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My phone screen lit up. 

It was a friend from a previous campaign in Pennsylvania. She sent a simple text that I should have paid closer attention to at the time: “Heads up - Vivek entering the race tomorrow. Keep an eye on him. Going places”.

Vivek? Who was Vivek?

I responded, “The Fox News guy?” That’s the only Vivek I knew! He had been on Fox seemingly every day for the past few months, promoting his new book, Woke Inc. I was just starting to recognize him. A presidential run? No. She must be talking about somebody else.

“Yes,” she replied, “that’s him!”.

I did a quick Google search. Vivek Ramaswamy, Biotech Engineer. A Big Pharma guy running for the White House as a Republican? “Well, this is going to be interesting!”, I texted her back.

The next night, Vivek would announce his candidacy for Leader of the Free World.

Fast forward to last week. Vivek dropped out after Iowa, endorsed Trump, and has been the face of Trump’s ground operation in New Hampshire ever since. Chants of “Vivek for VP” have broken out at more than one Trump rally in the last week. 

What happened? How did a no-name author become on the shortlist for Trump’s VP…in less than a year?

I’ve gotten to meet Vivek three separate times on the trail since his announcement. The first time, he was gracious enough to come on my podcast, “The Brilyn Hollyhand Show,” from the Iowa State Fair. It was my first time in Des Moines, and I was also going to be a first-time voter in 2024. That’s the first question I asked him.

“You’re the youngest in this race. You have no political experience. Why should my generation vote for you?”

He threw the question back in my face.

“You’re right; I am the youngest. I am an outsider. That’s why you should vote for me.”

He continued talking to me for 10 minutes and ignored his team twice who waved at him to move on to the next interview. That ended up being my most-watched interview ever. He told me afterward that what I was doing was important. Getting his message out to my generation was important to him. Little did I know how much that would be true!

The next time we ran into each other was a few weeks later in Milwaukee at the RNC’s afterparty following the first Republican Presidential Primary Debate. He was the only candidate who showed up. We made eye contact when he walked in the door, and he immediately remembered me. His face lit up. “You’re that guy! Great interview, man! Very important stuff!” I introduced him to my friends, who were also fellow Gen Zers. 

A few months later, he came to my hometown of Tuscaloosa for the fourth and final Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama. He had broken the internet that night by holding up a handwritten sign that read “Nikki = Corrupt” from the debate stage. He had hundreds of requests the next morning, but he took the time to come back on my show to talk about the night before and his future in this race. I even asked him if he would consider Megyn Kelly as his White House Press Secretary if he made it to the Oval Office. She was the debate moderator the night before and made waves for being willing to ask the tough questions. 

He laughed. “We’ll see," he said. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

Remember when I was concerned Vivek would be a Big Pharma enthusiast? Yeah, that was the furthest thing from the truth! I realized from my first sit-down with him that he actually wanted to bring change to the party. He truly wanted to abolish a handful of government agencies and had a plan to do so, when I pressed him on it. They weren’t just TV talking points. He was genuine. He was real.

That’s what won my generation over.

All we know is fake. Fake Instagram pictures. Fake people in our lives. Fake promises from our leaders. Vivek was different.

How did he go from a no-name to a potential VP in less than a year?

He was genuine. He listened. He told it like it is. He had real thought-out ideas about how to destroy the broken system and rebuild it. He used social media to harness his message and get it directly in front of my generation, and it worked!

While his opponents were on traditional cable getting their message out to our parents and grandparents, he was on TikTok getting his message out to us!

I’ve traveled with a bunch of candidates over the past few cycles. Vivek is the only one I’ve been asked about by my peers when I get back to school the next day. My generation fell in love with the guy. How? Why? Through social media.

He filmed viral videos with Jake Paul. He invited famous influencers to shadow him on the trail. He sat down with teenagers like myself and made us a priority.

Even though his candidacy wasn’t successful, we all know he’s not done, and his strategy shouldn’t be thrown out either!

If our party wants a shot at winning the White House in November, we must follow Vivek’s lead. We must communicate our agenda clearly and authentically. We must harness social media to reach my generation directly. We must partner with influencers who are already on the app with large followings. 

We must be genuine.

Vivek is out of the race, but his strategy should be adopted by our party if we want to win.


