A blueprint shows how the Republican Party can woo millennial voters and regain its relevance.
Conservative philosophy is usually at a disadvantage when it comes to courting young voters because a principled skepticism about progress chafes against a youthful romanticism. Nevertheless, in this book, Scaros (Understanding the Constitution, 2011) fashions a plan for the rejuvenation of what he feels is a party ailing from a disconnect with younger voters. The author argues that Republicans need to both refine and embrace the core principles that underline their perspective: liberty, individual responsibility, economic opportunity, and moral values. Rather than diffidently water down their political attachments, he writes, they should proudly proclaim them. But he also argues that they should choose candidates that are more likable and less angry or they risk needlessly alienating potentially sympathetic voters. The author consistently chides the party for eschewing compromise, which is historically essential to American political life: “Republicans might not realize that refusing to compromise is childish and downright un-American. Our nation was built on compromise so much so that it would be appropriate to call it the American States of Compromise.” Following this sentiment, Scaros advocates various compromises without a corresponding abandonment of convictions. For example, he counsels Republicans to reach out beyond conservative media outlets to more liberal ones. He outlines several issues he contends Republicans can reclaim, including religion, national security, populism, and race. The author also sketches some general policy perspectives on hot topics like gun control, taxation, energy independence, and education. Some of his provocative proposals seem wildly implausible; he believes, in exchange for higher salaries, that teachers will jettison not only tenure, but unions as well. Still, Scaros skillfully updates the party’s agenda without transforming it into something unrecognizable. A presidential historian and attorney, Scaros draws from a deep wellspring of knowledge, but his greatest asset remains his consistent pragmatism. He has a strong political viewpoint, but it’s not freighted with calcified ideology. Politically minded voters from either side of the aisle could benefit from his example of intellectual bipartisanship.
A bold book aimed at Republicans that could be profitably read by Democrats as well.