Jason Weingartner, as of mid-July the new Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF), is ready to begin an overhaul, beginning with an “internal review… reviewing our operations, reviewing the website, reviewing our media platform.”
Weingartner is smoothing over the potential bumps in chairman transition. He is the first New Yorker to hold his position in sixty years, and plans to put his extensive political, law, and fundraising backgrounds to the task of informing YRNF’s target age range of 18-40. “We are also going to be very aggressive in reaching out to ethnic media. Often times, that’s overlooked. If you look at who are the fastest-growing demographics in terms of the 18-40 area, it’s the Hispanic community and the Asian community.”
Though Weingartner refers to his target age range as the highly diverse, 22-year-wide spectrum, he recognizes that it is to be broken up into targeted subsections. For example, YRNF’s student loan argument will be geared towards the 25 and under members:
The president will talk about student loans; isn’t it great- we are going to make them all affordable. If you just keep offering these guaranteed federal loans to students, all it’s going to do is continue to encourage universities to raise their tuition costs, which are by far, more than above the rate of inflation. All you’re doing is indebting generations further and further down the road… I am still even paying off my student loans. Law school is expensive. That’s a message that would be geared more towards the 25 and under aspect of that demographic simply because they’re the ones that need to understand, this isn’t free money.
Other issues, however, will be aimed towards the older end of the 18-40 spectrum. According to Weingartner, issues such as tax structure and family issues- “for people that are out of college, are building their careers, are building families, and are building homes”- will be addressed differently.
For example, when you see the president go out, and he talks about the wonders of Obamacare, because you can stay on your parent’s health care plan until the age of 26, that allows us to respond: Look, it’s not just about staying on your parent’s plan until 26, but it’s also generational theft. You are forced to purchase this plan that you may not need right now, to essentially pay for the cost that they are trying to do for older generations.
Weingartner has a “3 month plan” to strengthen the YRNF from the inside out. When asked what the top three things he will do differently from former Chairman Lisa Stickan, whose campaign he worked on, he said:
1. Community Partnerships
We are going to be very aggressive in terms of some of these partnerships, in terms of being well-armed with actual analysis, and getting out there and speaking to our community. We do have a lot of boots on the ground, but one thing that we do lack that we’ve made recent improvements in is the ability to build a substantial number of resources for the purposes of investing in our infrastructure. And the more we can invest in our infrastructure, the more efficient and effective that allows us to be as a national organization.
Lisa, I think, made a great foundation for gathering enough resources [to] invest in the infrastructure, and also started developing a grassroots fundraising program. My goal is to expand that. Expand our grassroots fundraising program more into e-solicitations. If we’re a younger organization, we need to be communicating and soliciting in ways that people now, our generation, expect to receive solicitations and communications. We are going to be more aggressive in that regard.
3. Support for state organizations and young Republicans running for office:
One of the things we are actually going to focus a bit more on is actual development of young Republicans running for office. Often times, young Republicans don’t start off running for Congress or governor… they’ll often start out at a very local level, like town supervisor or student council, school board, things of that nature. By pooling the collective talent of the organization around the country, we can, obviously working within whatever levels of campaign finance laws there are, actually get some of that talent…a great resource and leg up in their races against their Democrat opponents. It’s in our DNA to be liberty-minded and independent, but I think it’s valuable when we work together and pool resources.
YRNF attempts to pull off one of the jobs that is becoming exceedingly hard for the Republican Party. This is appealing to young people of America who are so often bombarded by leftist media and messages. Being Republican isn’t cool or fashionable, necessarily. But it’s economically sound, and perhaps the YRNF will help shift priorities accordingly.
Caroline Mahony is an editorial intern for Human Events.