November 7, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Call to Campus Conservatives

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To the Editor:


Former Vice President Joe Biden is the President-Elect of the United States. Having won a hard fought race, with victories in several battleground states, he will occupy the White House come January.

Within the conservative movement at Cornell, I have seen two distinct trends following the election. The first one, which I find to be admirable, is a humble yet hopeful recognition of the Republican incumbent Donald Trump’s defeat. It acknowledges gains made by the Congressional GOP, is encouraged by states such as Florida experiencing a consolidation of conservative votes and sees with clear vision that Donald Trump will no longer represent the face of the Republican Party. 

The second trend, however, is troubling. It is marked by misinformation, wild speculation of fraud, and views that the election of Biden is illegitimate. There are calls for Trump to fight to the bitter end in the courts, to reject fairly cast ballots, and, in some cases, to refuse to concede power. There is even a metric of ideological purity — that if you are not dying on the hill of Trump’s re-election then you are not a true Republican.

To the campus conservatives and Republicans, I say this much: We are the Grand Old Party, not the Party of Trump.

The Republican Party has a history of being pro-democracy and pro-freedom. Born from Lincoln, founded on the bedrock of abolition and sustained by a desire to preserve the integrity of American institutions, we must stay true to our identity. Now is the time for us to rise above power politics, to show that our ideology actually informs our decisions. To identify as a Republican, but to support an effort to delegitimize a national election, to endorse a cult of personality over our sacred democracy, means that you have forfeited your right to the name.

I hope that you all will join me in having faith in our democracy and in supporting a renewed drive to heal the rifts between citizens that this election has created. The Democratic Party will hold the Presidency and the House of Representatives, yet they will likely not wield full authority over our government. Accordingly, discussions of how best to collaborate in bipartisan initiatives are entirely important, as we need to continue to pass good legislation while bringing our parties and people closer together. We are one nation under God, yet neither God nor a single party will enable America to move forward through the pandemic. We must stand united, regardless of our disputes, celebrate Democratic and Republican victories as American victories and hold faithfully to our system of government.


Weston Barker ’21

President of the Cornell Republicans