The future of the Republican Party is "screwed," as one delegate put it after being informed by GOP pollster Frank Luntz that conservatives have "lost" an entire generation of voters.
The comments were overheard by a reporter for the The Hill during a breakfast event Tuesday for the South Carolina delegation to the Republican National Convention (RNC), which is being held this week in Cleveland, Ohio.
"We have lost. It's not like we are losing, we have lost that generation. And I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican, independent, none of the above. The fact that 58 percent [of millennials] say socialism is the better form of economics, that is the damage of academia," Luntz reportedly said.
Rather than contemplate how a party that has systematically dismantled the rights of women and minorities, and refuses to acknowledge the reality of climate change, is waning in popularity, the prominent conservative pollster blamed the loss on brainwashing by liberal educators.
"The No. 1 priority to me is what happens at universities. And yes, Capitol Hill matters, yes politics matter, but a whole generation is being taught by professors who voted for Bernie Sanders," he continued. "That's a problem that begs for a solution."
Luntz is correct in one regard. Youth voters overwhelmingly flocked to Sanders during his bid for the Democratic nomination, throwing their support behind his platform of free college education, expanded social security, healthcare for all, and a swift transition to renewable energy, among other measures. Even after endorsing frontrunner Hillary Clinton, polls continued to show his support runs deep among millennial voters.
During his talk, Luntz reportedly jabbed Sanders' campaign promises, joking to the delegates: "My goal was to be the secretary of agriculture in the Sanders administration because I wanted to be the one to plant those magic trees that free stuff grows from."
In a May op-ed entitled "Why Millennials Love Bernie Sanders," The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur helped break down young people's fascination with the senator from Vermont. "Millennials are also a massively progressive generation," he wrote. "Sanders is as progressive as they are, but not because he crafted a slick political message to appeal to the younger generation. It's because he is a true progressive who believed in these principles even when they were horribly out of fashion. He fought for them not out of expediency but out of conviction. That’s the thing about authenticity—you can't fake it."
"Are we seriously asking why young people don't like the contrived politicians who are awash in donor money, privilege, and connections?" Uygur continued. "The problem in our politics today isn’t the younger generation. The problem is what the older generations have grown accustomed to and now meekly accept as fact."
Indeed, as one delegate reportedly "muttered under his breath" as Luntz spoke on Tuesday: "We're screwed."