College Republicans discuss Trump, party divisions

By David Agoha
New York City, NY

College Republicans living on the majority-liberal Princeton University campus in the era of President Trump say it is difficult to state their beliefs without receiving backlash from people.

“Republicans think Democrats are wrong, Democrats think Republicans are evil,” said Jacob Berman, vice president of the of Princeton College Republicans.

Cultures and beliefs on campus are very diverse, and the university administration says all ideologies are accepted, but College Republicans feel as if they are the minority. “It’s a blessing being a Republican at Princeton,” Berman said, adding that there are plenty of opportunities for debate. Trump’s victory, however, has made it “very difficult” to be a Republican on campus, he said.

Princeton’s Republicans hold many beliefs that do not correlate with Trump’s. Berman was open about his differences in ideology from the president. Although Berman was not eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, he dodged questions about whether he would have voted from Trump.

Berman is not the only Princeton Republican who has conflicting feelings towards Trump. Matthew Penza, a junior and the managing editor of the conservative campus publication, The Princeton Tory, said Trump was “more of a populist” than a true conservative.

Penza said he did vote for Trump — not because he believes everything Trump stands for, but mostly because he did not want Hillary Clinton as president. Like Berman, Penza said he feels the anti-Trump sentiment on campus, and he doesn’t feel like his reasoning is respected.

Conservatives on campus also have disagreements between each other. Penza criticized the Princeton College Republicans, saying the group does not adequately represent Republican students on campus and does not organize enough events. “If you want to emphasize conservative belief, you have to put the time in,” Penza said.

And Penza’s wide-ranging conservative beliefs often don’t fall in the traditional Republican model. He eschews traditional GOP small-r republican ideology. “I’m a monarchist,” Penza announced.

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