GOP Hires First National Youth Director in Effort to Reach Out to Millennial Voters

Elliott EcholsThe Republican Party took its first step in a new effort to reach out to more young voters last Thursday by naming Elliott Echols (pictured right) as the party's first national youth director, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

"Today's announcement is groundbreaking," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (pictured below). "Bringing Elliot on board in an off-year will help us build relationships with young voters and mobilize students and young professionals to take our message to their peers."

Yet Echols' work will resonate beyond the 2014 elections, Priebus said, noting that "young Americans are independent-minded people who are concerned about getting our nation's economy back on track." Echols, 23 of Rome, Ga, told the Tribune-Review he has goals for his new role.

Priebus"The biggest is to bring young, energized people to the GOP," he said. "There are a lot of young people who are eager to make a change, but they can't change anything if they're not a part of the process."

The RNC's new efforts have also extended to attracting minority voters. In recent weeks, the RNC has hired new heads for black media communications and rolled out an aggressive Hispanic outreach program in Pennsylvania, California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia.

Presumably, these efforts are in response to the party's report released back in March that analyzed data from its 2012 presidential election loss. The report, entitled "Growth and Opportunity Project," proposed ways that conservatives could attract young, gay, women, and minority voters, all blocs that sat firmly on Obama's side during election night last year.

The Daily Kos, however, remains skeptical of these so-called "groundbreaking" developments on the GOP's part:

Basically, Echols's job will be to convince young voters that Republicans aren't anti-gay, anti-immigrant, or anti-21st century, and then, once he accomplishes that, his job will be to convince those same voters that it's just a coincidence that GOP policies are perfectly consistent with a party that is anti-gay, anti-immigrant, and anti-21st century. Then, and only then, will his achievement be groundbreaking, because he'll have achieved the impossible. 

(picture via Twitter)


  1. Critifur says

    “Groundbreaking”? Really?1? LOL for hiring someone. Maybe if the kid was a Black Hispanic Lesbian Republican. This is just another Young White Straight Male… And he will become and old white guy eventually.

  2. Geoff says

    Um…Michael Steel ring any bells – or Sarah Palin (shudders), or Ted Cruz? Every time the GOP attempts to appeal to minorities, the results are beyond fall-down laughable! Har! Pass the popcorn.

  3. jjose712 says

    Critifur: I don’t know if he is straight, but (if my memory doesn’t fail) he is not antigay, wich is groundbreaking for the GOP.

    It seems a big part of the new generation of republicans are a lot less racist and antigay than their older peers, the problem is the candidates are going to be from an older generation, so atract young voters it won’t be that easy.

    No matter how many efforts you put int atracting members of minorities if your national leaders sound racist and homophobes everytime they speak in public

  4. Billy says

    As long as the Tea Party is a major voice for Republican. Republicans will have a hard time attracting young/minority voters. We don’t cast our vote based on fear tactics, and out of anger. And that’s been the Tea Party’s method of operation.

  5. KC says

    Yes, the new generation of Republicans is different from the “older generation.” It’s called the Tea Party. But neither is any more progressive than what we’ve already seen for decades. Just degrees if intolerance and inflexibility.

  6. Dastius Krazitauc says

    “help us build relationships with young voters and mobilize students and young professionals to take our message to their peers.”

    They have a message?

  7. northalabama says

    it would be interesting for this new member to complete a few questionnaires, to see how his views fit within the current environment of republican members of congress. only then would we know if he’s a model for show, or a true believer.

  8. GG says

    If you click on this guys facebook, there are pics of him hanging with anti-gay Newt, at South Carolina faith coalition events which I somehow expect are also anti-gay, and he has a pic making of liberal youth voters that he has captioned “Bahahahahahaha!”

    The dude is making fun of young voters, and he’s their pick to appeal to young voters?

  9. Mike says

    Did anyone else’s gaydar go off? He almost set off the smoke detectors here! If he was anymore flaming he would have. He’s gay! A young, closeted, self loathing, sort of gay MAYBE but gay nonetheless. On what GOP casting couch did they find him? Where they found Gary Bauer . . .

  10. Factoids says

    The problem the GOP faces isn’t just demographics, its the same as the Democratic Party faces (and in fact, the readership of this site):

    “According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of [people] age 18 to 29 view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably. What’s more, they like the sound of “socialism” slightly better than capitalism—46 percent have positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent have negative views. This is dramatically different from the country’s population overall: 60 percent say they have a negative view of socialism, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view. Young people are the only age group whose support for socialism outweighs that of capitalism.”

