Many may write off the youth of today as a foregone conclusion; an overwhelmingly left-leaning voting bloc that will only guarantee more Democratic victories in the future. But as of recently, some trends seem to be indicating a wavering in support for the Democratic Party from millennials, proving that this particular group may not be nearly as monolithic as previously believed.
As such, the Right has a truly legitimate chance at capturing more millennial support than ever before, which could make all the difference in 2018, 2020, and beyond. But first, the Young Right must first determine what direction it wants to take, and who will lead it; this could be the final chance for the Young Right to finally be united under a clear direction and a clear set of ideas, lest it remain fatally divided and miss out on a golden opportunity. Only then will it be capable of leading more millennials to the American Right, exposing the false prophets of the Left who have been indoctrinating them for so long, and bringing them to the promised land by the time they reach their mid-life crises.
First, in order to understand what—if any—hope exists for the youth of today, one must understand the nature of the ongoing conflict between those in the Young Right.
The 2016 election was a watershed moment in a divide between those who wish to blindly follow leaders and thinkers of the past, and those who want to charge forward into a brave new world; and the best metric for understanding who’s who is looking at their support for President Donald J. Trump.
On the one side, you have a number of young “conservatives” who firmly tow the National Review line of “Trump’s not a real conservative!” These people follow figures such as Jonah Goldberg, David French, Rich Lowry, Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck, and—of course—the absolute ringleader of the anti-Trump, “Principled Conservative” crowd: Ben Shapiro. One will often find these people referencing such historical figures as Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and William Buckley, among others who carried out extensive “purges” of paleoconservatives and other rightists with whom they disagreed. They are not fans of being politically incorrect, and often dismiss those who are as “being provocative just for the sake of being provocative.” They insist that protectionism is comproable to Soviet-style central planning, believe that fiscal issues are the most important thing (and will go into detailed, 37-point plans explaining how and why), and think that many illegal aliens are “natural conservatives” ready to vote Republican after a couple of lectures on Milton Friedman. They essentially carry on the same mantra and ideas as the neoconservatives who dominated the Republican Party from the 1960’s up until 2016.
On the other side, you have those who are much more firmly devoted to President Trump, and insist that his is a permanent—not temporary—shift in the philosophy of the Right. They follow commentators such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux, Gavin McInnes, and Lauren Southern. For the longest time, up until a highly-coordinated and unfortunately effective smear campaign by a neoconservative group, Milo was the ringleader of this new wave. With his ultra-provocative rhetoric and cold hard truth about the Left’s threat to American culture and our very way of life, he instilled a newfound sense of fearlessness in many others who quickly followed suit in a similarly politically-incorrect manner. This group is strict on trade (and will tell you that protectionism was a historic staple of the Republican Party for the longest time), hawkish on immigration (insisting that new immigrants will always vote Democratic, almost entirely because of handouts and the party’s appeal to their racial collectivist interests), and wants to see a scaled-back, less interventionist foreign policy approach (often denouncing this approach as it was taken by both the Bushes and Obama).
In the Lion’s Den
If you want a clear example of the divide between these two crowds, look no further than the heart of leftism in America: California.
Specifically, the California federation of the College Republicans, or CCR. With well over 50 chapters, CCR is the largest statewide federation of College Republicans in the entire country. Last year and this year, there was a series of internal struggles over control of this massive organization, which rests firmly in the middle of the intersection between traditional Republican Party politics, and the new age of provocative conservative activism. The battle was over which one is more important.
I got to personally witness the entirety of the battle, from start to finish, as two different groups contested over control of CCR. From April to October of 2017, the election for the statewide board—including the top spot of Chair—was between two slates: “Rebuild CCR,” which sought to emphasize a bolder approach, including more of an emphasis on activism and political incorrectness, as well as support for President Trump; and “Thrive CCR,” which wanted to keep the focus on simply campaigning for Republican candidates every cycle with door-knocking and phone-banking, using more toned-down and diplomatic language with the Democrats, and holding more moderate policy positions in order to (supposedly) appeal to moderate and independent voters.
Thrive consisted almost entirely of incumbent members of the board, simply running for reelection or for higher positions. Rebuild consisted of outsiders who had made headlines over the previous few months for activism at such places as UC Berkeley, Orange Coast College, UC Irvine, and elsewhere. Thrive was lead by Leesa Danzek, a former USC student who had graduated a full year before the election, and thus was no longer even a student at the time. Rebuild was lead by Ariana Rowlands, then a junior at UC Irvine who had built up a sizeable profile on social media, through her contributions to Breitbart and other publications, as well as her close friendship with Milo.
