Politics / U.S. Senate

How the Republican “Wave” was Possible

Obama’s 2012 Presidential victory cinched 60 percent of the youth vote, causing many Republican insiders to question where the party was headed. Republicans were warned that they must “get diverse” to continue the party’s survival. The College Republican National Committee found that young people saw the party as “lacking in diversity” and “old-fashioned.”  Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus stated in March of 2013, “The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic, community or region of this country.” Was the GOP’s brand in danger because of the representatives’ personality or the ideals of the party’s platform? Leading up to the 2014 midterm elections, the country yearned for fresh candidates with new ideas to pull the country out of the economic decline, international turmoil and domestic gridlock.

Thankfully, the GOP shifted from the stereotypical candidate they previously touted and backed qualified candidates that the electorate could relate to and support. This year, it cannot be any coincidence that of the eleven new senators elected, eight are under 60 years old and one is a youthful 37. Compared to the average age of senators in the 113th Senate, this can be taken as a clear message that the country is looking for new ideas as well as representation that closely mirrors each district’s constituency.

Typically, Democrats have been known to flaunt diverse candidates who more closely represent their constituents, but 2014 proved the Republicans to be more in touch with what the voters want. Notably, Republicans elected Senator Joni Ernst, the first woman to represent Iowa, Steve Daines, the first Montana Republican Senator after 101 years and Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia’s first female senator. The 114th Congress comprises a historic number of 29 Latinos, with the addition of two new Republican Latinos.
To achieve these successes, new goals were put in motion for Republicans, all clearly targeting diversity and encouraging more groups to be a part of the democratic system.

Republican organizations were created, such as the Future Majority Project which targets candidates of Hispanic decent, Right Women Right Now which supports women candidates and 14 in ’14, a program designed to engage young women voters. These,  among other initiatives, were started in the hopes of increasing participation and gaining superior candidate involvement. Their tactics beg for the Democrats’ overworked “War on Women” accusation against the Republicans to be retired, as numerous women received GOP backing.

Looking towards the 2016 horizon, voters need to see initiative and innovative ideas from our candidates in order to solve our country’s growing diversity. 2014 is a banner year, not only for the Republican Party but also for our diverse and changing nation. The newly elected officials will offer a breath of fresh air and new perspectives to the stale issues continuously debated and will optimistically implement new and effective solutions. Our country is constantly evolving and we have many questions regarding our elected officials. Encouraging women and diverse candidates to run for office can only help to more accurately represent our problems and create responsible solutions.