Illustration by Easton Self
The utter dysfunction of the 2016 Election and the dichotomy splitting the Republican party has made its way into on-campus politics.
Members of the NYU College Republicans are split with their club’s latest decision. The club announced on Thursday, Sept. 8, that it would not endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.
The decision generated controversy over whether the club should have endorsed him, so NYU College Republicans issued a statement on its Facebook page about this decision.
“NYU College Republicans as an organization has never officially endorsed any candidate on the local, state or national level,” the statement said. “Despite what some might suspect, this has nothing to do with Donald J. Trump in particular. In fact, many of our members are actively working for the campaign, often times through opportunities sponsored from the club.”
The statement also said that the values of the club remain the same and that it is still a place where students can share their ideals, discuss their viewpoints and find new opportunities.
But NYU is not isolated in its split Republican electorate. Other collegiate Republican organizations that traditionally endorse the nominee also did not support Trump. The trend began after the Harvard Republican Club, the oldest College Republican chapter, drew national attention by calling Trump a “threat to the survival of the Republic.” Since then, other prominent chapters have either refused to endorse Trump or endorsed a third party candidate.
CAS senior Noah Kreski, who is not part of NYU College Republicans said that not endorsing the nominee is a bold gesture and is encouraging that collegiate students stand for certain ideals and values that run contrary to the rhetoric and vitriol of Trump.
“I will say that it seems as those older generations of Republicans seem deeply frustrated with college-aged people,” Kreski said. “I think that limits the effectiveness of their statement in changing or influencing any minds.”
He said that as a Democrat, he looks forward to hearing the Republicans articulate their ideals and hopes to understand the origin of their differing viewpoints.
This polarization frustrated many students. First-year graduate student Daniel Kurzyna thinks the club should endorse Trump, since he believes the Republican nominee has valid strengths that are often overshadowed by the negative stigmatism of his name.
“Trump has been misconstrued by the media in terms of his ‘support’ of Putin,” Kurzyna said. “What I believe Trump wants is detente, which is what has been forgotten about since Bill Clinton took over. At the end of the day, I believe a Republican club should endorse a Republican. If NYU were to follow in the footsteps of a Cornell club, then it would be a huge disappointment for me.”
Kurzyna then compared NYU College Republicans to NYU College Democrats and said that although the Democratic nominee is far from perfect, the club still endorsed its candidate.
Yet some students, such as CAS senior Alexandra Sherer, said that the NYU College Republicans’ endorsement of Trump would have been pointless, because the club is not politically active enough.
“The NYU College Republicans could endorse Hillary Clinton and no one in the political world would care,” Sherer said. “The fact that they pretend to represent the Republican members of the student body at NYU is ridiculous. So, the conclusion I come to is that I don’t give a damn who they endorse. No one does.”
She is a member of the NYU College Republicans Facebook page but does not engage with the club, since Sherer does not think the club has enough action. To remedy this, she campaigns for Republican government officials outside of the club.
But Kurzyna still thinks the club is a powerful force and said that endorsement or not, these types of decisions frame the political climate and message conveyed in the upcoming years.
“If NYU College Republicans feels that endorsing such a high profile figure could isolate certain members of the club, then I suppose it’s fine not to endorse him,” Kurzyna said. “However, this election cycle presents our country with an extremely important choice in picking the right person. It’s up to clubs like the NYU Democrats and Republicans to be advocates for the next generation of politicians.”
Additional reporting by Andrew Heying. Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]