The future of conservatism is endangered. Not from the left, but from capitulators within the right. Nowhere is this more evident than in the College Republican National Committee, a Never-Trumper organization grifting off of the Trump movement.
College Republicans are pleading for their national leaders to say something nice about Trump in the summer of 2020.
The College Republican National Committee (CRNC) bills itself as “America’s voice for young conservatives,” but over and over again, the well-funded organization and its leadership either remain silent or silence their own side rather than pushing back against progressivism. This is consistent with the initial Never-Trumper position they took back in 2016, when the CRNC, for the first time in its 125-year history refused to endorse the Republican presidential nominee.
Only on the very shallow surface does it appear that the CRNC has moved on from 2016. It surely hasn’t apologized. But the organization’s blog, last updated over two years ago, leads with tepid praise of President Donald Trump to maintain a friendly image.
Unfortunately, too many conservative donors have been unwilling to hold the CRNC accountable for their disloyalty to the President, though this seems to be changing as the 2020 election heats up. Certainly, CRNC is aware that their public image is increasingly coming under scrutiny in the right wing. Earlier this month, a letter from the Georgia Association of College Republicans chairman, Peter Minetos, to the CRNC chairman Chandler Thornton acknowledged as much. “We understand that individuals may have their own opinions, but as representatives and ambassadors of our organization to the public at large, it is imperative that we support Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence,” Minetos wrote.PeterMinnetos
Yes, that’s right. College Republicans are pleading for their national leaders to say something nice about Trump in the summer of 2020.
What keeps Thornton so busy that such a request even has to be made? According to an op-ed he penned, it’s “Constant vigilance” against racism in the Republican Party. He’s written a handful of humdrum opinion articles since then, but none more unremarkable than that one. Wherever there are “remarks widely perceived as racist,” Thornton promises to root out such “toxic” speech.
It’s unclear why Thornton is so focused on the issue of racism over the more pressing issue of the imminent presidential election, but it’s clear Thornton just doesn’t like his current president that much.
No one is calling for the conservative movement to become a monolith. It’s supposed to be a coalition united in principles, but elitist factions frequently perceive steadfast Trump supporters as inimical. It is perhaps for that reason that Minetos added the following line in his letter:
“We believe and understand that intellectual diversity within our organization should be cherished as always.”
WHEN INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY TRADES OFF WITH POLITICAL INTEGRITY
“We believe and understand that intellectual diversity within our organization should be cherished as always,” Minetos added in his letter. The fact is, however, the CRNC has not “always cherished” “intellectual diversity” within its ranks. Just last month, CRNC executive director Benjamin Rajadurai dismissed CR chapters that signed onto a letter to Trump demanding a moratorium on guest worker visas. Rajadurai called them “fringe” and minimized their presence by falsely claiming they were only seven CR chapters, when there were actually 19—about two-thirds of all the Republican youth groups attached to the letter.
Well, that fringe is effective and now winning conservative victories. Just this week, Trump signed an historic proclamation that suspends H-1B visas, a policy lifted straight from the letter’s demands.
Meanwhile, what is Rajadurai doing besides tweeting dozens of banalities daily? For that matter, what is CRNC’s Twitter account up to? Mostly happy birthday messages. It’s a wonder how donors are convinced to give millions of dollars to support this activity, or lack thereof.
— College Republicans (@CRNC) June 12, 2020
One person who probably knows a thing or two about swindling conservative benefactors is the CRNC treasurer Ty Seymour. Going further than most Never Trumpers, Seymour is a supporter of the Lincoln Project, a political action committee endorsing Joe Biden for president and campaigning against Republicans this year.
“Next time I ever see a fellow Republican talk about China again [sic] I am calling you out.”
Seymour’s natural talent must be in finance, because he’s not an effective communicator, despite incessantly tweeting much like Rajadurai. He unironically calls himself a “real hawk” on China, and unapologetically attacked President Trump as “Unfit. Undeserving. Unamerican,” earlier this month. “Silence is being complicit,” Seymour tweeted recently about Republicans regarding China. What he apparently meant was an echo of the leftist chant “silence is violence,” but in this example, he was condemning Republicans who didn’t come out strongly enough in favor of John Bolton—the disgraced ex-national security adviser to President Trump who is now defaming his former employer.
In another recent attack, Rajadurai warned, “Next time I ever see a fellow Republican talk about China again [sic] I am calling you out.”
This internet tough guy will call you out too. Seymour never hesitates to slam his fellow Republicans as racists, all while unironically defending Biden from that very label after the former vice president told black Americans they “ain’t black” if they don’t vote for him.
Taking a break from hating Republicans, Seymour also liked a tweet bashing Catholicism as an “oppressive religious institution.” He retracted his ‘like’ after being exposed by the National File—perhaps out of fear. (Intellectual diversity, indeed). Catholics may split along partisan lines, but when it comes to youth organizing, Catholic schools and churches are leaders in turning out teens and college students to the March for Life. But Seymour doesn’t care for pro-lifers much, unless they agree with his stance on gay adoption.
The thing is, too much is on the line this year for the conservative movement to lose more millions of dollars to do-nothing, no, harmful organizations like the CRNC. To be clear, there are College Republicans doing great work at the local chapter level, but they are unfortunately being represented at the top by grifters.
Trump won in 2016, and while that shocked the Never Trumpers, it didn’t change them. They lie in wait hoping for him to lose in 2020, but in the meantime seek prestige and prominence in Trump circles.
Trump-style politics is still a new thing, and it would be wrong to demand all Republicans pass a purity test on America First populism to be a part of the conservative movement. Still, the leeches must be identified, and the Make America Great Again message protected.
Otherwise, the future of conservatism will be lost to progressivism, and only one side will be to blame.