Battling for the Soul of Young Republicans (in 140 Characters or Fewer)

Not only older Republicans like Gingrich and Cheney are grappling with the age of Obama. According to a recent article in Slate, even College Republicans are having an identity crisis. “We’re the dead-meat party,” said one young conservative. “We need to be the happy meal.”

The first College Republican National Committee (CRNC) convention since the election took place last week in Washington D.C. In the past, the convention has been a breeding ground for such political luminaries as Karl Rove and Lee Atwater. This time around, however, the gathering had to face certain depressing facts. A single party (hint: not them) now controls the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives; and it’s on the verge of swinging the Supreme Court in a more liberal direction. Moreover, young people voted 2-1 for Obama in the 2008 election, and an increasing share of that demo is trending Democrat. A recent Gallup poll indicates that only one out of every five people under 25 identifies as Republican.

So what solutions did these young disenfranchised Repubs pitch at their first megagathering? Outgoing CRNC president Charlie Smith advocated twittering a whole lot more, While others advocated wooing more minority voters to the party in the interests of diversity. But if the party’s message is unappealing now, it will only look worse at 140 characters or fewer. As for attracting minorities, that’s a tough battle given our current president. Nevertheless, it’s clear that one man thinks he has what it takes to accomplish this. And that man is Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

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