Voters wait in line at a polling place at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas, on election night Nov. 8, 2022. Credit: Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman via AP

On election night, I gathered with fellow members of the UMaine College Republicans to watch the results color the map red. But despite voters trusting our party on many important issues, including the economy and crime, Republican candidates lost in the races that mattered most. How did this happen?

One critical factor is that young voters broke overwhelmingly for Democrats, with exit polls confirming an almost two to one advantage for Democrats. These numbers should be a wake-up call for the Republican Party. As this young generation rises, the GOP could face an enduring electoral disadvantage.

One important way Republicans can turn the tide is by playing offense on the issue of climate change and clean energy. By promoting conservative climate solutions, we can put Democrats on the defensive using an issue young voters always prioritize. Polling makes clear that climate is one of the foremost concerns of the rising generation, including reliable Republican voters. In fact, 71 percent of Republican voters ages 18 to 34 believe it’s important for their members of Congress to work to address climate change.

Ultimately, conservatives have needed, and even superior, solutions. Despite what the left claims, it will be capitalism that delivers results — not heavy-handed regulation.

Most importantly, a price on carbon would leverage market forces to spur innovation and the adoption of clean energy. Paired with a border adjustment, this approach would also  hold foreign polluters like China accountable and put American manufacturers first. This is the type of conservative climate solution that is a right fit for our party’s agenda.

In light of the 2022 midterms, we know the importance of young voters. A smart bet would be for the Republican Party to play offense on climate change and promote solutions of our own.

Chase Empsall

Secretary, UMaine College Republicans

President, UMaine Young Americans for Liberty

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