The Harvard Republican Club was founded in 1888, and is the oldest College Republican chapter in the country. Its website says the club exists to “promote Republican principles, policies and candidates” and members are “proud” of their “rich history of Republican advocacy.” At least, until Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
The Harvard Republican Club has issued a statement (read in full below) saying that for the first time in its history, it will not endorse their party’s presidential candidate. Why? Because the club is “ashamed” of Trump. He is, the statement says, a “threat to the survival” of the United States.
The Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper, reported that the club polled members this week to see who they were supporting for president. Ten percent said they would support Trump, while 80 percent said they would not. Another 10 percent were undecided.
The antagonism toward Trump among college Republicans is not universal, however. Late last month, the Texas Federation of College Republicans issued a statement congratulating Trump on his nomination. You can see that whole statement below.
An organization called Students for Trump says on its website that it has dozens of chapters at colleges and universities across the country. You can see the list here. The website includes a blog with a post titled, “Convincing a Disgruntled Voter to Ride the Trump Train.”
That said, Trump, according to polls, isn’t popular with young people. A new McClatchy poll shows Trump now getting 1 in 10 votes among Americans under 30 years old. That’s 9 percent, compared to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 41 percent. Trump doesn’t even have as much support with young people, according to the poll, than the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, who has 23 percent of the youth vote, or Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has 16 percent. Trump can take comfort in that he is slightly ahead of the 8 percent in the “undecided” camp.
Here’s the Harvard Republican Club’s statement:
Dear Members and Alumni,
In every presidential election since 1888, the members and Executive Board of the Harvard Republican Club have gathered to discuss, debate, and eventually endorse the standard-bearer of our party. But for the first time in 128 years, we, the oldest College Republicans chapter in the nation, will not be endorsing the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans. The rhetoric he espouses –from racist slander to misogynistic taunts– is not consistent with our conservative principles, and his repeated mocking of the disabled and belittling of the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, Gold Star families, and Purple Heart recipients is not only bad politics, but absurdly cruel.
If enacted, Donald Trump’s platform would endanger our security both at home and abroad. Domestically, his protectionist trade policies and draconian immigration restrictions would enlarge our federal deficit, raise prices for consumers, and throw our economy back into recession. Trump’s global outlook, steeped in isolationism, is considerably out-of-step with the traditional Republican stance as well. The flippancy with which he is willing to abdicate the United States’ responsibility to lead is alarming. Calling for the US’ withdrawal from NATO and actively endorsing nuclear proliferation, Donald Trump’s foreign policy would wreak havoc on the established world order which has held aggressive foreign powers in check since World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, however, Donald Trump simply does not possess the temperament and character necessary to lead the United States through an increasingly perilous world. The last week should have made obvious to all what has been obvious to most for more than a year. In response to any slight –perceived or real– Donald Trump lashes out viciously and irresponsibly. In Trump’s eyes, disagreement with his actions or his policies warrants incessant name calling and derision: stupid, lying, fat, ugly, weak, failing, idiot –and that’s just his “fellow” Republicans.
He isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.
Donald Trump, despite spending more than a year on the campaign trail, has either refused or been unable to educate himself on issues that matter most to Americans like us. He speaks only in platitudes, about greatness, success, and winning. Time and time again, Trump has demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge on critical matters, meandering from position to position over the course of the election. When confronted about these frequent reversals, Trump lies in a manner more brazen and shameless than anything politics has ever seen.
Millions of people across the country are feeling despondent. Their hours have been cut, wages slashed, jobs even shipped overseas. But Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan to fix that. He has a plan to exploit that.
Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic. His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy. He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House. He is looking to to pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, American against American. We will not stand for this vitriolic rhetoric that is poisoning our country and our children.
President Reagan called on us to maintain this, our shining city on a hill. He called on us to maintain freedom abroad by keeping a strong presence in the world. He called on us to maintain liberty at home by upholding the democratic process and respecting our opponents. He called on us to maintain decency in our hearts by loving our neighbor.
He would be ashamed of Donald Trump. We are too.
This fall, we will instead focus our efforts on reclaiming the Republican Party from those who have done it considerable harm, campaigning for candidates who will uphold the conservative principles that have defined the Republican Party for generations. We will work to ensure both chambers of Congress remain in Republican hands, continuing to protect against executive overreach regardless of who wins the election this November.
We call on our party’s elected leaders to renounce their support of Donald Trump, and urge our fellow College Republicans to join us in condemning and withholding their endorsement from this dangerous man. The conservative movement in America should not and will not go quietly into the night.
A longtime student of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
De Tocqueville believed in the United States. Americans are a decent people. We work hard, protect our own, and look out for one another in times of need, regardless of the color of our skin, the God we worship, or our party registration. Donald Trump may not believe in that America, but we do. And that America will never cease to be great.
The Harvard Republican Club
Here’s the Texas Federation of College Republicans’ statement: