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Another View -- Rob Kasper: GOP needs to listen to our young voters if it hopes to succeed

January 16. 2013 11:17PM

In this Republican's opinion, three things stood out in the last election:

1. We were demolished in the election day ground game.

2. The Democrats killed us on the question of "which party cares about me."

3. So many Republicans in leadership positions want to cry foul instead of fixing our problems.

I have found that young Republicans, such as my four daughters, are begging for a rebranding of our party's message. We have allowed the Democrats to define who we are, and the Democrats' definition of us as a political party is not pretty. We must not allow the disturbing college campus trend of a four-to-one allegiance with the Democrats to continue.

The rebranding of our party must begin by bringing younger Republicans into leadership positions in our state party. The leaders of the College Republicans and Young Republicans in New Hampshire need to be working members of our executive committee or at least enlisted as a focus group to help us rework our party message and our media delivery platforms.

Young people in the work force should be our natural constituency, but they will only identify with the Republican Party if our message of personal freedom, fiscal soundness and job creation reaches them over the Democrats' siren call of class warfare and sexual freedom. My own daughters have often commented to me on the tone-deafness of many Republican leaders when it comes to issues that matter to under-30 voters.

Our party was founded on the natural law premise that all men are created equal. For more than a century, through the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, our party held that banner. We are the party of Edward Brooke, whose election to the U.S. Senate in 1966 ended an 85-year absence of African-American senators. We are the party that pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress against the resistance of Southern Democrats such as Al Gore Sr. We are the party that has always championed personal freedom and responsibility, and we need to push back hard against the continuous Democrat rewriting of history.

Republicans were also at the forefront of women's suffrage. John Campbell, a Republican and the first governor of the Wyoming Territory, approved the first law in United States history explicitly granting women the right to vote. The law was approved on Dec. 10, 1869. The key vote on the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote came on June 4, 1919, when the Senate approved the amendment by 56 to 25 after four hours of debate, during which Democratic senators opposed to the amendment filibustered to prevent a roll call. Upon the final vote, the ayes included 36 Republicans and 20 Democrats. The nays comprised eight Republicans and 17 Democrats.

The Young Republicans and College Republicans are naturals to help us in this rebranding effort. They should be helping to lead our state committee not only in rebranding our message, but also in using technology to disseminate that message outside of the mainstream media.

We also desperately need to invest our limited fiscal resources in developing a locally based ground game that is capable of identifying new Republican voters and then getting them to the polls on Election Day. ORCA and similar top-down programs are extremely expensive and doomed to catastrophic failure.

I think the young people of this country need to be told that we want their input and, more importantly, we will take action on their ideas.

Rob Kasper of Walpole is the Area 4 vice chairman of the Republican State Committee.

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