Just five months later, the moderates tried again. As Rowlands and her new slate, Rise CCR, ran for reelection in April of 2018, a handful of former Thrive candidates and supporters mounted a challenge, under the new name Unite CCR. This time, the convention and most of the divides were documented in real time by BuzzFeed. Naturally, the BuzzFeed reporter quickly took the side of the moderates—stopping just short of endorsing Unite and its candidate for chair, Michael Gofman—and expressed nothing but contempt for Rowlands and Rise. But of course, it wasn’t even close; Rowlands and Rise won 13 out of 14 positions in a landslide. To top it all off, the 2018 convention was graced with none other than Milo’s presence as he gave the keynote address.
If the slate that has essentially been endorsed by BuzzFeed loses, while the slate that BuzzFeed hates and Milo supports won, then it’s probably a good sign that the right choice was made.
Rowlands has received much more attention since her election, and even had her profile featured in TIME magazine, and elsewhere. In addition to all of the aforementioned basic policy stances, tactical approaches, positions on President Trump, and sources of influence, Rowlands believes that the rise of this new brand of the Young Right—which I like to call the “Neo-Right”—is borne out of a dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Many of the Young Right today are fed up with the incompetence of the Republican Party as they’ve always known it (which is pretty much just George W. Bush, and maybe some distant memories of Bush Sr.). Other than the Bushes, the Republican Party pre-2016 had only known such figures as John McCain and Mitt Romney—soft—spoken moderates who just weren’t fighters, nor did they talk about the most crucial of issues. This was the party of policy wonks and experts on the economy, not culture warriors determined to roll back the insidious influence of the Left within academia, the Internet, and pop culture.
As such, Donald Trump represented a shift to a new era of the American Right: one that takes the fight right back to the Left, directly taking them on over issues that will determine the fate of our country such as immigration and culture. If one must be politically incorrect in order to convey the seriousness of the issue—and the danger of the Left’s rabid language-policing—then so be it. A few hurt feelings is an small price to pay for stopping the onslaught against American culture, if not the entirety of Western Civilization itself.
To Trump, or not to Trump?
Despite President Trump’s success, this divide still persists as some—including those in leadership positions—among the Young Right remain in opposition him. Although the pro-Trump crowd has decisively taken over CCR, the national College Republicans board—College Republicans National Committee (CRNC)—is, to say the least, deafeningly silent when it comes to the current President. Perhaps it’s the fact that many of their current leaders are from the Northeast—a hotbed of moderate, anti-Trump Republicans. Perhaps it’s because many of them—including the former national chair, Alexandra Smith—disavowed Trump during the election, whether for the Access Hollywood tape or for other reasons. But either way, the CRNC has not received much attention in the Trump era, and for good reason—they turned their backs on him, and continue to do so.
Meanwhile, another prominent conservative youth organization has filled that gap: Turning Point USA. While technically a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and thus not allowed to get politically involved, TPUSA nevertheless frequently promotes itself as a pro-Trump organization; in particular, its founder Charlie Kirk boasts a personal friendship with Donald Trump Jr., enjoys occasional retweets by President Trump, and even interviewed the President at a recent event focusing on millennial outreach.
And with the increased visibility comes increased scrutiny. In recent months, TPUSA has faced a wide variety of accusations of unethical, even potentially illegal activities, including: alleged illegal involvement in the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, legitimate racism against blacks by high-ranking employees, and interference in student government elections all over the country (which are then compounded by research which appears to show that their claims of “success” in such efforts are exaggerated).
And yet, even with such serious baggage that has resulted in several firings and widespread ridicule, TPUSA can still at least claim a more prominent role in young conservative politics, as well as a greater connection to President Trump, than any other major conservative youth organization. The CRNC—an official arm of the Republican Party, which is legally allowed to be more politically involved and pro-Trump if it so chooses—chooses not to do the same.
That is why the majority of the Young Right truly stand with President Trump, if the California College Republicans are any indication, although some are still afraid to say it. And if this is the outlook among the Young Right even in the epicenter of the Left’s socialist utopia, then it is clear where most conservatives will eventually end up, ideologically, when they are exposed to the full brunt of the Left’s brutality.
Go West, Young Kanye
If you want another, even more recent, and much more fascinating example of the divide between the Young Right today, look no further than the recent rhetoric of the glorious madman Kanye West.
