After the presidential election, you might expect an uptick in membership of College Republicans chapters in states like Oklahoma, South Dakota or Indiana. After all, President Donald Trump won all three handily.
Massachusetts probably wouldn’t come to mind, but it should. A new report from The Christian Science Monitor shows that some colleges in the Bay State, which Hillary Clinton won with 60 percent of the vote, are seeing their GOP campus groups double and triple in size. More specifically, it’s happening in the liberal enclave of Boston. The rise in membership comes amid the anti-Trump fervor seen on most campuses:
Confronted with such pushback, conservatives at Boston universities are flocking to College Republican clubs – causing membership to double or even triple. Some of the new members feel inspired by Trump to up their political engagement, but often it is to reaffirm to themselves – as well as others on campus – that there are more strains of conservatism than just Trumpism.
Universities seeing the membership spike include Northeastern, Boston University and Tufts:
During the Obama years, the Northeastern College Republicans had about 30 members, with 10 to 15 attending the weekly meetings. Since the election, the club has grown to almost 100 members, with 35 to 50 attending each meeting.
The Boston University (BU) College Republicans and Tufts Republicans cite similar increases. BU’s attendance has tripled in recent months from 10 to 30 students, and Tufts’ attendance has doubled over the last year, with about 40 students attending each meeting.
Joining the College Republicans, for some students, seems to provide a rare space free from microaggressions, trigger warnings and campus protests. That appears to be the case at Northeastern University:
This is the College Republicans club – a weekly reprieve from liberal campus life, if only for an hour. “This is the only place on campus during the week when you can say whatever you want and nobody will judge you,” says Nathan Kotler, the club’s secretary.