Culture Wars May Weaken Youth Support for Republicans
Colleen Wilson has all the makings of a foot soldier for whichever Republican becomes the nominee to oppose President Barack Obama in the November election.
The Virginia college student comes from a conservative family and describes herself as a Republican. She is an intern at the county Republican committee and paid her own way to attend the prominent Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this month.
Her support should be a given for a Republican in Virginia, one of the closely contested “swing states” where the 2012 presidential election will likely be decided.
But it’s not.
“I may vote for Obama,” said Wilson, who is 19. “It’s possible. I can’t say now, but I’m not ruling it out.”
The George Mason University student, like a majority of her peers, is a moderate on social issues. She supports gay marriage and some abortion rights and has been turned off by the strident “culture wars” now creeping back into U.S. politics.
She had planned to vote for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney because of his business experience and ideas for fixing the U.S. economy, but said inflammatory rhetoric at CPAC made her wonder if she could vote for any of the party’s candidates this year.
“It scares me how extreme they are on social conservatism,” she said. “It wasn’t that they didn’t believe in gay marriage. It was how vicious and closed minded they were.”