Over the last few years as a student at Michigan State University, I have seen the ever-changing mindset of college students on politics. I have heard from a variety of students on campus that there is a notable trend toward progressive values. Some of these trends include issues like climate change, social justice, and healthcare reform which resonate heavily with this demographic, shaping their political identities. Even more, due to the lack of bipartisanship, there is a decrease in political interest as college voters don’t see their interests represented by either party.
As a college student, I’ve noticed that the Republican Party faces many challenges in engaging college students because they tend to perceive the Republican Party as less inclusive and less aligned with their social values. To bridge this increasing gap, the GOP must consider a versatile approach that addresses the concerns and hopes of all college students.
For example, in order to start building bridges instead of walls the Republican party must start actively promoting a more inclusive image. They could do this by encouraging a broad spectrum of voices which would enable a larger demographic of voters to self-identify with the party. In turn, this would demonstrate openness to diverse perspectives within the party and resonate with college students who prioritize a variety of ideologies.
Another important issue to many college students is the environment. As environmental concerns increasingly take center stage for many college students, the GOP could emphasize their commitment to responsible environmental policies. By highlighting a conservative approach to address climate issues it could mitigate the perception that Republicans are impassive to environmental concerns.
Now, I find that the GOP struggles connecting with college students on the topic of abortion. Although it is an extremely controversial topic, I think college students would like to see more of an open discussion on the complexities on this matter. Providing educational resources regarding the dangers of abortion, opening more doors to preventative contraception, and opening the line to communication are all ways to connect the GOP to college students.
Another key step forward for the GOP could be focusing on accessible communication. To engage with college students will require effective communication strategies. Moreover, to reach students more efficiently, the GOP should leverage social media and other platforms by sharing their positions on key issues in a concise manner. Younger generations are increasingly losing their abilities to pay attention for extended periods of time. Therefore, by using these platforms in an engaging, concise, and informational way would hold the attention of younger voters.
Overall, the GOP’s success in winning over college students relies heavily on their ability to adapt to the constantly evolving political landscape. By addressing inclusivity, key issues, and communicating effectively, the Republican Party can reach the next generation of leaders and voters. It all depends on the parties willingness to engage, listen, and potentially evolve in a direction that recognizes the concerns that are present on college campuses nationwide.