Responding to an extensive column by political gadfly Andrew Sullivan on how the Republican Party can bring young people back into the fold, conservative Charlie Sykes stated that he made some good points -- then thoroughly buried Sullivan's suggested remedy.
Reflecting on the recent midterm election where youth turnout was up and contributed to Democratic wins, Sykes conceded there is a major GOP problem, particularly among women.
He wrote, "The problem with young women is especially dire, with one exit poll suggesting that '72 percent of women ages 18-29 voted for Democrats in House races nationwide. In a pivotal Pennsylvania Senate race, 77 percent of young women voted for embattled Democrat John Fetterman, helping to secure his victory.'"
While Sullivan appeared to downplay the impact the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision on abortion had on the election, he made the case that the what the GOP really needs an appealing figurehead that young voters will flock to.
According to Sykes, Sullivan's pick would not only be a misfire but also "absurd."
"Last September, in the run-up to the election, a 'Youth Summit' in Texas featured a speaker lineup that included Matt Gaetz, Ted Cruz, talk show host Candace Owens, and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, 'who wore a pistol strapped to her leg as she addressed the hall,'" he wrote. "These are the faces that the right is presenting to younger voters. To be sure, Sullivan does not hold up any of these misfit toys as the key to winning back the young. Instead, the one political figure he cites is… Ron DeSantis."
"Really?' the conservative columnist asked.
Explaining that Sullivan admitted, "If DeSantis wants to win the center, he needs to show that his love of real diversity is as strong as his loathing of the wokeness that claims to speak for it,” Sykes wrote tongue in-cheek that he "has some questions."
"When Sullivan writes about Ron DeSantis’s “love of real diversity,” is he talking about this Ron DeSantis? The one who just banned a course in African-American Studies? Or the Ron DeSantis. who once spoke at a conference hosted by a writer described as 'driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements.' The guy who signed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill?" he asked.
"Or perhaps, Sullivan was thinking of the youthful charisma of the guy who berated high school students for wearing masks at one of his photo-ops during the height of the pandemic," he continued before asking once again, "This is the guy who will reverse the demographic tide by showing his 'love for real diversity'? This is the guy who will be a magnet for the youngs? Really?"
You can read his whole piece here -- subscription required.