With presidential elections around the corner, the ETSU College Republicans are hard at work trying to prepare and educate individuals on and off campus.
“College Republicans is a very broad term,” said College Republicans president Brandon Johnson. “We actually have several groups that often align with the conservative ideology. In our banner we have College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom and we also have a sub-sect group that’s affiliated with us that’s Students for Senator Marco Rubio for President.”
All of the groups associated are conservative right leaning groups that fall under the banner of College Republicans.
“We’ve got a pretty big family on the right wing, but our main thing is that College Republicans are not allowed to endorse any candidate in any primary election,” Johnson said. “As of now, we are working hard to educate folks on the difference between liberalism and conservatism, and really show them the difference between what our party offers and what our friends on the left offer.”
It’s an imperative going into the 2016 election that both parties have a large number of supporters.
“We’re looking at the political scope right now and the millennial generation is larger than the baby boomer generation, so we are now the largest generation in American history,” Johnson said. “Learning from the 2008 election, President Obama was able to motivate so many young people. We’re looking at how conservatives can be fighting to capture the hearts and minds of those folks that are on the right side to stick up for traditional and conservative values.”
The College Republicans are working really hard on recruitment, but they are also continuing their typical yearly activities.
“We will do some activism events out on campus, as well as some straw polling,” Johnson said.
As part of an educational activity, people will come by and cast their vote by sticking straws in the ground.
Johnson said every time “we do it we get about 300 participants which makes it important to track because it’s a big sample size.”
The College Republicans meet up every couple of weeks to have pizza and debate parties, and on 9/11, they recognize victims of terrorism by placing one flag in the ground for every American life lost back in 2001.
“We definitely have members all across the spectrum when it comes to candidates,” Johnson said. “We are really excited as a party and we believe in small government and a strong military. We believe the bigger the government is, the smaller the person is. However, it’s really important for folks to know is that you don’t have to agree with every single policy in the Republican party. It’s so important for people to be involved right now, it is a monumental time and we need activists.”
On March 31, several groups are bringing former U.S. Speaker of the House and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to lead a non-partisan discussion on political civility.
“As far as joining the College Republicans, the best thing to do would be to go on Facebook and you can join,” Johnson said. “We communicate a lot through email and GroupMe. If someone is interested they can do that or they can request to join through Buc-Hub.”