By Jedediah Bila
Barack Obama captivated America’s 18-29 year-olds in 2008. According to the Pew Research Center, he seized 66% of the youth vote as compared to McCain’s 31%. He targeted their idealism and hunger for dynamic leadership with catchy slogans like “hope,” “change,” and “yes we can.” And it certainly worked.
Kids proudly sported “Obama Is My Homeboy” t-shirts, teens talked about how we would finally have a “cool” president, and twenty-somethings rejoiced in a leader they thought would restore hope for their futures. But in the past two years, things have begun to change.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on July 21, 2010 revealed that voters between the ages of 18 and 34 would choose a generic Republican over Barack Obama – 37% to 34% – if the 2012 presidential election were held today.
Perhaps they realize that they’ll have to somehow pay for our swelling national debt and our President’s reckless spending sprees. Or maybe they are starting to understand that their independent spirits, big dreams, and desire to be the masters of their own destinies are allies of conservatism, not liberalism.
In addition, a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on August 27, 2010, revealed that “The youth unemployment rate edged up over the year to 19.1 percent in July 2010, the highest July rate on record for the series, which began in 1948.”
Many youngsters are hence no longer pledging allegiance to the Obama hope and change brigade. In fact, a new generation of ambitious, zealous conservatives is on the rise.
“I admire Ronald Reagan because he was so effective without being steeped in compromise, George W. Bush for his resolve in protecting our nation, and Sarah Palin for trumping convention, mystifying the media, influencing elections without ceasing – and doing it all with a feminine bearing,” said Amanda Read, a twenty-year-old from Alabama who writes for The Washington Times’ “Communities” and other websites. With interests in “researching, campaigning, and speechwriting,” Read has “recently been in contact with young conservatives who are interested in helping me further an intellectual, conservative presence on the internet through various websites.”
Taylor Anderson, an eighteen-year-old from Tennessee, feels that young conservatives “need to vote and promote.” She added, “I am organizing rallies, calling a ton of people, and putting signs in yards. You can also volunteer at any Republican Party headquarters. Some places even give you Political Science college credit for 130+ hours of volunteering.” Her primary goal is to be a news anchor, but she would eventually like to run for Congress and/or Governor. “I have big dreams, but I know anything is possible,” she said.
A twenty-two-year-old admirer of Fred Thompson, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin, Tiffany Britton-Rell plans to continue to attend tea parties and rallies, as well as to vote in every possible election. A supporter of low taxes, a limited federal government, and protecting the integrity of our Constitution, she revealed that she “would stop at nothing to defend our nation.” She added, “We are the future of the Republican Party and it is up to us to take back our spot in the Senate, House, and White House by urging others to vote conservative.”
“Growing up and going to college in a very liberal area, I have had to deal with failing grades and different hurtful slurs coming from my classmates and professors for my conservative views,” revealed Yoela Palkin, a seventeen-year-old from California whose parents immigrated to America from the former USSR. An admirer of Chris Christie’s “straightforwardness” and “tell them how it is attitude,” her goal is “to present the truth to young people through the media . . . to have my own show educating Americans about our history and culture with comedy and humor.”
“I will not be able to vote in the 2010 elections, which really makes me mad,” said John Burgdorf, a seventeen-year-old from Texas with aspirations to run for office. “I would love to say that I had a hand in the Reid/Pelosi downfall.” A believer that “small government is good government,” Burgdorf feels that “Ronald Reagan’s speech titled ‘A Time For Choosing’ is the political speech that America needs right now.” A strong supporter of Sarah Palin, he declared, “She is not afraid to say what needs to be said.”
Hannah Thoreson, a twenty-year-old from Arizona who is a member of the College Republicans, prioritizes “fiscal responsibility and a desire to allow the Constitution to do its job and rein in the power of government in order to maximize freedom and prosperity.” She feels young conservatives “want real conservatism, not the mockery of it that the Republican Party has handed down from on high over the past couple of decades.” She added, “This may be the election season where ‘Take Back America’ is the Republican rallying cry, but the real revolution is going to happen when the people who are the twenty year-old ‘true believers’ now are forty.”
So, there you have it – a peek at a new generation of young conservatives. Some may run for office. Others may be activists. Deema Yousef, a twenty-five-year-old medical student from Michigan who believes that “conservative values and principles are the reason why America is exceptional, free, and prosperous,” hopes to be a medical advisor to the first female president of the United States.
One thing is clear: A new generation of conservatives is prepared to challenge the Left’s big-government, liberty-limiting agenda. They aren’t afraid to call out the GOP establishment or to tackle Washington’s business as usual.
And they’re armed with commitment, guts, and whole lot of passion for bringing some change of their own – Founding Fathers-style – back to the America they’re prepared to fight for.