“It was kind of like a graduation present for me,” said Draim, who had just completed middle school.
Draim’s political inspiration skips a generation, to his maternal grandparents, Ida and Anton Wurczinger. They came to the United States after World War II, having fled Soviet oppression in Hungary.
“I view it as my responsibility to give back to the country that has given them so much, and I want to make sure the American dream that helped my ancestors is there for future generations of immigrants and graduating students,” he said.
David Rexrode called it “absolutely great” to have young people such as Draim engaged in the campaign.
“What Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan are talking about is solving the problems, and stopping [the] spending [of] money of the next generation,” said Rexrode, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia. “So it’s good to have younger folks as delegates.”
The GOP’s message of smaller, more limited government resonates with Draim as a young man itching to take charge of his life.
“Young people should desire the same freedom and individuality from their government . . . they desire from their parents and other authority figures at this age,” he said.
A student of politics, Draim knows the convention will be more of a scripted Broadway production than democracy at work. He figures the last time there was consequential wrangling at a convention was in 1964, when his mother, a securities lawyer, was in grade school.
But even if the votes Draim casts as a delegate do not change the course of history, he thinks his presence could help reshape the GOP’s image — and help Romney try to wrest some of the youth vote away from President Obama.
“I thought it was necessary to have a younger, newer face represent the Republican Party,” he said. “We’ve been stereotyped in such a way that many young people would never consider voting for a Republican. I’m trying to go down to Tampa to tear down a lot of preconceived notions about who makes up the Republican Party.”