The College Republicans at Cornell University have endorsed the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson.

They announced their support for Johnson in a post on Facebook:

Dear Members and Alumni,

The Cornell Republicans, as the official representatives of the Republican Party at Cornell, are dedicated to promoting limited government and individual freedom. But our organization does not solely represent the Republican Party. Our first responsibility is to our members: libertarians, moderates, neoconservatives, and everyone in between. We value our ideological diversity and welcome differing perspectives.

This election’s unprecedented nature has made blind commitment to our Party unpalatable. The Cornell Republicans cannot, in good faith, endorse our party’s nominee. Mr. Trump should not be the face of American conservatism. Instead, we are proud to endorse the true conservative in this election: Gary Johnson.

Governor Johnson’s commitment to fiscal conservatism is unparalleled. Governing a blue state, he shrunk the size of the government, balanced the state’s budget, and never increased taxes. While we do not agree with all of his positions, we firmly support his devotion to free trade, states’ rights, and other conservative principles.

This has caused New York’s Federation of College Republicans to yank their credentials.

Inside Higher Ed reported:

BREAKING: NYS GOP Group Kicks Out Cornell Group for Endorsing Libertarian Ticket

The New York Federation of College Republicans announced Saturday that it is revoking the credentials of the Cornell University Republicans over the Cornell group’s endorsement of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president.

The Cornell group’s endorsement cited Johnson’s fiscal conservatism and contrasted his policies favorably with those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. “No one wants to vote for the lesser of two evils. Together, let’s stand on the right side of history,” the endorsement says. It adds that “our organization does not solely represent the Republican Party. Our first responsibility is to our members: libertarians, moderates, neoconservatives and everyone in between. We value our ideological diversity and welcome differing perspectives.”

Saturday’s statement from the New York Federation of College Republicans said that the Cornell chapter would be stripped of all privileges for the semester, including participating in events and receiving fellowships. Cornell Republicans who disagree with their chapter’s decision will be able to apply to participate as individual members.

Two thoughts: At first glance, it looks as though the Cornell Republicans are breaking with their party and technically, by endorsing the Libertarian candidate, they are. But let’s not forget that Johnson is actually a long time member of the Republican Party. When Johnson ran for Governor of New Mexico, he ran as a Republican and served as one.

Second, the Cornell Republicans are making the same mistake many people do by conflating the Republican Party with conservatism. Although many conservatives are Republicans, not all Republicans are conservatives. It’s called the Republican Party, not the Conservative Party.

Donald Trump’s job right now is to be the Republican Party nominee, not the “face of American conservatism” as the Cornell Republicans seem to think.

Was Mitt Romney the face of American conservatism? Was McCain?

The Cornell Daily Sun has a statement from the chair of the Cornell Republicans:

Olivia Corn ’19, the Cornell Republicans’ chair, said that despite possible limitations, club leadership is committed to doing everything possible this fall to recruit new members and “resume business as usual” — with a small name change.

“The Cornell Republicans will stand by our principles and not fall in line with a Trump henchman,” said Executive Director Austin McLaughlin ’18, responding to the revocation.

“I am looking into whether or not [the federation] has the legal ability to [revoke recognition],” Corn said. “All I ask of the Cornell community is that they stand behind us during this difficult time in our fight for free speech and moral principles.”

Casey Breznick, a Cornell student who has written for Legal Insurrection and College Insurrection, has written a column for the Cornell Review in response to the situation:

Cornell ‘Republicans’ Endorse Gary Johnson for President After Pressure from Cornell ‘Daily’ Sun

“True conservative” – a descriptor not even Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson would ascribe to himself, yet the Cornell Republicans declared him as such, and the only one of such running for president in 2016, in a recent Facebook post.

The endorsement comes a little over a week after the Cornell “Daily” Sun published a staff editorial calling on the Cornell Republicans to renounce and, by implication, not endorse Donald Trump for president.

The Sun, in its editorial, wrote Trump’s views “defy the values of equality and diversity that are fundamental to both our collegiate and national values” and “The list of Trump’s policy weaknesses and character failings is endless.” Even though the Sun has a staff of over 100 to think of phrases to discredit the GOP candidate, they couldn’t avoid including this cliche: Trump is a “clear and present danger.”

The Cornell Republicans add on: Trump displays “visceral rhetoric and angry demeanor” and “insults our war heroes.”

It seems both are reading the same DNC talking points.

Featured image is banner image from Cornell Republicans Facebook Page.


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