When it comes to elections, the young vote has always been in the hands of the democrats. But with a growing millennial population, some Republicans say there needs to be a push to bring more young voters to the Republican party. KRCU’s Breanne Bleichroth sat down with the Chair of the Cape County Republican Central Committee, Holly Lintner to see how the party is recruiting young voters.
Bleichroth: Thank you for joining me, Ms. Lintner. Basically the Missouri primaries are coming up very soon and there's only one campaign office in Cape Girardeau so far and that is the Bernie Sanders campaign. Is there a reason why the Republican party has not put a campaign office down here yet?
Lintner: Our offices have always opened up after the primary. We have a Republican party headquarters after the primary day, and it's open throughout until the general. But we have had problems in the past if we have it open during the primary it ends up just causing lots of fights internally and that kind of thing. So it's just always been better for us to wait and open that up after the primary's over.
Bleichroth: How is the Republican party going to target younger voters?
Lintner: Well I think that the candidates will do a good job at reaching out to those younger voters. I think Trump has allure, and Bernie, obviously on the Democrat side, has a lot of allure. And some people are of course attracted to, you know, Hillary, not as many as the younger people. But, I think Cruz has an allure to a certain base, so I think that the candidates are doing a good job at that. But, I also think that the party is definitely well aware that we need to do a better job especially in the social media realm and they've made steps since the election four years ago to make sure that we are communicating better with that core group of people.
Bleichroth: So what specifically is the party doing here in Cape Girardeau to really reach out to students?
Lintner: Well, of course we have a social media presence. We have the College Republicans on the campus here at Southeast, and they are doing an excellent job. This year, we have an excellent leader with Chris Beyer and he is reaching out to that base and to his peers and bringing them in.
Bleichroth: So why do you think that young voters are going to be so important during this upcoming election?
Lintner: Well, we had a huge baby boom back in the mid to early 90s and so those are all voters now and so that plays a huge part in the election and we have to have the younger crowd in order to win our election. So, you know, I'm not saying we're perfect at this point, but I know the party has made great strides to reach out to those younger voters.
Bleichroth: Why do you think that younger voters should even care about the elections? Why do you think they should even try to vote? Why do you think that they should even be interested in what's going on in politics?
Lintner: Well, the president does a good job at driving policy and driving things that affect our lives. Obviously, Congress is hugely important in making that policy, but the president really sets that tone. So, it's important to know what matters to you and it's important to understand what the different parties bring to the table as far as how they're going to affect your bottom line of your paycheck.
Bleichroth: So which Republican issues and candidates do you think resonate with young voters?
Lintner: Well the social issues. The younger crowd seems to be very focused on you know social things, gay rights, abortion, you know, those kinds of things. And so they kind of look at how the different parties react in those situations.
Bleichroth: Do you think that students actually care or are they sort of remaining very distant from what's going on?
Lintner: I know a large group of students that do. I mean at State Lincoln Day two weeks ago in St. Louis, there was over half of the people attending were college kids. And the College Republican base across the state is a huge base. So I know that there's definitely a population that really does care. You know, I'm not saying they all do, but they should.
Bleichroth: Which candidate do you think is more supported here, currently? Not even just by the party but by the voters?
Lintner: I'm seeing, you know, it seems to me an equal amount of support for both Cruz and Trump. I have never had this happen before, but in the last few weeks, have gotten four and five calls a day, people looking for signs for those two candidates, wanting the headquarters to be open and wanting to have those things to show their support. And you know unfortunately, it's not available unless they go on the candidates websites right now, but that to me though just shows there's an overabundance of excitement right now in the election and people are paying attention I think more than they have in the last eight years. And so that's really exciting to see that.
Bleichroth: Alright, well thank you very much.
Lintner: Alright, thank you.