On Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. students gather in Hill 015 to calmly engage in discussions of political theory and their interpretations of current events. These students comprise McDaniel’s recently reformed Young Republicans Club. Though you may be a Never Trump Republican, or not identify and agree with any of the party’s platforms, you may still be interested in this club. The club is still new—it has had only two meetings so far. The Young Republicans encourage students of all ideologies to attend and participate in their discussions.
President Marrissa Benko states that The Young Republican Club’s goal is to “de-stigmatize the word ‘Republican’ and to open minds to other ideologies that students may be uncomfortable with.” Vice President Gabrielle Titow encourages students to attend the club and wants all to “come with an open mind.”
The discussion element is particularly appealing to the club’s most vocal Trump supporter, Secretary Joe Geraci, who states, “I will debate anyone at any time and I challenge all ‘progressives’ to come to our club and defend their ideas and beliefs.” Geraci also agrees with Benko, asserting that he would like to get rid of the “disgusting stigma” of being both a Republican and, for Geraci in particular, a Trump supporter.
While Geraci may seem intimidating to some, one need not worry. The club is not meant to be a Republican propaganda outlet. Treasurer Brian Shivers explains, “We are not politically active. We are more interested in stimulating debate based off of controversy to find a middle ground.” Some of the topics that the leaders look forward to discussing include second amendment rights, foreign policy issues, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other social issues. While these topics may be emotional for some, the leaders of the club would like to remind anyone interested in attending that it is only each speaker expressing his or her opinion(s).
The leaders of the Young Republican Club encourage everyone interested in learning more about politics or learning more about current political issues to attend. If you do not like to discuss and debate you are not required to do so. The club stresses the importance of acting civil when participating in discussion: Geraci asserts, “interruptions and speaking out of turn will not be tolerated.”
There is even a great deal of diversity in thought and ideology between the leaders of the Young Republican Club. For example, not all support Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. Also, there are differing opinions on social issues, such as transgenderism and other gender identity issues.
The second Young Republican Club meeting was well received. Attendee Sarah Kriewald stated that the discussion participants were “very opinionated” but stated their views “very calmly.” Overall, Kriewald found the discussions to be “very informative.” Two other attendees, Katie Weinhold and Olivia Culver both found the second meeting “very informative and entertaining” as well.
Benko encourages anyone interested in attending the club’s meetings to send messages through OrgSync with discussion topics. The club’s third meeting should be of interest, as it’s the first meeting after the 2016 Presidential election.