SAN ANTONIO -- As Texas Republicans continue to seek party unity to defeat Democrats in November, one part of the party that can’t be ignored is millennials.
That’s people born between 1981 and 1996.
According to PEW research, they could soon become the largest voting bloc in the nation. Nationally, millennials have tended to vote for Democrats. During the Millennial discussion at the Texas GOP Convention, there wasn't an empty seat in the room.
Millennial Republicans aren’t in denial when it comes to needing to break the mold from previous generations.
“We’re going to be around for a while. At the same time, we’re voting in larger numbers. The Democrats are doing really well with millennials. Trump by no means got anywhere close," said Brian Bodine, chairman of the Texas Young Republicans.
For many, being a young Republican hasn’t been easy.
“Where I’m from in South Texas, we have not elected a Republican since the reconstruction period. So it’s not easy. I get called names like ‘I’m not really a woman. I turned my back on my own race. I let men decide what to do with my own body.' I get shunned by a lot of friends I grew up with," said Adrienne Pena-Garza, vice chair of the Texas Young Republicans.
Millennials like Chris Ford say the younger generation of Republicans is different when it comes to looking at social issues.
“I think you see the millennials tending to be a lot more inclusive in the party. I think that’s how we should be. We’re the party of liberty. You can have the liberty to do what you want in your private life," Ford said.
“There are other conservatives here that have different viewpoints on the social issues, but they agree maybe on security, or they agree on lower taxes," Pena-Garza said.
By recognizing the reality that social issues will make an impact on younger voters, millennial Republicans are looking toward the ties that unite, rather than divide.
“We’ve got to take advantage of the technological trends. We’ve got to stay ahead of the curve. If the Republican Party is going to grow and they’re going to win elections, they absolutely have to win the hearts and minds of this generation," Bodine said.