More than a year after the election, President Donald Trump is still splitting Republicans on college campuses across the country.
Trump’s candidacy and presidency has resulted in an increased membership of some College Republican groups, a decreased membership in others, and the establishment of separate, pro-Trump groups on still more campuses, reported The Atlantic.
“We were the ones doing the campaigning. We were knocking on doors,” said Sean Semanko, a Penn State student and secretary of the school’s Bull-Moose Party, to The Atlantic. “The College Republicans didn’t help us at all.”
“They are basically the establishment at the college level,”said Semanko, referring to College Republican chapters. “They’re still talking about Ronald Reagan. We’re talking about the new movement, the MAGA movement.”
Pennsylvania State University’s College Republican chapter refused to endorse Donald Trump for the presidency in summer 2016, instead focusing on down-ballot candidates. Harvard University and Duke University followed suit. While College Republicans at the University of Virginia originally endorsed Trump, the group retracted the endorsement after the “Access Hollywood” tape leak in October. “We do not feel Donald Trump accurately represents the way we view and conduct ourselves,” the UVA College Republicans said in a statement.
Twenty-two percent of millennials approve of Trump, whereas 63 percent disapprove, according to an October-November 2017 poll conducted by NBC News/Gen Forward.
“There’s definitely some people [in College Republicans] who still are not huge Trump fans because of the nature of his rhetoric and his tweeting … but everyone accepts that he won,” said Reagan McCarthy, a member of Penn State College Republicans’ executive board to The Atlantic. “There’s no reason to be divided anymore.”
Penn State College Republicans approve of Trump’s efforts to cut taxes and repeal Obamacare.
“I always feel a little strange when a kid my age espouses 50-year-old ‘National Review’ talking points. ‘National Review’ has always thought they were the Republican Party, but they’re not,” said Elliot Jersild, a former Bull-Moose Party president. “It’s the working class.”
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