by EMMA FARRELL
As Republicans vie for support in upcoming elections, one thing they need to focus on are the concerns of young voters – a demographic Democrats have won over for quite some time. Securing the support of young voters in South Carolina – and across the country – is a daunting task. A recent report of college towns showed that even in a heavily red state like South Carolina, you will find at least one county home to a college or university saturated with progressive voters. Winning over these young voters could mean the difference between repeating past failures or securing success – and beginning a new chapter for the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has lost touch with younger voters in recent years. Recent local and state elections revealed that reconnecting with younger voters is crucial for the GOP ahead of 2024. One way the party can do this is by embracing technology and social media. It’s an integral component of the lives of young Americans – whether it be in college, their profession or their personal life. Though we have seen security concerns with social media and technology in recent years, we have also seen it advance education, nurture social connections, foster professional development and promote entrepreneurship.
Proposals to ban TikTok have gained momentum due to fears about Americans’ privacy. I understand these concerns, but they are not specific to TikTok – nor are they a justification for banning the app. Solely banning TikTok sends an alarming message to young voters – a demographic Republicans need to win over – that the government is too quick to censure free speech in the name of national security.
A better approach is for the federal government to address data privacy and cybersecurity holistically because TikTok is not the only app or U.S. company that has ties to China. Rather than solely targeting TikTok, the federal government should establish a standard for all companies operating in the U.S. to ensure Americans’ data and privacy is protected.
TikTok is a cultural epicenter for younger generations, facilitating not only social trends but also creating unprecedented avenues for individuals, such as the opportunity to cultivate a following and monetize their creative endeavors. Gen Z is full of entrepreneurs who launch and expand their small businesses on TikTok daily. These entrepreneurs aren’t in China. They are here in South Carolina and across the country. We can keep creativity, entrepreneurship, and social connection alive while also protecting the privacy of everyday Americans.
In order for the Republican Party to reach younger voters, it must embrace the advancements in technology and the role it plays in American life while also protecting privacy.
South Carolina, with its unique blend of political dynamics, presents a golden opportunity for Republicans to rekindle their appeal to a young voter base. As the Republican party charts its course towards the White House, candidates must consider what sort of technology and privacy legislation voters actually want to see passed. It’s about creating new jobs and opportunities, lowering the everyday cost of living, securing our border and keeping our communities safe.
Republicans should take heed and recognize the importance of reaching young voters. By understanding and recognizing the priorities of younger voters, the party can navigate the path back to the White House and into the hearts of the American people for years to come.
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