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Montana Politics

“Young” Republicans Meet in Helena

There are at least two things I love about this story from KXLH about the gathering of young Republicans in Helena. The first, and simplest, is this accompanying image.

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While it’s great to include people of all ages in politics, clearly Montana Republicans have a different definition of young than I do.

More significantly, this quote illustrated the problems Republicans will face in the future:

Jessica Sena, chair of the MT Young Republicans, noted, “We need a new skin for an old message…and that’s social media. I mean, really maximizing every single one of the various media sources that are out there.”

That’s precisely what Republicans need to do if they want to become a permanent minority party in the United States and eventually Montana. I would argue the problems Republicans face in districts they haven’t gerrymandered to the point of absurdity has little to do with engaging voters on Twitter or Facebook.

The problem isn’t the media; it’s the message. Opposing health care, immigration reform, marriage equality, livable wages, and a clean environment certainly fires up the base that determines the outcomes of Republican primaries ( a base that is decidedly not young), but it’s hardly a message that resonates with young voters.

I applaud the Republican plan to get this message online. The more people who read it and understand their agenda, the better.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Supporting the privatization of Medicare and Social Security has really locked things down with seniors for Republicans. So the next logical step is obviously mansplaining to young people that they should pay higher student loan interest rates. And gay people should go to prison. And contraception should be illegal.

    Not that you heard a discussion of the issues in this story, but Republicans have NOTHING on the issues that appeals to 18-35ers. When the hell are these guys going to learn that they need to change their message, not its delivery?

  • Gerrymandered, Don? Really?? Just take a look at the major cities in Montana and tell me they are gerrymandered in favor of the Republicans. Helena is a great example where most districts start in the more heavily populated, Democratic stronghold of the downtown areas and spoke out into the valley which is less populated and generally more conservative.

    Take a look at Great Falls, Billings and Bozeman. Once again, the redistricting commission showed favoritism towards one Party, and that isn’t the Republican party.

    • I was making a broader national argument about gerrymandering. Given that a clear majority of Americans voted for Democrats and Republicans gained a majority in the House, the system is rigged to favor one side.

      In Montana, I’d concede that more people still identify as Republicans than Democrats, but that number is certainly going to change over time, especially if the GOP sticks to its reactionary agenda.

      I think the redistricting commission certainly hasn’t hurt Republicans, despite their complaints. I’d be interesting in seeing how vote totals match up with representation in the House.

  • Gotta laugh there really will never be a young republicans, especially in this state.

    Unless their original hair color is something but grey, and they don’t heave oxygen tanks around…. just saying!

  • Wishing to turn the clock back to some simpler time is dangerous nostalgia. If this was a prevailing value fifty years ago, civil rights demonstrations would have been done in vain. Alienating women, persons of color, the LGBT community doesn’t just lose elections, it compromises societal progress and productivity. Remember history to learn from it, not yearn to return to it.

  • “Young Republicans” could possibly mean newly enlightened voters. No matter what their age.

    And if your message was so strong why can’t you seem to get a formable senate candidate to step forward? Why is everybody turning it down no matter how you beg and plead?

  • You surely mean “formidable.” And running for office takes more than overweening ego and a need to resolve deeo-seated self esteem issues. The mixer-grinder that passes for election campaigns these days repels the best and brightest.

    No one wants Anthony Weiner, of course, but pursuing perfection and ideological purity is a recipe for frustration.

  • You could have at least looked at the description of the event before writing this blog post, it was set up to allow young republicans and college republicans to speak to party leadership regarding ideas they had for the party. Well over half of the meeting was young republicans and college republicans, which I know because I attended. The “older republicans” you all refer to was the whole “leadership of the party” side of the events. But I guess its all about being partisan just to be partisan these days….and these comments, just golden.

    • People who throw rocks shouldn’t live in glass houses. the tea pot calling the pot black.

      Either you look back and deal with your hypocrisy, or you dismiss it. ~Jose Padilha~

      I’m betting you are dismissing it!

      • I am sure you were trying to say there are partisans in the republican party so its ok for you to be partisan, which in and of itself is a really silly argument. To be clear I work with democratic activists on a daily basis, and do not think they are bad human beings simply because they disagree with me on policy. You would be hard pressed to find any example of me talking down to anyone including democrats old or young, simply because I do not think they are correct on some political issue. That is the way politics should be.

        You on the other hand make generalizations and assumptions with little to no information and insult young republicans whom, like myself, could not care less if our friends are republicans or democrats, they are still our friends. We may disagree on policy, but the kind of comments you make about young people who you do not know anything about, and are just trying to make Montana a better place for their families and neighbors, speaks volumes about you Norma.

        • You’ll note I only made a tongue in cheek joke about the age of the participants, but I might suggest you reserve your ire for the news station that covered the event or the press people who work for the party who mischaracterized it to them for the mistake.

          The caption does speak for itself, after all.

          More important, though, is the issue you choose to ignore in my post. That your party is locked rigidly into dated ideology that will continue to cost it nationally and is costing it already here in Montana. Look at the statewide offices. You can’t seem to win them, largely because your candidates are so extremist. They’re only going to be more out of touch with the next generation of voters; using social media and holding meetings won’t change that.

        • Look I don’t know but one young Republican out of say fifty college students, and he is about to chuck his conservative bona fides and become a Democrat.

          Why you ask? because of your parties platform.

          Your losing the young people because they want to make a difference, and you kind are doing all they can to keep that from happening. The party wants to turn control over to old monied interests. Make people fall in line, do what they are told….

          According to you guys the internet is bad, videogames is bad, hollywood is bad, helping others is bad, following science is bad, accepting people who are different are bad.

          You kind don’t want people scrutinizing the bible by actually reading it and questioning the disparities, You kind don’t want people second guessing your points on climate change. Your kind wants to ignore the poor in this country and the students who has to go into debt to receive an education. Your screwing the very new blood your party needs infused to survive…. all the while supressing votes of college students and taking away a chance for any strong woman to come forward in your party as they take away rights for a woman to choose.

          And then you have the gumption to say I am Partison????? Bwahahahaha

          Look in the mirror!

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