The Republican Party, with the growth of the Liberty Movement under Ron Paul, had reached an unprecedented (to my knowledge) level of youth voter enthusiasm. Ron Paul’s youth supporters rivaled the enthusiasm that the Democrats had once had a monopoly on (albeit in smaller numbers). So what is the GOP establishment’s reaction? Squash it, now!
Ron Paul and his supporters were pushed to the physical outskirts of the Convention. Ron Paul was forced out of being nominated (which would only be a symbolic victory for the Liberty Movement) by a retroactive change in the rules. The potential action to come from the only major concession to the Liberty Movement (the audit of the Fed) was delegated to a committee. From Obama’s Super Committee, to the Gang-of-“pick your favorite number”, to the Simpson Bowles Committee, we have seen that good ideas and problems are punished or killed by delegating action to a committee of politicians.
When Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, and Morton Blackwell all call the RNC out for what they did with the rules, the party needs to examine itself.
Further, the RNC Platform rejected any attempt to change the Party Orthodoxy on civil recognition of homosexual relationships. This is an issue that defines many people (both queer and straight) in our generation. I have spoken to several people at UNC as a Republican, and several are amenable to fiscally conservative ideas but cannot bring themselves to vote for a Party that would deny the legal equality of their queer family and friends. The Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry pushed for recognition of Civil Unions, and were often supported by younger Ron Paul supporters. The Old Guard of the GOP refused to budge, however, and reemphasized the Party’s support for DOMA (the constitutionally shaky prohibition of federal recognition of gay marriage and says that states may ignore Article IV, Section I of the Constitution, which states that all states must recognize the judicial proceedings of other states), included thinly veiled desire to repeal DADT, and yet again clung to a desire to amend the Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman (even though religious definitions have no bearing on civil definitions).
Contrast this with the DNC being expected to put support for gay marriage in its platform and the Democrats active outreach that anyone walking around UNC can see. Meanwhile, the RNC has just alienated almost an entire generation of voters. Until there is a change in policy, a bigger tent, or a new direction for the GOP, I predict that the Democrats will continue to monopolize youth voters, which could spell disaster for Republicans in the long term.