After a disappointing turnout campaigning for the New Hampshire Republican primaries over break, Cornell Republicans back on campus are preparing to mobilize for the election year.
Although only three of their members went to campaign over break, Cornell Republicans Chair Raj Kannappan ’13 said the group will ramp up their activity this semester as the primaries continue to unfold.
Kannappan said that the majority of Cornell Republicans support Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachussetts, for the party’s nomination, while a few support Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“We would have preferred a few more candidates, but most people are okay with the field as it is,” he said.
The group plans to square off against the Cornell Democrats in debates on tax policy and the 2012 election, bring former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz ’65 and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) to speak on campus and attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. in February.
Kannappan said he is also working to bring Paul to campus.
“Even though the vast majority of Cornell Republicans aren’t Ron Paul supporters, it would add different viewpoints. It’s important to hear him out, especially on certain issues like economic policy,” he said.
Michael Alan ’14, secretary of the Cornell Republicans, said that the group was frustrated with how the Republican candidates are being portrayed in the media. Alan said that the media seems to emphasize aspects of the Republican candidates’ positions that will prevent them from being taken seriously in the general election.
Alan said that at the Jan. 7 ABC primary debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, for instance, the candidates talked about contraception for nearly 15 minutes.
“Why is this a question? People are concerned about the economy [and] unemployment. … Obama just shut down the Keystone [XL] pipeline,” he said. “That’s something we’re much more concerned about than contraception or gay marriage for the umpteenth time in a debate.”
Jessica Reif ’14, second vice-chair of the Cornell Republicans, said that members made these dissatisfied comments because “they don’t like to see Republicans resorting to negative campaigning, particularly between Romney and Gingrich.”
Despite the attention to the national election, this semester the Cornell Republicans also plan to focus their efforts on the congressional elections in New York. Kannappan pointed to Bob Turner, whose district hadn’t been held by Republicans for almost a century.
“It’s going to be easier for us to help Republicans get elected to Congress than helping New York become Republican,” Kannappan said.
Although there is plenty of room for debate and disagreement, Reif said that the atmosphere at meetings is generally relaxed.
“We do cover serious topics at the meetings and we plan a lot of big events that require a lot of time and effort. It’s just nice at the meetings that there’s a lot of joking around and goofing off; it’s just a very fun environment,” Reif said.
Ultimately, Reif said that the primary goal for Cornell Republicans is to win back the presidency.
“Everyone is focused on beating Barack Obama in November,” Reif said.
Original Author: Emma Court