After Arizona Democrats won races for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and a U.S. Senate seat in the November midterm elections, College Republicans at ASU are resetting their goals.
Despite the Democrats' wins in November, the Republican Party still controls both chambers of the state Legislature and plans to focus on education and election issues this legislative session. The strategy of ASUGOP and other conservative clubs at the University in response to the results of the midterms is to focus on distinct issues and getting the youth vote.
"Last semester was focused on the election," said Isaac Humrich, a sophomore studying political science and president of College Republicans at ASU. "This semester we decided we wanted to focus more on the issues, on policy."
The Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics predicted young voters to turn out nationwide in record numbers for the last election with around 55% of 18- to 29-year-olds preferring Democratic control.The Youth Electoral Significance Index ranked Arizona youth second across the country for having the most power in the Senate and governor races.
"The Republican party does have an issue with young people," Humrich said. "It's an issue that is largely motivated by social issues."
One way College Republicans at ASU and other Republican student clubs in Arizona are planning to appeal to younger voters is through an initiative called Project Recharge. The group does not have any specifics on that plan or when it will be rolled out.
Other registered conservative clubs on campus such as American Enterprise Institute, Young Americans for Liberty and Turning Point USA each have a specific mission at ASU for a variety of conservative issues.
"Other conservative clubs ... we would be happy to work with them," Humrich said. "If they would like to push an issue set we can see what we can do ... I would personally be interested if they would like to host joint meetings."
In the midterms, Arizona Democrats retained a Senate seat and the secretary of state office while taking the governor and attorney general's office. But Humrich said he doesn't think Arizona has fundamentally changed much.
"It’s still a purple state," he said.
According to the Kennedy School, more than seven out of 10 young voters said they felt the rights of others are under attack, with 59% believing their own rights are under attack. Understanding that young people made up a portion of the vote that could swing midterm elections, many Democratic organizations across the country tried to connect to a younger demographic.
"Democrats are going to sustain the youth vote by focusing on social policy," said Aj Valle, a freshman studying nursing and a member of the national organization College Democrats of America.
"The Democrats have a TikTok account and they partake in the trends," Valle said. "By participating in the trends it's immersing young people in what the Democratic party stands for."
As Democrats and Republicans become more divided, some students struggle to identify with either party. Emily Mata, a freshman studying public service and public policy, struggles to find a home in either major political party.
"There are negatives and positives to each party, which is why I have chosen to register as an independent ... I want candidates from the Democratic and Republican Party to know that they have to earn my vote," Mata said.
As all sides of the political spectrum prepare for the year ahead, youth voters will continue to be a vital part in shaping the state. College Republicans are putting their trust in Arizonans and young voters to create the Arizona they want.
"The people of Arizona trust the Legislature to govern," Humrich said.
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