    The ideological differences by demographics isn’t just with the younger voters. Its one of other demographics too:

    “we illustrate in Figure 1, the plurality of respondents preferred a taxes only solution (46%), with another 37% favoring a combination of taxes and spending cuts. The GOP solution—of spending cuts alone—attracts only 8% of all Latino registered voters. Put another way, 83% of Latino registered voters favored at least some tax increases to close the deficit. Moreover, the pattern was consistent across many sub-populations. Even among Republicans (who represent only about 20% of all registered voters), only 30% favor the cuts-only approach while 57% favor at least some taxation as part of the solution.

    Since those polls, the numbers have only gotten more leftist.

    Indeed, amongst gays, this is also true as well.

    They are essentially doing what the Democrats have tried to do- cover up policy with demographics.

    It worked for the Democrats with Obama, but the GOP brand is such that its unlikely to work because the Democrats are barely on the ideological scale, and the GOP is clearly off the scale for many of the emerging demographics.

  11. Larry says

    Hey GOP I’m a young gay black man, so you wanna appeal to me… Alright how about first making me equal to my mom and dad. Oh yeah that’s right the GOP has already stated they’re not changing policies only the tone which means they’re going to be nice to me while continuing to discriminate against me. Still waiting on the nice part

  12. ratbastard says


    I’ve met some real ahole black and “Hispanic”, male and female, of numerous sexual orientations including gay and lesbian, met many ahole females, including lesbians, and needless to say, the same goes for Asian males and females,gay, straight and whatever else. I’ve also met and plenty of ahole and semi-ahole gay white males. Finally,.I know many decent, honorable “straight” white males, of every age.

    This liason is of course a political and party hack, same as the youth,elderly, and gay and straight Democratic party advocates.

  13. walter says

    sorry as long as they maintain the policies the party pursues it really doesn’t matter who the hell they hire. their policies of exclusion tend to turn off people . they are the party of ” anti ” gay .black. hispanic, women, immigrants .

  14. ratbastard says



    Young people are,well,young…and inexperienced. As.people age out of their teens and 20s (we are afflicted in this country with deliberate, officially sanctioned delayed adolescence, not to mention the widespread Peter Pan Syndrome affliction), they become less liberal/progressive on economic and other issues. This usually starts when they really must live on their own, pay bills, start a life for themselves and maybe their family. This is where the obscene level of taxation, fees,etc. kick in. Now desperate people and people incapable of or not wanting to take responsibility for themselves (minus of course genuinely disabled people, poor elderly,etc.) of course love socialism.

    Funny the U.S. is turning towards socialism when the Euros, Brits and others have been dismantling theirs since at least the 90s. Because they know it doesn’t work.

  15. Factoids says

    I know this is a gay site, but as I tried to explain above- it wouldn’t matter even if they did change on social issues. In fact, they would decrease their numbers even further since they would loose not only on the economic issues, but also on the social issues, where they can still count on the bigot vote.

    So, while it would be great if the GOP was more tolerant, its not in their interest to be more tolerant. You aren’t their base. They still need that base.

    And on policies that matter to most people- like economic issues- they don’t represent the newer demographics.

    They are in between a rock and hard place. They are the Democratic Party in the 1970s when the Democrats started to realize they were losing their grip on power and the public narrative.

    There is little they can do about it.

    Its not going to make things better for us because the moderates will continue to move to the Democratic Party, which means social changes will continue to be slow to happen and will require activism like for say ENDA, because the Democrats are now the conservative party.

    All this means is that the current GOP is unsustainable because they no longer represent either the economic or social trends of the country.

    Its only inertia that’s keeping the GOP going. New hires don’t matter. Not because gays will or won’t support the GOP. But because the problem isn’t about token hires, or gays. Its about deeper policies than that.

  16. Merv says

    So, the GOP has hired a youth outreach director, a black outreach director, and a Hispanic outreach director. I guess it’s just an oversight that they have no gay outreach director.

  17. Factoids says


    It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day what you believe or I believe.

    it matters what the voters that the GOP want to reach out to believe

    That’s what politics is about.

    As for the rest of the world, and facts, yeah, if you really believe the Europeans are going to move away from socialism, you don’t understand the economic data.

    Here they are right here:

    Within the next 20 years, 50 percent of jobs are expected to be lost to automation.

    Within the next 50, 90 percent are expected to be lose to automation.

    We are in the middle of a technological and societal revolution on the scale of the industrial age that wiped out huge number of jobs and allowed for the ideological beliefs that you have to hold sway.

    What the young across the planet are facing is actually greater than even the Conservatives and Neoliberal arguments.

