During the presidential election four years ago, a drastic change occurred in voting demographics and behavior. A largely ignored and underrepresented section of the electorate suddenly burst onto the scene. Young voters, middle and college-aged individuals voted in record numbers for Barack Obama. This election however, conservative groups around the country are working to change that dynamic. One such group is the D.C. Young Republicans.
The DCYRs were chartered by the national Young Republicans organization, which was founded in 1931. The DCYRs are locally based, but their outreach is national.
During this election cycle in particular, they have set up what they call deployments, whereby groups of volunteers travel to battleground states for voter registration drives. Deployments this election season have included Connecticut, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In Ohio alone, 60 volunteers from the Washington area traveled to the Buckeye State and made more than 16,000 voter contacts working with the National Young Republicans and other chapters from around the country.
So far, the DCYRs have made 11 trips to nine states, with over 400 participants making over 160,000 voter contacts, said Communications Chairman James Christophersen. He credited National Committeeman Stephen Jackson with organizing the trips.
These are pretty good numbers for an organization entirely made up of volunteers. ???We have just over 450 active members,??? Christophersen said. Additionally, about 2,000 conservatives receive weekly emails and newsletters. The group also boasts a strong social media presence, including two Facebook pages, the twitter hash-tag ???#DCYRsOnTour??? dedicated specifically to their deployments, and accounts on YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, and the newly launched blog, RightDC.com. ???This is the official Blog of the DCYRs,??? Christophersen said. ???We hope that this will become a voice of the young Republican and young conservative movement in D.C. People think that we, young conservatives, are a dying breed; we are very interested in proving them wrong.???
Network of members
All of these elements have been combined with social events to build a network of dedicated and loyal members. Besides the volunteer activities, the DCYRs also sponsor monthly happy hours with various conservative groups to promote networking and strong relationships. Recent meetings have hosted four members of Congress, and their membership includes eight individuals who have been listed on the first annual D.C. GOP 35 under 35 list, including Christophersen himself.
???I think that this confirms what we have been saying about ourselves for a while: we are not just the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today,??? Christophersen said. ???We believe the ideas we have are the right ones for our country. You don???t have to be a certain age.???
The DCYRs do a lot of local work as well, such as with Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates (ANC). Three members are currently ANC chairs, and two more are running as well.
The DCYRs are an example of young people committed to making a difference and using their voice to facilitate change. ???One thing that brings us all together is disappointment in this president and his promises,??? Christophersen said. ???We have a firm belief in more limited government that doesn???t interfere in our daily lives, provides justice under the law, provides for the national defense, efficiency of interstate commerce, and not interfering in life. Give us the ability to strike out on our own. We are all young people; we just want the opportunity to make it on our own. We recognize that we might not achieve all the things we want, but we want a better start for the next generation.???