The recent controversy surrounding the “Trump tape” resulted in College Republica chapters across the nation to rescind their support of Donald Trump. However, the College Republicans at the University of Washington continue its Trump endorsement. This decision was solidified by its Oct 18. event in Red Square which featured a member dressed as Trump standing next to a cutout of Hillary Clinton in a jail cell.
According to the group, their continued support of the Republican Nominee is the de facto result of the lack of a conservative voice on campus. For the College Republicans to repeal their endorsement would be to silence UW Trump supporters.
“I felt like if we turned our back on Trump, we probably would have been regarded as heroes and as brave by a lot of people, but the fact of the matter is that we still would have shut out about 10 to 20 members that support Trump,” UW College Republican President Jessie Gamble said. “That is not fair to them.”
While Gamble herself is someone with more libertarian inclinations than a lot of Trump supporters, she shared that certain UW Republicans are of a similar mind as Trump on many political issues.
One such issue is immigration, which sparked controversy last May when the College Republicans erected a plywood “Trump wall” in red square. In a post that was later taken down, President Ana Mari Cauce called the wall “offensive.”
Gamble feels that the response the demonstration received from Cauce was very disheartening as a student who is interested in engaging in polite political discourse.
“Some kinds of activism are allowed and others are not,” Gamble said. “She did not walk up to us and have a discussion, she only saw what she thinks she saw.”
Gamble also gestured at less concrete ways in which Trump supporters are silenced. For instance, they are often written off as angry individuals who are simply poking a stick in the political wheel’s spokes for the sake of seeing a crash.
“We got into this school for a reason,” Gamble said. “We may not agree with the majority opinion but that does not make us idiots, that does not make us hateful. I promise I have never met a hateful person in College Republicans.”
Gamble sees Trump as the right’s equivalent of Bernie Sanders with respect to the political engagement that both figures incite in a younger generation. Yet Trump’s ability to generate excitement extends beyond millennials. He has energized older demographics as well.
While volunteering to help citizens register to vote at Trump’s recent rally in Everett, Gamble saw something entirely unexpected.
“Two guys about my age walked up with their grandma,” Gamble said. “We were all ready to sign them up but they said ‘we are already registered to vote, we want our Grandma to register.’”
The UW College Republicans meet every Wednesday in Savery Hall. They discuss the election and find ways to get conservatives engaged in local politics.
Reach reporter Dalton Day at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @daltonjday