One of the great things about Campus Reform is that we're equal opportunity promoters of conservative and libertarian leadership of all stripes. Sure, we all have our own pet issues and so do the student and youth leaders we assist. But whatever combination of hot buttons push your buttons, as long as they somehow reach the core of free markets, limited government, a strong national defense or traditional values, we want to help you succeed.
It'd be silly for anyone to tell you there is one kind of young conservative out there. There are more than can be counted: from traditionalists, libertarians, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, and even Objectivists just to name a handful. What's always amazed me is the broad intellectual diversity of the conservative movement.
That said, there are definite trends in the growth of the movement that we've received a first-hand look at out in the field. The next generation is making their preferences known in the 2012 Presidential caucuses and primaries.
If voters 18-30 decided who would represent the GOP in 2012, Texas Congressman Ron Paul would win convincingly, winning nearly 50% of that voting group in Iowa and New Hampshire and a smaller but substantial first place share in South Carolina. But this isn't just a sign that young people like Paul as a better personality than the other candidates. His agenda and issue positions are in stark contrast to the others and are the main driver of his efforts.
Some older voters and activists might write this off as youthful idealism at work, since Paul's uncompromising views on social and foreign policy often run sharply counter to the existing Republican mainstream. But, in fact, Paul's statistical victories represent a change in attitude that could already be noticed on college campuses for the last several years. And if history is any guide, it is worth remembering that naysayers have been wrong before, when past conservative champions like Goldwater and Reagan also gave rise to unlikely, but lasting youth movements.