Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn wants to forge a ‘new Republican Party’ that inspires young voters

At age 25, Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) will be the youngest person in Congress, making a name for himself before he was even elected back in November, having trounced a candidate backed by President Donald Trump in a conservative North Carolina district. Now, he wants a “new Republican Party,” Fox News reports.

Never having the backing of the establishment, he was able to win nonetheless, thanks in part to his different messaging and his yearning for a change to the status quo.

“My election was really a referendum on the establishment,” Cawthorn told Fox News in a recent interview. “They’re really sending me up here to fight against that.”

This lack of backing from the establishment has given the incoming congressman a sense of freedom, being beholden to only his constituents.

“I don’t owe anybody except the constituents of my district my victory,” Cawthorn said. “And so because of that, I’ll serve them no matter what. And I think that’s how it should be.”

Cawthorn feels that the Republican Party has trouble with young people and that the party needs to change course to change the view many young voters have that the party is “angry and just says ‘no.'”

“There is a generational time bomb going off in the Republican Party and that’s because they have failed to connect with this new generation,” Cawthorn said. “They’ve failed to iterate the fact that we are the party of freedom.”

The nascent politician wants to “brand a new Republican Party” that is bold and inspirational. The GOP can no longer be the party of “no” and skirting around important but controversial issues like health care and the environment, he says. Rather, Republicans should be “thought leaders” on solutions.

Republicans also have been too preoccupied with social issues and should become libertarian on personal affairs, Cawthorn says. The exception, however, should be abortion, which requires “very loud” opposition, he adds.

“I really want the Republican Party to be bolder,” Cawthorn said. “I want us to be a big tent party that says I don’t care if you’re gay. I don’t care what your religion is. As long as you believe in freedom and believe in our founding principles, you’re welcome in our party.”

“I really want our party defined as the Freedom Party,” he added.

Cawthorn will replace the 31-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as the youngest member of the House of Representatives. Similar to her, he’s challenged the status quo of his own party and wants to see changes made.

Despite saying the two couldn’t be further apart on political issues, Cawthorn respects what Ocasio-Cortez accomplished.

“I have not met her yet,” he told Fox News, “but if I ever do, I’d definitely shake her hand and say, ‘Thank you for setting the example that you can be in your 20s and still make a difference in your country.'”

In particular, Cawthorn has his sights on the political party structure, specifically the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), which assists incumbent Republican representatives in winning reelection. Cawthorn says the existence of the NRCC is one reason why “great patriots” can transform into “establishment pawns.”

“I think a lot of people are lazy, and they’re not good at fundraising, and they have to rely on these big-dollar donors to give to the NRCC and then the NRCC will come in and fund your reelection and win your race for you,” Cawthorn said. “Because of that, they’re at their beck and call.”

Cawthorn is a supporter of congressional term limits and dislikes the House committee assignment process that compensates Republican lawmakers who show loyalty to the party leadership. For this soon-to-be legislator, it’s going to take fresh faces arriving in the nation’s capital to say: “That’s wrong, we need to fix that.”

RELATED: GOP Senator and Dem fmr. Governor: It’s time for term limits in Congress

Want more details about this story? Read the full original Fox News report here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

Share: