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What do young Republicans think of the presidential election? What are the stereotypes we face? These are a few questions I set out to answer about my political party this election season. I’m Mark Graff. I’m 15 and I’m a Republican in Richmond, Virginia.
Recently I had a chance to speak to several young Republicans at my high school in Richmond. I wanted to know what inspired their beliefs about conservatism and how their views compared with their peers.
I found that young people who identify as Republicans feel saddled with outdated stereotypes and generalizations that don’t necessarily reflect their ideals or beliefs. Young Republicans feel that their views and opinions aren’t accepted or heard, and their peers often think that being Republican means being unaccepting.
Society today is vastly different from the one that older Republican voters grew up in. Because of that generation gap, some young Republicans have very different opinions than older Republicans, especially regarding social issues. Still, young Republicans generally want a lot of the things that the party wants.
Below is some of the feedback I received from young Republicans about what they’re thinking, going into the election. Often, people associate the “r-word” with far-right traditional ideas, while most young Republicans are not of that mindset at all.
“I think a lot of people criticize young Republicans because of our beliefs. I feel that most young people, or at least a majority of them at school, are generally democrats. I think that sometimes they all believe that they are correct because we are the minority opinion among our peers.”
“Young Republicans have a different look on the Republican Party because they’re with a lot more people that are democrats, and a lot of different people on a lot of different sides so we have more of a perspective.”
“I want a president that can get stuff done. We need a president who can make good deals with other countries, to keep us safe and help our economy. I’m tired of people worrying about political correctness over actually being correct. I want someone who can change the political correctness of society and make me proud of my country.”
“I’ve noticed that younger Republicans tend to be less conservative than older ones. It’s probably because of the generation we’re raised in. I think young Republicans are more accepting on issues like gay marriage, immigration, or transgender equality, which old Republicans are more against. I think on fiscal issues we are on the same boat.”