Millennial conservatives: We exist.
It’s a tale almost as old as time.
The notion of liberal-college elitists and educators “indoctrinating” their leftist views into the minds of students.
However, isn’t college a time to have a meaningful conversation? Perhaps, even question the ideals you entered with?
There is a difference between indoctrination and testing one’s beliefs. This is not to say that indoctrination never happens. But, as a Republican, I recognize that “indoctrination” is often used as a conservative-backed scapegoat to make up for our own failure to ensure that the members of our party are educated and informed.
Ahead of 2020, Republicans must realize that college-age students are not lost causes fully devoted to progressive ideals. The college conservatives are out there. We do exist, and in more numbers than one may think.
According to a 2017 study done by the Pew Research Center, 33 percent of millennials — ages 18-35 — self-identify as Republican.
Most college and university institutions are not a breeding ground for liberal ideas. They are a place for active conversations and an analyzation of ideas. In the divisive President Donald Trump era, Republican candidates need to indoctrinate themselves with the idea that not all millennials are liberal.
Quite the contrary, in fact.
Take this into account from a local perspective. In his 2018 campaign for governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis did not visit the USF Tampa campus a single time, even though it is a part of the often sought-after “I-4 corridor.”
But college students are a lost cause for Republican candidates, right?
DeSantis won the election by a margin of less than half a percent.
Perhaps if he had considered the impact of college voters more, he would have had a more secure election.
After all, millennials are rapidly approaching baby boomers — ages 52-70 — for the title of having the most adults of voting age in the U.S.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2018, 62 million millennials are eligible to vote in the U.S., whereas baby boomers still held the lead with 70 million.
If conservative candidates want to be successful in the 2020 elections, they will stop looking at the millennial generation as indoctrinated pawns in a Democratic scheme and more as an opportunity to shape the future of their party.
Jesse Stokes is a junior majoring in political science.