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Guest Column: Presidential Candidates Need To Listen To Young Voters

And that starts by rethinking ill-conceived TikTok bans …


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.



Emma Farrell is a senior at the University of South Carolina. She is a criminal justice major and an English minor. She also serves as the president of the school’s Turning Point USA Chapter.



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Nanker Phelge November 28, 2023 at 10:38 pm

Emma, bless your heart, Republicans have never been in touch with younger voters. Your single issue of Tik Tok is not likely to bring them running to the cold bosom of the GOP. Trump babbling on about wind turbines driving whales crazy is not likely to be an inducement, either…

Alertto Top fan November 29, 2023 at 10:16 am

You’re an amazing young person Emma and yours is an insightful article. Please don’t let the prior comment discourage your admirable public outreach – don’t let them take the wind out of your sails for speaking out on this important issue.

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VERITAS Top fan November 29, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Who is standing with and speaking for those 60+? The “Greatest Generation” is dying off and we are left with limp, weak, sexually confused, entitled, alarmist cry babies who need safe zones to survive. To hell with “young voters”.

OK Boomer November 30, 2023 at 12:32 am

The “greatest generation” get all the handouts and are protected from austerity, have obliterated the country they inherited, and still demand to be the center of attention.

How dare those whipper snappers get any attention? Me, me, MEEE!

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VERITAS Top fan November 30, 2023 at 12:37 pm

You are an idiot. You have ZERO knowledge of the Greatest Generation. You must be referring to the 1960’s “Stupidest Generation” of draft-dodging, pot smoking/LSD psycho zombies, anything goes sexual revolutionaries, baby-killing, commune living (“…worked fine until people started takimg more than they needed”), basement dwellers who are now the gray-haired pony-tail pot-smoking zombies on “handout” Social Security, voting for wealth redistribution for those safe zone nose-pierced, gothic black, sexually confused, rainbow hair, scared of their shadow grandkids screaming climate crisis while refusing to surrender everything they have that consumes energy.

jbl1a November 30, 2023 at 8:00 am

Bless your heart Emma. Do you understand TikTok is a CCP run app. It needs to be banned for very valid reasons. Bet you think Temu is great too.

Jack November 30, 2023 at 11:27 am

What would Republicans communicate to young people? Because unless they go the Donald Trump route and just lie, communication is not going to help. But if you want Republicans to communicate with young people, let us be clear about their policies and not allow them to lie.

1. They want to end the right of women to make a decision on whether to terminate pregnancy with their doctor.
2. If a woman and her doctor decide abortion is best for her health and survival, they want to lock her in her state so that she cannot travel to a state with abortion rights, and they want to punish her family and friends if they help her.
3 They want to cut funding for education and access to student loans. Essentially their position is if you can’t afford college go to trade school and if you can’t afford trade school, dig ditches, or perform other unskilled labor. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
4. They think your generation is entitled and lazy. They want to end Social Security and Medicare for your generation. You are too young to understand what that means, but before those programs 50% of Americans over the age of 65 lived in poverty and 50% over the age of 65 had no health insurance. There was no support for people who became disabled and no health insurance for people who became disabled or had pre-existing conditions.
5. They think gay people should go back into the closet where they belong and just be thankful they aren’t being arrested, for now. They think people who make fun of, bully, and beat up gay people are just red-blooded Americans saying what they think.
6. They think people should be allowed to discriminate against gay people, minorities, and non-Christians, in housing, in services. They are essentially the same people who threw rocks at the head of a 12-year-old black girl for daring to walk through the door of a white public school in the 1960s. But maybe you don’t know that story because telling you that story is teaching Critical Race Theory.
7. They think the government should be allowed to restrict access to birth control if they choose to do so.
8. They want to end your ability to buy health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition and they want to end the obligation of health insurance companies to allow parents to keep their children on their health plans until they are 26.
9. They think rounding up Hispanics and placing them in concentration camps while their status is determined and then deporting them in mass is acceptable. They think taking a person who was brought to this country as a baby and lived in this country for his or her entire life and dropping them in a country they have never known with no support is fully acceptable behavior.
10. They think gerrymandering the voting districts to minimize voting by minorities and poor people is fine.
11. They want to make it as difficult as possible for young people to vote, unless they vote Republican, by not allowing them to register where they go to school and making absentee voting and voting by mail or other manner as difficult as possible.
12. They have welcomed white supremacists into their party and many regularly attend white supremacist rallies disguised as “conservative.”
13. They think we should do nothing to protect the environment and endangered species, and that we should just let businesses do whatever they want.
14. They don’t think workers should have rights. They want to end the right of workers to unionize and go back to a system of if you don’t have a job you starve and if you don’t like the working conditions find another job.
15. Finally, they purport to be Christians, but they really don’t believe in anything Christ taught. They just like the name because it gets them votes. Just like playing on racist fears and the disgust some people have for gay people gets them votes.

I could go on and on about the Party of Trump (and let’s be honest, that is what it has become) but if you even have friends who are gay, minority, or non-Christian, I hope you are honest and tell them upfront what the party you support stands for.

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VERITAS Top fan November 30, 2023 at 12:42 pm

The real crisis today is lack of Truth. Thanks for sharing. Your comments prove my point.

Jack November 30, 2023 at 6:35 pm

You may say my statements are not true, but I can document actions and statements by Trump and other Republican leaders that back up all of those statements. So just because you don’t like it said the way I said it, does not make it false.

Who knew? December 1, 2023 at 1:02 pm

Who knew that Mama Cass came back as a criminal justice major?


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