Tabitha Hale

The war that the Republican Party lost last night was much more than a political war. It wasn’t simply lack of turn out, lack of money or a bad campaign. What was lost was a culture war.

In 2004, John Kerry won the 18-29 youth vote over George Bush by 9 points, with a 54 to 45 split. On Tuesday, Barack Obama won that same demographic by 23 percent, with Barack Obama taking 60 percent to Romney’s 36 percent. Not only that, but they’re voting in larger numbers. This represents a larger problem for the GOP and ultimately the country: There is a large majority of the young generation that values the support of the government over their own freedom, and the GOP has not figured out how to reach them with a message of freedom and independence. The conversation centers around what each party will do for them, and if that continues, the GOP is in a death spiral.

Conservatives can blame the old white guys, Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks for being a distraction. They can throw around voter fraud accusations, and boycott every Hollywood type that makes an endorsement they don’t like or says something dumb. The truth is, these are all symptoms of a much larger problem for which no one has proposed a solution: Conservatives long ago ceded entertainment to the Left, and in doing so isolated themselves from demographics they absolutely need to reach. This isn’t a problem that is going to be fixed by better GOTV or more SuperPACs. What needs to happen is a cultural shift that cannot happen in one election cycle, nor can it happen with the attitude of so many on the Right toward American culture.

The culture shift a subtle one that has taken decades. Ronald Reagan had a Hollywood background. He knew how to talk to people so they would listen, and he knew how to be relevant, even into his 70s. This didn’t mean that he changed the principles or ideas of Barry Goldwater, he just understood that the things that worked in 1964 would not work in 1980, and he spoke to people in their language. The result? He took the youth vote by 20 points against Walter Mondale in 1984, which kept the country center right for 20 years.

Single women, who went 67 percent to Obama this week, have been sold a bill of goods by the Left since the 90s. Women have been told that empowerment comes from sex, and that we have a “right” to things like birth control. Television models the Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle of shoes and parties and sex without consequence. Meanwhile, America wonders why women walking around with iPhones and Kate Spade bags at Ivy League colleges are demanding that we pay for birth control they could acquire at Wal Mart for $4 a month.

Tabitha Hale

Tabitha Hale is the Director of New Media at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.