You’re undoubtedly aware of the debate on foreign policy within various factions of the Republican Party, however, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) also highlighted social issues as an area where the old guard is butting heads with the young libertarian-leaning blood.


Report from New York Times:

While much attention has been devoted to the split between the establishment and the Tea Party, the growing divide along generational lines among Republicans could cause a significant a rift. Younger conservatives are more firmly staking out a libertarian orientation on social issues in a way that will shape the 2016 presidential primary as candidates seek to appeal to activists who are in the party because of social issues and to younger voters who see some aspects of cultural conservatism as intolerant.

That young people, regardless of party, prefer a live-and-let-live approach on social issues is nothing new. In 2012, President Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 23 points among 18- to 29-year-olds in part because of the president’s more liberal cultural views. But what is increasingly alarming to some cultural conservatives is that it is not just young Democrats who share those views — and that this youthful libertarianism is not fading when the Republicans of tomorrow graduate from college.

If the GOP abandons social conservatism, as has the Democratic party, then there is a large chunk of the conservative base that would end up without a party. Despite this wave of young libertarian blood, I believe GOP leaders are aware they must hold the Reagan coalition together if they want a chance at winning the White House in 2016.

On the topic of foreign poloicy, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have been playing tit-for-tat in the media since their respective appearances at CPAC. Report from Breitbart:

Sen. Rand Paul continued his aggressive brush back of comments from his usual ally Sen. Ted Cruz suggesting that Paul is positioned at the left, dovish flank of the GOP on foreign policy, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity Cruz was “mischaracterizing” his views.

“We always have been good friends. I’m not real excited about him mischaracterizing my views. I won’t let that pass. I think that sometimes want to stand up and say hey, look at me, I’m the next Ronald Reagan. Well, almost all of us in the party are big fans of Ronald Reagan,” Paul said.

The mini-feud started when Cruz, in a Thursday speech at the “Uninvited II” National Security forum, positioned himself between the hawkish John McCain at one end of the GOP and the dovish Paul at the other, with Cruz championing Reaganesque policies in the middle.

Defining and redefining Reagan has been a national pastime for Republican presidential candidates. It appears 2016 will be no different.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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