Reason’s Nick Gillespie and I have had a years-long conversation about conservatism and libertarianism, so talking with Nick about Going Red felt like an extension of that topic. Reason Magazine published the interview yesterday, and offered some very kind words about Going Red, too. Not surprisingly, Nick was most interested in how Republicans and conservatives can reach out effectively to more liberty-minded millennials:
Though Morrissey is openly rooting for a Republican victory (unlike many conservatives, he hasn’t even joined the #NeverTrump movement), Going Red is a deeply reported attempt to understand how different groups of voters in different parts of the country have very different issues and concerns. He traveled extensively to seven swing counties in seven different states (Florida, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, and more) to analyze and understand exactly how Democrats and Republicans have connected—or failed to connect—with residents. In Wake County, North Carolina, for instance, Morrissey talks to young libertarian Republicans who tell him that although “all the energy is with the young, the more libertarian movement,” the party generally seems “openly hostile” to a message that stresses “we’re not going to tell you how to live your life.”
The result is a ground-level tour of how actual voters think about actual issues. True to his roots in decentralized online media (not so long ago, Morrissey was a call center operator who blogged on the side), he stresses that political operations have to take cues from business and cultural enterprises that flatten hierarchies and empower two-way conversations.
Regardless of your political persuasion, the results are fascinating for anyone interested in how retail politics must be remade in an age of ubiquitous media, ground-up messaging, and the not-so-slow death of establishment parties.
More than any other demographic data, it’s the millennials that should worry the GOP and conservative movement. The nature of the next generations of voters will change the electorate — and already are — which makes connections to younger voters essential. That means having answers for their biggest concerns and issues, and as Olivier Knox on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and of Yahoo News notes, the biggest economic issue facing this generation is student-loan debt. In an interview I did earlier this week, we discussed the millennials in particular:
In order to win elections in the future, Republicans and conservatives have to do the hard work now of engaging voters where they are and for who they are. In 2016, that effort has to take place in the key swing counties of the seven states covered in Going Red — or we will lose another four years to statism and progressive politics.