Congratulations Evan Siegfried on your new book GOP GPS: How to Find Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Need to Survive! Give us an overview of your book and tell us why you wrote it.
I wrote GOP GPS because the Republican Party has a looming problem when it comes to winning elections in the future. We are relying on Baby Boomers and rural voters to win, but they are declining populations. At the same time, millennials, the largest generation, and urban residents, 80% of Americans per the Census Bureau, are on the rise. Republicans have not been making inroads with these key groups and efforts are not underway. If we do not connect with millennials and urban residents soon, the Republican Party could very well whither and die.
What must the Republican Party do to win over Millennial and urban voters?
In order to reach millennials and urban voters, not only must we change how we attempt to connect with them, but some of our message. We must address issues of income inequality, debt, race relations, and other matters that Americans care about. Our conservative values and principles are great solutions to these problems, but it is imperative that we earn a seat at the table with these groups.
One smart way to do this would be to sit down with them and ask what are the problems they face and how can we help? It will earn respect and lead to a constructive dialogue where we can have our conservative solutions heard by a more receptive audience.
What is Trump’s plan to reach out to these voters? Is he doing anything currently?
His plan to reach urban voters is to tell them that their lives are terrible, they risk death by just walking down the street and asking them “what the hell do you have to lose?” That’s, at best, a rather hamfisted way of doing it. I do not see it really making an impact and could very well make these groups even more hesitant to listen to Republicans in the future.
Trump and others would be wise to sit down with urban voters and ask them two important questions: 1) what problems do you face? and 2) how can I help?
In a poll that was taken during the height of the Democrat presidential primary, almost 9/10 registered 18-24 years-olds who identified as Democrats were supporting Bernie Sanders? What might this mean for this vote bloc in future elections?
The reason that Bernie Sanders did so well among millennials is because he actually spoke to issues that matter to them. Sanders offered solutions, though they were ridiculous, to issues of student debt and helping to end inequality. Again, these “solutions” were anything but, yet he was the only candidate offering erstwhile solutions to problems without seeming like Sanders was pandering.
If we can talk about issues that millennials care about and offer substantive policies that address these problems, then we will be better able to capture this voting bloc. If we don’t we are writing off nearly 80 million Americans who will be voting for decades to come.
What 2-3 takeaways would you like readers to leave with after reading your book?
It is very important that readers recognize how the Republican Party and conservatism are headed toward a cliff because of how we have not planned for the long-term. We have the power to stop this from happening and to chart a course toward making the GOP the majority party for decades to come. In order to do so, we will have to change how we deliver our message, as well as tweak some of the message itself. If we can do that, then conservatism will win.