Michael Barone

Conservatives have hopes of winning more Millennial votes in 2015. The most popular political figure among the young is London's Conservative and libertarian Mayor Boris Johnson.

And the coalition government has pushed legalization of same-sex marriage through both houses of Parliament. Prime Minister David Cameron speaks passionately on the subject.

This has caused some backlash among older Conservative Party members and voters. It may explain why the United Kingdom Independence Party, known mainly for its opposition to British membership in the European Union, has been showing increased strength in recent polls and local elections.

Are there lessons here for America's Republicans, who some say are doomed because of high support for Barack Obama among Hispanics and (the twice as numerous) Millennials?

Perhaps. The proprietors of Obamacare are sounding panicked about the possibility that many Millennials will not sign up for insurance on the health exchanges.

The reason for panic is that health insurance won't be a good deal for the young. Obamacare requires that the relatively poor young pay for the greater medical needs of the relatively rich old.

The penalty for remaining uninsured is tiny compared to the cost of insurance premiums. And Obamacare guarantees that you can buy health insurance when you get sick or pregnant.

Obama's percentage among young voters slipped more than among their elders between 2008 and 2012. Some recent polling shows him with lower than average approval -- well under 50 percent -- among Millennials.

Republicans face problems with the young on cultural issues. Most Republican officeholders and voters oppose same-sex marriage.

But at least for a time, that issue was removed from national politics and sent to the states by two Supreme Court decisions.

Legalizing same-sex marriage in many states will require referendums. That tends to make the issue far less partisan. If Republicans want to appeal to Millennials, they should frame this as a matter of conscience, not politics, and show respect for the strong feelings on both sides.

Young Americans, like young Brits, want to choose their future. Republicans should argue their policies enable them to do so.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM