Earlier this month, the Harvard Republican Club, the oldest college Republican organization in the country, declined to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election, according to The Harvard Crimson. Kenyon Republicans made the same decision this week.
Kenyon Republicans sent an online poll to all students via student-info. The poll asked individuals to vote on whether or not they wanted the club to endorse Trump.
The club’s president, Brooks Alderman ’18, announced the decision in another student-info from the Kenyon Republicans account. He wrote the club had decided by “an overwhelming majority” not to endorse the official Republican Party’s presidential nominee. Only 30 percent of responders voted to support Trump.
Alderman said he did not want to be the sole voice for other Republicans on campus. “I thought it would be wrong to sort of impose that decision on the group,” Alderman said. If an individual participated in the poll, they automatically agreed to join the Kenyon Republicans’ email distribution list, according to Alderman. In past semesters, Alderman said the club’s distribution list hovered around 20 members. Nearly 80 students participated in the poll, so he believes there are now about 90 members.
Unlike Harvard’s group, the Kenyon Republicans will not help coordinate with members who are interested in assisting the Trump campaign. These students have several options, according to Alderman. “They can [support] independently,” Alderman said. “They can reach out to Trump’s campaign. Or they can make their own organization. There’s nothing stopping them from doing that. But the Kenyon Republicans, as a group, will be purely focusing on non-presidential races.”
“I was supportive of Trump,” Lucas Mukai ’19, a member of the Kenyon Republicans said. “I was a bit disappointed in [the Kenyon Republicans].” He said his reason for disappointment in the club’s decision was because Trump signed the GOP’s Loyalty Pledge that every candidate would endorse the eventual Republican nominee, and that many former candidates have reneged on their pledge.
Mukai said he would remain in the Kenyon Republicans due to the other candidates for office the club may support.
Kenyon and Harvard are not alone in refusing to support Trump. Similar clubs at the University of Notre Dame, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Connecticut have made the same decisions.