Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Non-Allure of the Young

November 4, 2009

If the Republican Party is going to catch a foothold on the hearts and minds of more Americans - and, in this case, North Carolinians and Charlotteans - it is going to have to take a page out of the Democrats' book and build some wealth and legacy.

In the case of Charlotte's next mayor, Davidson College grad Anthony Foxx was supported to a narrow victory by Democratic help from all over the country, soliciting and receiving help from the NC Democratic Party and notable Democratic figures. In stark contrast, not only was the Republicans notably silent regarding similar styles of support, but moreso, their approaches to providing widespread support for candidates with all-encompassing de facto endorsements watered down a brand. Moreso, it hampered the efforts of several strong young GOP candidates in their attempts to win significant seats this November.

Whereas Foxx got support from the state Democratic party, the NC GOP did not have enough effort or muscle to support young candidates including Tariq Bokhari and former Mecklenburg County (NC) YR Chairman John Ross. Further, blanket endorsements given to both their opponents (many of which were Republicans uninvolved with the GOP structure until running for office) and to them only distanced their invested efforts to build relationships with the grassroots.

Subsequently, those roots were flying with the barn house when the strong winds of Election Day.

Which leads to the question: why does the GOP have such a hard time supporting its young elephants in the charge to create gains in electoral races and footholds with voters?

It must be because their meat tastes so sweet, for one way or another, the party structure continues to eat their young, particuarly those that are not selected by the party elite as "the chosen ones" to represent the GOP. Ironically, the more this model is followed, the more voters show the local parties that regardless of who the GOP selects as their "chosen ones", local voters will reject them just the same.

Perhaps it is Republican pride that causes this continuation of "politics as usual" - and the forthcoming losses as expected with each ensuing November in the Carolinas. And with each subsequent rejection - now culminating with a supermajority on the Charlotte City Council and the unseating of a Republican incumbent on School Board (although that was in a Democrat-controlled district) after a clean sweep of at-large candidates on the county commission and gubernatorial, and US Senatorial levels in 2008 - there comes an indictment of leadership within the Republican Party at the state and local levels. It is quite possible that the vision that Democrats hold when supporting their young, tenuous candidates such as Mayor-elect Foxx and state representative Nick Mackey (allowing them to win, even by the slightest of margins at times) is lacking on the Republican side to support and foster their young candidates in reply.

Of course, this does nothing to remove the label of the GOP as an aging, non-inclusive party, especially as pride serenades them into thinking that doing things the same way despite previous failures will miraculously lead to new results.

Or perhaps this is a strategy or non-concern as refreshing, young candidates are overrated as a political resource for the NC GOP. If so, it is a dangerous path to take.

With the re-election bid of those such as US Senator Richard Burr coming up in 2010, there will be a need for young backs to carry the day for an incumbent that narrowly won in 2004 and now faces the possibility of losing after solid-red North Carolina turned for Obama and the Democrats in 2008. Young backs carry campaign signs, campaign energy, and campaign hope a lot better and a lot further than most others; (ask the Obama campaign from 2008.) Young electoral winners that cover a broader base of Americans play to more potential voters for future campaigns. Young people that represent differ aspects of the Republican Party help to attract the moderate and independent voters that helped candidates in Virginia and New Jersey on November 3.

The same type of voters, by the way, that didn't help Republican candidates in Charlotte, quite possibly due to the blood on our hands from eating our young. Or, at the very least, watching with a lack of focus while we see our young devoured by consolidated power from the other side of the aisle.

They are the same voters that cost Pat McCrory and Elizabeth Dole. And if Republicans are not careful, it will cost them a chance to take advantage of the national referendum going out against the Democrats in North Carolina and their supermajority in Washington. After all, the combined speed for the sprint and the endurance for the marathon that is campaign politics is best served with a spice of youth and energy. Without leadership that understands this and captivates it selflessly (without motivation to exclude or dictate in very, well, un-republican manners), Republicans will be more apt to look back to recent failures than they will to look forward to future victories in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having the courage to post this. The NC GOP dropped the ball on this one. John Ross in school board district 6 had a real shot of winning had he had some support. I know John and I know he has given his all for the GOP in NC. How can the NCGOP expect us young republicans to get excited about helping the state party when we are continually ignored?