Brilyn Hollyhand is a 17-year-old political commentator, the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Truth Gazette, and the Co-Chair of the RNC’s Youth Advisory Council.

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22 years ago yesterday, terrorists struck our great nation, four times, resulting in the murder of almost 3,000 Americans. 3,000 Americans who never made it back home. 3,000 fewer Americans chasing the American Dream every day. They were gone, forever, and the America before 9/11 was gone forever too.

That fateful day reshaped the world. Everything changed and nothing will ever be the same again. I've heard people say countless times that they wish they could go back to a world like September 10, 2001. Americans' minds were innocent. They were naive. There was no fear. Americans were trusting of their neighbors. They weren't looking over their shoulder every time they walked down the street. There wasn't an endless war being fought overseas. Nobody thought about airport security. Nobody thought about security at all.

September 11th was one of the darkest days in our country's history, but one of the brightest days was just around the corner. September 12th, 2001 was one of the most patriotic days since we won World War 2. If there was a ranking of patriotism in America, it would be right up there with the day we declared our independence from our friends across the pond, the day Americans walked on the moon, and the day we defeated Hitler. Patriotism was at an all-time high.


Because we were all one people that day - Americans. Nobody cared about what neighborhood you came from, what color you were, what you did for a living, or which candidate you voted for for President. It didn't matter, we were all citizens of the greatest country on the face of the planet, and red, white, and blue were coursing through everybody's veins. Stores, all across the country sold out of American flags. Walmart stores sold 88,000 U.S. flags on September 12, 2001. The day before, they sold 6,400. Americans woke up and remembered why they loved this country, they saw that their freedom and way of life were under attack, and they wanted to defend it. They were genuinely proud of the country they called home.

What happened to that America?

In a recent poll, Axios reports that only 18% of those Americans ages 18-34 said they are "proud to be an American". For comparison, in 2013, 85% of Americans ages 18-29 said they were "extremely" or "very" proud to be an American. Over the past two decades, the number of Americans vocalizing their extreme pride skyrocketed after 9/11, but started to decline in 2005, and is still declining today. A recent Gallup poll reports that Americans 55 and older were three times more likely to be proud of their country than my generation. That's not okay.

Everybody in America right now is looking around wondering what is wrong, because something clearly isn't right. If we want any shot at setting our country back on track, we must revive patriotism and pride in our country. We must resurrect the America that stood together, united as one, the day after the worst attack on U.S. soil, and that starts with my generation creating a sense of pride and dignity in our nation!


Brilyn Hollyhand is a 17-year-old Conservative Commentator and the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Truth Gazette, a conservative news service fighting back against the Fake News Media!

Follow Brilyn on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok for more!

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It’s time to address the elephant in the room. The GOP has a problem. It’s not Mitch McConnell. It’s not Adam Kinzinger. It’s not Liz Cheney. It’s not even Mitt Romney. It’s the youth vote. Yes, while all of those people are an embarrassment to the party, the GOP’s problem at hand that nobody wants to address is our lack of winning the youth vote.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. “Why should we care about the youth vote?”. I’ll tell you why. The youth vote is the future of this country and if we want to ensure that the future is bright, we need to make sure that young people are a part of the party.

My generation is constantly looking for a cause. A cause to champion, a cause to rally around, a cause to put in their Instagram bios. If the GOP wants to have a conversation with Millennials and Generation Z, they have to understand this and be open to discussing hot topics pertinent to young voters. Yes, I’m talking about climate change, abortion, marriage, and other social issues. For too long, Republicans have walked the tightrope on topics significant to young people. It’s past time for the GOP to have a hard stance on relevant concerns to young voters. But don’t hear me say that we as Republicans need to compromise our conservative position on these issues. We do not need to be like the Democrats to win young voters. By saying that we need to have a dialogue with my generation if we ever want to win their vote does not mean we need to buckle our stance. We simply need to have a position laid out and stop playing this gray area game, letting the Left dominate all conversations on the issues because the Right is too afraid to discuss them.

So, what can the GOP do to win the youth vote? First, we have to be honest with ourselves. We need to acknowledge that the party has lost touch with my generation and that we must change that.

In the 2020 presidential election, for example, Joe Biden won the youth vote by a margin of nearly 20%. In the recent midterm elections, the majority of voters under the age of 41, classified as Millennials and Generation Z, voted for Democrats.

The 2022 midterms had the second-highest youth voter turnout in almost three decades, with 27% of registered youth voters (ages 18-29). 20% turnout for youth voters has become a pattern in midterm elections since the 1990s. That pattern was broken in 2018 when over 30% of registered young voters showed up at the ballot box.

According to an exit poll conducted by Edison Research, 63% of young voters (ages 18-29) voted for Democrats for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 and only 35% voted for Republicans. We saw almost identical margins in 2020 when 62% of young voters voted for Democrats and 32% voted for Republicans.

This isn’t anything crazy or unexpected. For decades, the Democrats have had a monopoly on the youth vote, but that monopoly has significantly expanded over the past few decades.

The problem for Republicans isn’t necessarily youth vote turnout, although that is always something that can be higher and we should continue to encourage, but it seems to be who young people are actually voting for when they get to the ballot box. If Republicans want to win future elections, we must find a way to connect with young voters and win their support.

I get it, it sounds cool to be a Democrat. They dangle emotions and free things in front of my generation and expect us to vote blue up and down the ticket, and for the most part, over the years, we have.

The GOP is known as the Grand Old Party. We’re widely categorized as the party of old white guys, but the party is changing.

In the House, every Republican seat flipped in 2020 was won by a woman or a minority, and the GOP continued that success when they took back the majority in the House in 2022. When the 118th Congress was sworn in, we saw an incredibly young and diverse Republican caucus.

Over in the Senate, Alabama Republicans elected Katie Britt to the U.S. Senate, making her the youngest elected female Republican Senator in U.S. history and the only mom in the Senate GOP with school-age children.

Over the past few years, we have seen a rise of conservatives standing up and speaking out, and in some cases even running for office, that are breaking the mold of the “stereotypical” Republican. Young people today are more diverse than ever before, and they want to see a party that reflects that diversity.

The Republican Party must demonstrate that they are in touch with the concerns and priorities of young voters, which means the GOP should focus on building a strong online presence and engaging with young voters through social media platforms.

Young people are increasingly turning to social media to get their news and information, and the party should be using these platforms to connect with them and build support. This means creating appealing content and using social media influencers to reach out to young voters. The GOP needs to be where my generation is, and they need to be speaking our language.

You would think this would be a top concern of the leadership at the RNC, but unfortunately, it’s not.

The DNC has a team of youth coordinators targeting my generation. In 2005, they assembled a “Youth Council” with members in every state and divided regions across the country with individual captains. In every election since 2005, according to Tisch College, Democrats have grown the gap between Republican youth voters by over 30%.

Sure, Conservatives have incredible organizations like Turning Point USA doing work across the country on college campuses to help educate and assemble young Republicans, but if it wasn’t for Charlie Kirk, none of this work would be done. The RNC shouldn’t be solely relying on Turning Point USA to organize youth voters - that’s their job!

It’s past time for the RNC to seek youth input. Think about it this way; when you have an older church that doesn’t necessarily put an emphasis on youth engagement and has a majority elderly congregation, the church eventually dies, because the congregation dies. The churches that flourish the most have a thriving youth group and involve church members of all ages, from newborns to senior citizens. That is what the RNC must do, or like elderly churches, it will die. The RNC must establish a youth advisory council to seek input from my generation and put together a platform for the future, not just for the next convention. If the RNC, and Republican Party as a whole, invests in my generation, it will pay off.

Winning the youth vote is essential for the GOP, and should be a main focus of the RNC, if it wants to be successful in future elections. I understand that Republicans are frustrated with recent election losses, but I firmly believe the youth vote is the area where the GOP is lacking, and focusing on it is the key to winning future elections.

I know I’m only 16 years old, but if the Republican Party continues to overlook my generation, it might not still be here when it’s time for my generation to take charge. It's not going to be easy breaking the Democrats’ monopoly, but winning the youth vote is necessary to ensure a bright future for the party.


Brilyn Hollyhand is a 16-year-old Conservative Commentator and the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Truth Gazette, a conservative news service fighting back against the Fake News Media!

Follow Brilyn on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, GETTR, and Truth Social for more!

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