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College Republicans Club Are Splitting Up Over Trump

College Republicans, a rare group of millennials who don’t consider themselves liberal Bernie Bros, are finding themselves in the middle of a civil war. As The New York Times reported Friday, disagreements over the endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is not only dividing the Republican establishment—it’s tearing apart College Republican groups at universities across the nation.

“[College Republicans] tend to be center-right traditional Republican conservatives, and so you know there is a little bit of a mismatch there,” said Karl Rove of the George W. Bush campaigns to the Times.

Unlike many of his Republican predecessors, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Karl Rove and Calvin Coolidge, Donald Trump never joined the College Republicans while studying at the University of Pennsylvania. “I didn’t do that…I was very much into the world of real estate,” said Trump, according to the Times, when asked about the conservative group. This is the anti-establishment Donald Trump that young conservatives have come to either love or hate.

According to a recent McClatchy-Marist survey, Trump appeals to just 9 percent of voters under 30. This could explain the rift in his support from the youngest generation of Republican voters, who are perhaps even more divided than the establishment Republicans.

After the Yale University College Republicans endorsed Trump, students who disagreed soon departed the club, creating the Yale New Republicans and the Yale Undergraduate Conservatives Against Trump.

Texas A&M College Republicans chose not to endorse the GOP nominee, as did the chapters at Rice University and the University of Houston. This, however, ended similarly when disgruntled students started a “Students for Trump” club on campus.

“Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic,” the Harvard Republicans wrote announcing their decision not to endorse the real estate mogul. “He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House.” This was the first time since its 1988 founding that the group declined to endorse the chosen GOP nominee.

Cornell’s chapter of College Republicans took an even more radical step. They endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, saying that “this election’s unprecedented nature has made blind commitment to our party unpalatable.” The group then labeled Johnson, who garnered 23 percent of voters under 30 in the McClatchy-Marist survey, the “true conservative in this election.” As a result, the New York Federation of College Republicans revoked the Ivy League group’s credentials on Saturday.

In the center of the growing division of College Republicans, many groups are just trying not to offend anyone at all. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t come out against him, but not coming out so much gung-ho for him,” Nick Pasternak, the 20-year-old chairman of the University of South Carolina College Republicans chapter, told ABC News. “So many young conservatives and college students in general are not sold on him.”

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins