Gingrich urges Republicans to focus more on the youth vote in Dole lecture

Republicans’ inability to communicate with young people is one reason they lost last week’s election, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told his audience of more than 400 at the Dole Institute of Politics Wednesday evening. In an interview with institute director Bill Lacy, Gingrich, a former presidential hopeful, discussed the election, the future of the Republican party and his new novel, “Victory at Yorktown.”

“People under 30 get more news from Colbert and from the The Daily Show than they do from any cable network,” Gingrich said. “To not compete in that market is to put yourself at a stunning disadvantage.” Appearing on the Colbert Report the night before, Gingrich noted how Republicans candidates, including Mitt Romney, have largely been absent from venues geared toward younger audiences.

Gingrich also said a left-leaning higher education environment swayed the youth vote toward the left. But if economic conditions do not improve, Gingrich predicts younger people may be more persuaded to conservative ideas.

Gingrich spoke on his book about the Revolutionary War alongside his collaborator, author William Forstchen, and laid out the dramatized end to the war while drawing allusions to the current political environment and American Exceptionalism.

Kristin Nance, a senior from Topeka and study group coordinator for the institute, said despite Gingrich’s conservative politics, his historical knowledge gives him bipartisan appeal.

“Gingrich is a fantastic analyst, and he is typically the smartest man in the room,” Nance said. “He can be a polarizing figure, but he brings a lot of insight to the table.”

James Leiker, a junior from Haven, supported Gingrich during the Republican primaries. Hoping to leave with an autographed copy of Gingrich’s book, Leiker enjoyed hearing Gingrich’s political opinions.

“Until the minority and youth vote increase its support for Republicans, it’s going to be impossible for them to get a president elected,” Leiker said.

And while Christina Ostmeyer, a freshman from Colby, considers herself politically liberal, yet agreed with Gingrich’s stance opposing super-PACs and excessive campaign spending.

“I was a little wary of what he would have to say, but I was pleasantly surprised that I agreed with most of what he had to say,” Ostmeyer said. Though she noticed most topics remained neutral, keeping Gingrich from having to take a political stance. Instead he relied on his dry humor to provide analysis.

“He didn’t let policy issues get in the way,” Ostmeyer said.

Marshall Schmidt is a graduate student majoring in biomedical engineering from Mount Hope. Read more from .

  • Updated Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm
  • Edited by Laken Rapier