Society and Culture

Young Conservatives Actually Have No Clue Why They’re Conservative

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Hello loves! How many of you went to CPAC last week?

Hopefully none of you. But! A whole bunch of young people did — obviously as props to debunk the claim that the GOP is full of rich, white men. (I’m just kidding.) (Kind of not really.)

Anyway! As a result of this Millennial pilgrimage to the land of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, the NRCC took the opportunity to ask its youngins’ why they identified as conservatives. The results are laughable.


First of all — the most concrete piece of new information we’ve learned from this little exercise is that Republicans can’t count. While the NRCC claims to have asked 37 Millennials why they were fans of the Grand Old Party, there are 45 individuals pictured on their countdown. Likewise, the Independent Journal Review, which reposted the piece, claims 26 individuals in the headline, 37 individuals in the slug, and pictures only 33.

Learn your 1, 2, 3s here, people. What kind of nonsense is this?

No, we're not giving you one more chance.

No, we’re not giving you one more chance.

So, clearly, we’ve established that this little study is anything but scientific.  Also, not well produced. If the Republican question-askers and statisticians can’t even keep their numbers straight, shouldn’t your standard, run of the mill copy editor notice something’s up? You’d think so. You’d also be wrong.

Anyway, mathematical challenges aside, let’s let these young Republicans speak for themselves, shall we? Here are a few reasons why they’re counting themselves conservative this year.

american dream

That’s pretty vague. Courtesy of

bill of rights

Even vaguer. Courtesy of



Courtesy of


Am I the only one who’s noticing that something’s up here? None of these reasons are actually reasons. They’re just meaningless buzzwords.

You’re conservative because…taxes? Do you mean that you like how the Republican party has rigged the system so that gazillionaires and corporations get tax breaks, while YOU, lowly 20-something, are paying taxes through your nose? If that’s what you meant by, “I’m conservative because taxes,” then I guess you’re in the right place. A self-defeating one, mind you.


Courtesy of

And what about fiscal responsibility? These folks are on the tax train too — as in, they’d like to pay fewer of them. They’re all kinds of pissed off about having their tax dollars funneled into the social safety net, because no one wants to subsidize those lazy, mooching, poor people! The blasphemy!

I’m guessing they all have health insurance, and aren’t particularly worried about falling ill and going bankrupt. Also, they probably aren’t aware that the group who benefits most from the social safety net is, in fact, their grandparents.


Courtesy of

Then, of course, there are the Jobby McJobersons, who are conservatives because jobs. I’m guessing they want more of them? If so, maybe they should be a little more specific about the kinds of jobs they’re looking for.

Because among job creators in the GOP, new positions typically don’t pay a living wage or include benefits. Take Walmart, for example. Owned by the Waltons, an incredibly rich and incredibly conservative family, it’s the single largest employer in the country. Its employees also hold food drives for each other, because they don’t actually make enough money to buy food themselves.


I feel like those aren’t the kinds of jobs that’ll pay off your student loans, young CPAC attendees.

There were a few young people who were more thoughtful in their responses. Take this girl, for example, who’s being really clear about how much she’d like to preserve her privilege as a white, cis-gender, straight, Christian woman, at the expense of queers, people of color, and poor folks.


Courtesy of

Then there’s this guy, who’s affiliated with the GOP because he’s disappointed in Obama’s performance as President. You know what, love? I totally agree with you. Obama hasn’t been able to create the hope and change he promised. A huge factor in that, though, is the unwillingness of Republicans to cooperate with him on literally anything.


Courtesy of

Now, I’m all for listening to young Republicans as the reflect on and explain why they identify as conservatives. But that’s not what’s happening here. These 20-somethings aren’t reflecting on much, and they aren’t explaining anything at all. They’re mindlessly spewing one-word, canned talking points.

And that’s not helping anybody. You need to improve your communication skills here, CPAC’ers! You should take a lesson from these awesome people, who are fabulous at explaining their political alignment. Notice how they all use full sentences and complete thoughts.


PS – Handsome person in the top right corner, give me a call sometime, mmkay? Courtesy of

So, young Republicans, do me a favor. Get your fucking acts together. Think more critically about why you identify as conservative, and give us more than the same tired, one-word answers a million people used before you. You don’t need to understand a damn thing about life or politics to write “Jobs” on a piece of paper.

And we need you to understand things. Because you’re pretty close to taking over this show yourselves.

Hannah R. Winsten (@HannahRWinsten) is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow.

Featured image courtesy of [Gage Skidmore via Flickr]

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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