As part of an outreach effort to a group of voters that decisively rejected their presidential candidate in the 2012 election, House Republicans are holding a roundtable discussion about budget issues with young voters from groups like the National Campus Leadership Council. Headed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the event also features some of the House GOP’s young stars, like 43-year-old Rep Paul Ryan, 34-year-old Rep Adam Kinzinger and 31-year-old Rep Aaron Schock. According to Buzzfeed:
The dialogue will be held off-the-record, but lawmakers said Monday that their goal is to reset the perception among young voters that Republicans don’t share their policy priorities, or communicate them in the same way…[Rep. Aaron Schock] added, “We don’t have to change who we are, but we have to make our positions relevant to the people to whom we’re trying to communicate.”
It seems that House Republicans believe that with a little plastic surgery, they’ll look more attractive to young voters. But evidence suggests that it’s the GOP’s policies that college students and twentysomethings reject. Even on fiscal matters, Millennials are far more in line with the Democrats, with nearly six in ten agreeing with the idea that “government should do more.” A Pew poll suggests that voters ages 18-29 believe that preserving Social Security & Medicare is more important than reducing the deficit, suggesting that the Ryan Plan could fall on deaf ears at this week’s roundtable. Millennials are also the only group with a plurality in support of expanding the Affordable Care Act, which the House has voted to repeal 33 times.
The gap is even wider on social issues that matter to young voters. The least religious generation in American history supports gay marriage and abortion by margins of 36 and 25 points, according to Pew. Perhaps Rep. Aaron Schock should have an answer ready if he’s asked about marriage equality the next time he’s asked.