Equally unappealing is the growth of the GOP’s rejection of expertise. Think about what a Trumpublican in good standing is nudged to believe: climate change is hoax, tax cuts always pay for themselves, globalization has made America a worse place, Alex Jones is a more insightful person than Paul Krugman. And of course the party is led by a self-described “very stable genius” who takes obvious pride in dismissing the value of knowledge and experience in others.
And that’s the thing: Many of the actions the GOP could do to make itself more appealing to youngish techies — and young people more generally — are intrinsically good ideas, whatever their political effects. Reviving the Office of Technology Assessment would be one way of showing the GOP is serious about pursuing pro-innovation policies and showing it thinks smart people are valuable. Another would be boosting public investment in basic research, Google chief economist Hal Varian’s number one policy recommendation. Republicans should also focus more on where their free-market instincts can bring immediate, visible benefits — such as pushing for housing deregulation so housing supply can meet demand, especially in tech hubs like Seattle and San Francisco where rents are sky high. And perhaps Republican policymakers could quit talking about steel and coal as if they are the industries of the future, and people in cities like they are not “real” Americans.