Louisiana State University
Press Secretary, Office of Congressman Tom Price, M.D.
Ellen Carmichael is the press secretary for Congressman Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.). Previously, she served as the communications director and spokeswoman for Herman Cain’s presidential campaign. Carmichael has also worked as a senior communications strategist for several campaigns of current members of Congress, statewide elected officials, and political advocacy groups. At 24, Carmichael was honored by CNN with its “New Guard” distinction for rising stars in the political industry. She is also the founder and co-host of “Conflicts of Interest,” a quarterly off-the-record social gathering of some of Washington’s most influential reporters and political operatives.
(Ed: Since receiving this distinction, Carmichael began a new job at CRC Public Relations.)
Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or another capacity?
It’s critically important that center-right youth get engaged in politics, because if they don’t, their liberal counterparts still will. In too many aspects of young adult life — from academia to pop culture — conservative viewpoints are underrepresented or altogether unacknowledged.
Conservative youth can provide a positive contrast to the envy, outrage, and despair regularly peddled by the Democrats. Ours is an upbeat message of individual freedom, economic mobility, and strong communities. Young conservatives can deliver it with real energy and enthusiasm.
What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of-center message resonate with the Millennial generation?
In a world where millions of people watched Kourtney Kardashian birth her child on national television, conservative leaders have the unique challenge of making the political process — at times complicated and contentious — attractive to Millennials.
Greg Gutfeld has implored the center-right movement to, in the style of the late Andrew Breitbart, embrace culture and comedy. I consider myself a disciple of this “Gutfeldian” theory. Conservatives should appear on late night television, in viral videos online, and in Twitter timelines.
To be clear, I’m not advocating for a “Who Wore It Better?” competition between Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Instead, I hope conservatives can accept that we don’t have to abandon our principles to adapt to our audience. We can be funny, we can be approachable, and we can be conservative.
Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?
As a partisan operative, of course I hope we have a House, Senate, and White House all run by Republicans. I’d love to see real tax reform and some serious fiscal restraint. Only then will we experience the real economic growth necessary to restore prosperity in this country.
In the meantime, I hope the conservative movement broadens to include more people from all walks of life. The first step is “showing up,” and sending out press releases on Juneteenth or tweeting on Hanukkah isn’t enough. Earnest outreach begins with getting to know leaders in underserved communities and listening to their concerns. Everyone likes freedom. Lucky for us, conservatism is all about freedom, so we’re already ahead. If we’re interested in saving our country, we need to be as interested in talking to new people as we are with those who are already our friends.