Young Republicans take initiative in national politics

Sophie Gillard, Staff Writer

The first presidential election polls opened in Texas on Oct. 24, but for months before early voting started, members of the Young Conservatives Club (YCC) have been campaigning for Republicans in Texas and beyond.

While the Young Liberals Organization block-walk for down-ballot candidates, students in YCC have kept their focus primarily on national elections.

One such student is senior Harrison Black, who has been vocal about his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Black’s longtime interest in politics pushed him to speak out in his community and spread the word about Trump’s campaign.

“I need to stand up for what I think is right,” Black said. “So, I’ve been endorsing Trump in my community and trying to get out the vote.”

Both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are some of the most controversial politicians to date, and the divisions spurred by this election have affected students as well. These days, that conflict is something Black experiences often.

“A lot of Trump supporters are called racist, among other things, and I think that’s a misrepresentation,” Black said. “Just because I agree with some of his ideas, that doesn’t mean we share all the same ideals.”

Not all students are focusing on the top of the ticket, though. Senior and YCC founder Samuel Samson-Williams stresses the importance of keeping the Congress conservative. Although no Texas senators are running for re-election, Samson-Williams is calling voters in Florida to support Senator Marco Rubio.

“YCC is focused on the national election, but my biggest priority is keeping the legislature,” Samson-Williams said. “The best way to do that is to make sure incumbent Republican senators keep their seats.”

Other YCC members have worked for Republican candidates before the party picked a nominee. Senior Matthew Garnett volunteered at the Republican primary debate held on February 25 at the University of Houston. Many other students, led in part by senior Cam Cook, have volunteered with the Ted Cruz campaign.

Past the primaries, YCC has thrown barbecues and rallies in preparation for November 8th. Samson-Williams says that when it comes to an election as important as this one, events like these count.

“From the start of this school year, I knew that we needed to be involved in this election because the decisions being made now will affect our generation for years to come,” he said. “It’s imperative that we don’t take this lying down and make sure that we can impact what goes on.”

Eligible seniors were excited to vote for their first time. 

“It felt great to be able to cast my vote and have a concrete say in this election, especially after all the work we did this election season,” he said. “National politics is a whole different animal than we’ve worked on in the past, but I really think YCC helped make a difference.”