Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cleveland in March.

Mark Makela / The New York Times

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cleveland in March.

March 15, 2016

Cornell Republicans Concerned by Trump’s Rise

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Members of Cornell Republicans voiced concern with Donald Trump’s recent primary victories and overwhelming public support, echoing the consternation of many Republican leaders around the country.

Jake Zhu ’18, first vice chair of Cornell Republicans, said he “would still hesitate to put money on it,” even though he thinks it is likely that Trump will win the Republican nomination.

Austin McLaughlin ’18, secretary of Cornell Republicans, said that while he is apprehensive because neither of the two GOP front-runners — Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) — represent the Republican Party, he is happy to see strong Republicans speaking out against Trump.

“[Speaker] Paul Ryan (R-WIs.) and Mitt Romney are two fantastic individuals that actually stand for Republican principles, with the former representing a new, younger brand of the Republican party in leadership,” McLaughlin said.

Robby Dunbar ’18, second vice chair of the College Republicans, said that although Ryan and Romney are speaking out against Trump, they are also weakening support for the Republican party as a whole and “furthering the rift in the part between those who support and don’t support Trump.”

“I foresee this as causing many establishment Republicans to vote for a third party Libertarian which would split Republican votes and essentially give the Democratic nominee the win,” Dunbar said. “I have heard many Republicans, especially those college aged, coming out and saying they will vote for third party Libertarian candidate — like Gary Johnson — or write-in a Republican such as Paul Ryan or Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).”

Unlike McLaughlin and Dunbar, Zhu said he thinks this increased backlash against Trump will be enough to curtail his support and catapult Cruz to become the Republican frontrunner.

“My hopes is that either Ted Cruz, who is a real conservative, beats out Trump for the remaining delegates or there is a brokered convention that spoils Trump’s chances,” Zhu said. “Ted Cruz will likely get the Republican nomination if Rubio and Kasich drop out soon. I expect most of their support to go towards Cruz, which puts him in the perfect position to beat out Trump in the remaining states.”

Disagreeing with Zhu, McLaughlin said that if Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John Kasich (R-Ohio) drop out of the presidential race, he does not think Cruz will gain enough votes from their supporters to beat Trump.

“In my opinion, Trump cannot be stopped even if Kasich and Rubio drop out,” McLaughlin said. “While Kasich is too prideful and Rubio is positioned in a lose-lose scenario — either he drops out, or he stays in and has the chance to lose his home state — their moderate electorate will be split, but may migrate more to Trump than Cruz.”

McLaughlin said that Cruz’s recent wins could potentially alter the course of the primary, but even with these wins, Cruz will have difficulty defeating Trump.

“I think the RNC is quite divided — either they choose Trump and divide the party forever, or they do not choose Trump and pick someone that perhaps cannot win against Hillary,” McLaughlin said. “It is unclear if the Republican leadership will stand behind him and allow party cohesion to dissolve or choose not to and cause an uproar among his majority of supporters. I would not be surprised if we are looking at the demise of the Republican party in this election cycle.”

Overall, however, McLaughlin said that he is disheartened by the Republican party and the way the primaries have been proceeding.

“I will say that I am both discouraged and jaded by the two GOP front-runners, Trump and Cruz, of whom I believe neither represent my party,” McLaughlin said. “As a moderate and not a social conservative, Cruz in particular represents very little that I stand for — that being limited government and individual rights. Trump is a cancer on the party.”

  • DDB9000

    It’s very simple – you reap what you sow.

    The Republican Party’s support of bigots of all kinds over the last 50 years, and especially the last 8 is why this is happening.
    And as (allegedly) intelligent Cornell students you should know that.

    But it seems like you don’t, or you are denying the very obvious, as not one single Corn Rep interviewed mentioned it.

  • Old Ezra

    Cuck harder, boys.

  • Ezra Tank

    If you think Paul Ryan is such a …

    “[Speaker] Paul Ryan (R-WIs.) and Mitt Romney are two fantastic individuals that actually stand for Republican principles, with the former representing a new, younger brand of the Republican party in leadership,” McLaughlin said.”

    You have no clue son. If Ryan is so great why did he agree to Obama’s current budget that just adds MORE to our National Debt? I’m not a Trump supporter but at least he’s talking about what’s wrong (and what’s been wrong for years and years).

    We simply cannot continue to kick the can down the road. We have to pay the piper now!

  • Class of 2000

    Make America Great Again!!!

    When you college kids start paying your own bills, taxes, school tuition and healthcare bills for your kids, you will migrate to the right of the political spectrum in no time.

  • Mayor McCheese

    I didn’t realize there actually were any conservatives or Republicans left at Cornell. I’m glad to see it. There is a real need (I won’t say HUGE) for a diversity of political/economic thought and opinion at Cornell and most college campuses.

  • Class of 2000

    What those of us who support Trump fear most is that the country is being dominated by the intolerant , entitled ,morally bankrupt left. They have taken over the media and our colleges. They have been able to bully the vast majority of Americans into accepting this new reality and remaining silent .Fortunately , as with most intolerant bullies , they have gone too far and the middle class whether , Black ,White ,Hispanic whatever have said enough is enough .Trump just happens to be the conduit for us to voice our anger and disgust. We are willing to overlook some of his crass ,vulgar behavior , because his message the right one. Go TRUMP

  • Hurrah for the Cornell Republicans! If anyone is interested in the views of a geriatric (’56) Alum and a centrist Republican, you can find them at (and a letter in today’s New York Times).

  • · I hadn’t thought about Twin Peaks in ages! La1a8&#r2u7;s body in the plastic and the odd music! Like Caz I don’t usually like to revisit films/TV shows in case they’re not as I remember them but I might have to give Twin Peaks a go.Hope you’re feeling better and are giving yourself a present? Mine is to basically do as I please today.