Reaching the Millennial demographic is going to be critical for any potential presidential candidate to achieve victory and gain entrance to the White House. While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is focusing most of his efforts to reach young people on the issue of privacy, Hillary Rodham Clinton talks of needing a mass movement for climate change to reach Millennials.
Clinton spoke at the recent Clinton Global Initiative about how young people are dedicated to addressing climate change. She believes that young voters do not consider this issue as secondary, but as one that will have an impact on the quality of life for people all across the country. Clinton went on to say that she feels global warming will be a major issue that many young people today will have to face in the future.
According to a new poll, Clinton might be on to something. The poll was commissioned by the Clinton Global Initiative, along with Microsoft, and it concluded that those belonging to the Millennial demographic are 76 percent focused on environmental issues, while their parents were only 24 percent focused on the topic. The study went on to state that 66 percent of the Millennials who participated believe that there is solid scientific evidence for the earth getting warmer, and 75 percent of those individuals believe that this warming is the result of human action.
While these numbers are high, and point out that the environment is an issue of vast importance to Millennials, is Hillary Rodham Clinton correct in assuming that talks of climate change and the need for a mass movement to impact environmental policy, be enough to reach young voters? The question is worthy of consideration, and if these numbers are correct, the GOP will need to lend an ear to the younger generation and demonstrate that they are concerned for the environment as well. Republicans have a reputation as favoring industry over the preservation of the environment. This means it may be time for Republicans to follow Clinton in her line of thought.
Rather than ignore the issue, Republicans should focus on developing free market solutions and strategies that will address caring for the planet without forced government interference. Much of the regulation that has been put in place in order to make businesses more environmentally friendly has had the opposite effect. Add to this the fact that much of this legislation has hindered the ability of businesses to operate in a cost-effective manner and has allowed the government to gain far too much control over companies in the private sector, and it is not difficult to see that more government control is not, and usually never is, the right answer.
The GOP needs to step up to the plate and make a stronger effort to connect with young voters on the issues that matter to them, instead of simply focusing on the traditional party platform. This is a lesson that Democrats like Hillary Clinton understands and puts into action on a regular basis. Connecting on these issues does not mean that the solutions presented by Republicans have to be in line with Democrats, but pretending like this is not something important to discuss is going to kill any chance of connecting with a young demographic. While Hillary Rodham Clinton calls for talks and a massive movement involving climate change, Republicans can reach Millennials by showing how deregulation of the free market can more effectively preserve the environment, and do so affordably, addressing young people’s concerns about debt at the same time.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell