Five questions with Tara Anderson

Tara Anderson is president of the Young Leadership Council (YLC) at Center of the American Experiment and also the youngest member of CAE’s board. She is an attorney in private practice.

Has the YLC proceeded differently than you thought it would?

Anne Mason said to me that the Center was one of the best kept secrets in Minnesota, even though we don’t want to be a secret! We really wanted, first and foremost, to spread awareness of the great work the Center is doing and to get people involved, as well as to provide some good opportunities for younger conservatives to connect. I think these things remain true today. It’s been an amazing experience getting to work with our advisory group, who are all highly accomplished young conservative leaders from a wide range of backgrounds, and also to meet so many attendees who haven’t been active in party politics, but really care about policy and the future of Minnesota and the country, and so are very interested in the work of the Center.

What about growth?

I fully expect that the group will continue to grow over the next few years along with the Center. The one tough thing I’ve run into is that there are quite a few people who are nervous to let anyone find out that they are a conservative – they try and stay away from events, because they are afraid it could hurt their career. In some industries, people feel like they have to keep their conservative leanings a secret if they want to advance, because there’s not a lot of tolerance for differing political viewpoints.

You are by far the youngest member of CAE’s board of directors. Compare a board meeting to a YLC outing.

A lot of the content of conversations is similar, but YLC tends to be a little more lighthearted, with a little more beer! Actually, a number of YLC members have told me that one of their favorite parts of YLC is getting to meet CAE board members, and discuss politics. As long as everyone is interested in listening, and not just in talking, I think it’s not that hard to have good conversations.

How would you describe the “Millennial” view of politics these days?

I think you have a lot of people–but by no means everyone–who struggle to identify with a political party, because their views don’t quite line up with an exact “platform.” Ronald Reagan’s quote about agreeing 80 percent of the time rings true. but I think nowadays, for a political party to be successful with this group, they probably make the case that they are a welcoming place where people won’t turn on you if you don’t agree with every single line-item in the platform.

How did the strangeness of this election affect your attitudes about politics?

For me it really showed the need to be involved and not just assume that things will proceed as they always have. I also think we saw a great group of up-and-coming conservatives have success, which is promising for the future. I think a big takeaway for politicians was to make sure they stay connected to those they serve, since anger at those in office was such a driving force in the election. I think the most amusing part for me was hearing many of my liberal friends speak fondly of George W. Bush, and how they realized he wasn’t so bad after all.