan. Liberal conservatives have always existed within the Republican Party, it's time for them to unite and offer an alternative to the negative, unpopular, populist christian conservatism of people like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.


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