Chances are you’ve heard one, or both, of two opinions on Kanye from the Right (and, by transition, the Young Right). One will essentially tell you “Oh, who cares what a celebrity thinks? We bash on celebrities for being left-wing, why should we suddenly prop up a conservative celebrity?” They may also criticize Kanye’s personal conduct regardless of his views (sound familiar?), and stop just short of declaring that they’d rather Kanye not be voicing such opinions, as much as they challenge the Left, and encourage the Right to not associate with him.
The other opinion could not be more ecstatic over Kanye’s latest antics. They see perhaps the greatest victory for the Right in the culture war since Trump defeated the NFL over the kneeling debacle. They see the potential for the Right to finally begin rolling back the Left’s monopoly on pop culture and celebrity culture, with the added bonus of Kanye’s message also representing a similar potential rebellion by blacks in addition to celebrities.
However, even if you’re not a fan of Kanye dropping red pills on TMZ, even those who are the most skeptical of Kanye must admit that his rhetoric spreading to other celebrities is noteworthy. Whether it’s his wife, Kim Kardashian, defending him and the right to freedom of expression, or Chance the Rapper simply declaring that “Black people don’t have to be Democrats,” the fact that Kanye’s ideas have already spread so quickly—to other celebrities and, subsequently, to their millions of followers—speaks for itself in regards to how significant his influence is.
Again, this falls back to the divide between whether or not culture truly matters, or if simply electing more Republicans is the answer.
Yes, it is true that Republicans made some of their largest gains in history under Obama’s watch; scores of state legislatures were flipped (so much so that, after 2014, the Democrats held the smallest number of state legislatures since before the Civil War), two of the largest congressional landslides in history (2010 and 2014) led to the largest GOP majority since the 1920’s, and the Republicans ultimately recaptured the presidency in 2016.
But what does the GOP have to show for it? Since President Trump took office, the GOP embarrassingly failed to repeal Obamacare, narrowly passed tax cuts, and failed to come to a new legislative solution on DACA. The gun control crusade in the aftermath of Parkland completely derailed attempts to focus on infrastructure, and now the party has almost nothing to show for its majority, aside from many judicial confirmations.
And all the while, the Left has still maintained an iron grip on Hollywood, the universities, social media, and other institutions that are firmly ingrained in the American subsconscious in the most pervasive and omnipresent ways possible. The social media giants, with the help of their near-monopolies on every niche of social media, have successfully silenced hundreds—if not thousands—of right-wing voices, and also shut down several promising competitors when those competitors promised to support freedom of speech. Hollywood has completely transitioned into an arm of the Democratic Party, regularly spewing anti-Trump hate whenever they take a break from raping each other, from the late night shows to the awards ceremonies. And in academia, the Left still gets away with borderline terrorist actions every single time a right-wing speaker comes to campus, on top of state-sanctioned classes teaching how white people are evil, or giving lessons on how to impeach Trump.
Going back to the previous focus on College Republicans, this is why culture is so important, and why those who best understand this significance are those who bear full witness to the Left’s Two Minutes Hate being drawn out into Twenty-Four Hours Hate. While bespectacled leaders of the CRNC—undoubtedly in a race to see who can become the biggest policy wonk in D.C. under 30—would rather continue tweeting about tax cuts or knocking on doors rather than talk about Kanye, leaders of TPUSA are actually meeting with and influencing Kanye as he continues to move further to the right.
That is why Kanye and TPUSA now understand the same thing: one of the greatest ways to convert middle-of-the-road individuals—or even left-leaning people—is to rip back the curtain on the sheer amount of vitriol, hatred, and discrimination by the Left against those who commit wrongthink. Milo was doing this in 2016, and now Kanye is doing the same thing in 2018.
And Kanye’s actions have not only influenced fellow celebrities and thus made strides in the culture war; his rhetoric already has historic implications in the electoral battle as well. In just one week since Kanye first started making all of his various right-wing declarations, black approval for Trump has skyrocketed; his approval rating among black males doubled from 11 percent to 22 percent, while his overall approval among black voters rose from 8.9 percent to 16.5 percent. Those are historic numbers—certainly more than any Republican president has captured in modern times—and if Trump were to match those numbers in 2020, he would win in a landslide.
This would certainly explain why Maxine Waters, of all people, is frantically trying to tell Kanye to shut up; the Democrats know that him influencing more blacks to vote for Trump than ever before would be fatal for the Democratic Party.
Even if Kanye’s words alone, in some minds, are not enough to convince someone to flip, the Left’s vicious treatment of him since his conversion will certainly turn a lot of people off towards the Democrats, and make them sympathize with him just to defy the Left’s totalitarianism. And that carries a lot of weight in the ongoing war over America’s culture and very identity.