Ana Marie Cox: GOP problem with young voters runs deep

Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a rising star in the Republican Party, is surrounded by reporters during a tour of the convention floor at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Last week we talked about how the Republican Party can improve its image with young voters.

One prominent political columnist says the party's problem is much deeper than just image.


To believe a party's popularity is simply a matter of branding is a profound disservice and insult to the electorate, one that young people are more apt to recognize than most...

In our modern age, it's easy to cynically dismiss all politics as "branding", sure, but voters have more depth than that — even if politicians don't. Todd Akin didn't lose because of bad "branding"; he lost because of his beliefs and policies.

This is the flaw at the center of the GOP's "image problem", which is really a "substance problem". It's not that the party is — as the report has it — "disliked"; it is that they are disagreed with, that they are working from a set of assumptions and values that young people recognize as, at best, misguided or uninformed and, at worst, destructive.

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