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Opening Arguments

Those darn kids

Bless their little hearts:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Amir Zendehnam passionately supports marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the Republican Party.

He is not alone. The 26-year-old aspiring restaurateur and chairman of the party's West Los Angeles central committee, is one of a raft of ethnically diverse young libertarians who hold seats in L.A. County’s huge GOP apparatus, injecting youthful energy into its operations at a time when the state’s Republican Party is nearly moribund.

After winning control the executive board of the Los Angeles County Republican Party in December 2012, the “Liberty Kids,” as they call themselves, are seeing the fruits of their activism. This year one of their own is running as the Republican nominee for Congress from the San Gabriel Valley, with Zendehnam serving as policy adviser.

The Liberty Kids are challenging the party's social conservatives and are drawing the attention of Democrats, who see liberal youth as part of their base. And in what could be a harbinger for the GOP, they have begun campaigning in other states, aiming to increase their influence beyond California.

I don't know what the national implications are, but if these Liberty Kids can re-energize the GOP in California, they can do it anywhere. Maybe Ted Cruz should be looking over his shoulders at Rand Paul about to catch up with him. The future of the Republicans might come not from the clash of conservatives and libertarisns but the one between Tea Party libertarians and Libery Kids libertarians over how social issues should be handled.

I'd probably disagree with the Kids on an issue here or there, but I do admire their commitment to smaller government and greater individual effort.

Despite personal politics that might seem more in tune with Democrats - world peace, ending the war on drugs and addressing global warming top the list of concerns for many - these millennials say they are more comfortable with Republicans' emphasis on freedom than Democrats' penchant for regulation.

"I used to be very liberal," said Carey Wedler, 25, at a recent meeting of the group. But she sees government as oppressive, authoritarian and warmongering, and says Republicans are the ones skeptical of government. "Everything the government does is backed up with a gun."

Amen, sister, amen.