    They are facing a shift of whether labor even has value anymore. For example, this is true of even White collar or technical jobs- eg a surgery that used to take 10 will within the next decade take only 2

    That’s the reality.

    What Europe may or may not be doing now in order for the current elite to extract money tells us nothing of the future for the youth who are growing up in the system

    Automation is just one example of a coming crisis point that your ideology has not answer for and its why the youth vote is curious about alternative systems. Globalization, as not just blue collar jobs, but also white collar jobs are now moving abroad, and separately, productivity gains, means you need a smaller and smaller work force to do the same work (we don’t need more work) are also factors. then there’s the issue of billions of people looking for a finite number of jobs with as I remember a difference of billions in terms of needed jobs.

    Until the last decade, because the West and the US in particular was shielding Americans from this, we didn’t realize some of these things, but the 2008 crisis has pushed forward these crisis in the need for labor.

    I am not even sure socialism will work because its also based on labor

    The point is that the GOP doesn’t have any tools in its tool belt that really can respond to these emerging issues.

    If I am a young person looking around, I am going to try to look for some solution other than its my fault that the economy no longer needs as many workers to be productive. OTH, the GOP takes your position, which is why you are becoming out of touch.

  18. DannyEastVillage says

    so he’s young. yeh, I’ll give him that. Anybody in either party think he’ll be able to shut down the agenda of McConnell, Boehner, Inhofe,and Cantor; or shut down the self-importance of Cruz, Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Rick Scott, Scott Walker – or even Rick Santorum, who, like a zombie, has made yet another re-appearance to feed on the brains of the living?

    Yeh I don’t think so either. Is the GOP leadership so stoopid, as to think that one pretty face will convince tech-savvy kids that this represents a change in the GOP brand? That suddenly the pigs are going to stop wrecking the planet and the economy?

  19. Joseph says

    ELLIOTT ECHOLS, GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Why ruin it-this is the same old rotten GOP that won’t back ENDA, refuses to back S-S marriage, and has few if any OUT LGBTs in leadership positions in the party hierarchy. The party platform is a disgrace. If you’re as bright as you look, Elliott, you can do better for yourself.

  20. bt says

    It is telling that the Youth outreach guy they hire is from Georgia.

    The GOP has become a Southern white man’s Christian organization, with some gun owners from here and there thrown in for balance.

    If this guy was from California or Massachusetts then maybe they’re starting to get the idea. Or better yet, maybe he could also live in an apartment in a large City somewhere.

    But then again, you can’t underestimate the challenge of finding a young, open-minded Republican living in a major city in a blue state.

  21. Sam says

    If the GOP actually had kept its Goldwater/libertarian stances instead of corporatacracy, they’d have a slight chance on economic policy.

    A youthful social conservative, is a person with no soul.

  22. Bart says

    Why yes, hiring Thurston Howell the IV will certainly help bring in…who? Other kids with rich parents who would be disowned if they didn’t vote Republican? Kids who feel they are better than “those other people.”

    Glad Eliot chose a blue button down Polo shirt for his photo. How very 1980s of him. (No wonder the young people by and large hate the Republicans…they even dress like douchebags.)

  23. says

    So in other words he’s a smarmy little POS who’s making excuses for the most regressive political regime since Reconstruction?

    I mean you don’t actually GET to be the “new face” of an old entity, GOP or KKK, without admitting that that past not just exists but is entirely present and still in full operation.

  24. Boone68 says

    the Daily Kos nailed it. Echols job is to convince more Americans to vote against their own self interest. He’ll have a hard time getting past the cultural wall between the GOP and young people. Try to tell a young person that they or their friend or sibling can’t get married and they won’t take a second look. The GOP also hopes to use the whole “Obamacare” is screwing young people schtick. Except A LOT of young people will be counting on the security of staying on their parents policies through age 26.

  25. says

    “GOP Hires First Nationalist Hitler Youth Director” – more like it.

    Remember Fred Karger’s hilariously inept “you can be gay and a republican!” ad that was pretty much a visual celebration of Aryan Nation/Aberzombie chic? Who’s this gonna appeal to? *barf*

    It’s funny, this. It’s sorta like those “…and I’m a Mormon!” ads that came out post Prop 8, in order to do image damage control. And like those asinine ads, they’re not actually addressing the problems, they’re pretending they don’t exist.

  26. L.Sanfod says

    Now his first job is to convince these youngsters and college kids that using contraceptives is a bad thing, that their gay friends are evil, women have no say about their own bodies and that immigrants are the ruination of the country. Lotsaluck!

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