College Republicans Defend Their Refusal to Endorse a Presidential Candidate

By Matthew Foldi

Given the slew of incorrect assertions in a recent op-ed in The Maroon written by Jake Eberts, a member of UChicago Students for Hillary (“A Deafening Silence” 10/18/16), I feel compelled to correct the record. While the author claims that College Republicans has declined to endorse or denounce Trump, he portrays our decision as an act of cowardice rather than a matter of principled consistency. College Republicans has not endorsed presidential candidates for years. In 2012, despite the clear qualifications of Mitt Romney, College Republicans endorsed no candidate. We have not endorsed in this cycle because our policy is, as it has always been, to focus on campus and state issues. This is precisely the reason that Senator Mark Kirk is the only candidate we have endorsed this cycle. 

I want to begin by addressing the specific flaws of the author’s claims about our endorsement policy. He notes that College Republicans is “apparently too busy endorsing senators, governors, and welcome letters” to address the presidential race. This is theater. As mentioned, the only campaign that College Republicans has endorsed this cycle is Mark Kirk’s. If the author had made an effort to contact us or investigated our Facebook page, as he claimed he did, he would know this. I have given our position on a number of occasions publicly and at our meetings. This established, our members have worked on numerous campaigns across the state and the nation, making calls for House, Senate, and gubernatorial candidates, an effort we are proud to facilitate. The author’s claims that we are sitting out this election cycle are also baseless. We are and will continue to be active this election season. 

Our advocacy on campus and state issues is due to the open nature of our club; we welcome members of all ideologies to our meetings. We have Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and even Socialists at our meetings. We are immensely proud of this openness and wish that our friends across the aisle mirrored our attitude. If the author had made the effort to attend one of our meetings, like many Democrats do on a regular basis, he would have discovered this.

 I also find the author’s comments to be hypocritical and partisan. When UChicago Students for Hillary had a real opportunity to oppose on-campus bigotry, they remained silent. When Student Government’s boycott resolution against Israel was proposed just a few months ago, Students for Hillary had the opportunity to join College Republicans in being vocally opposed to what Clinton herself calls “efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.” However, they remained silent in what can only be construed as a deliberate mischaracterization of Clinton’s position on the issue. I say these things not to attack my friends in Students for Hillary, but rather to note the unfair and partisan attack the author has engaged in.

 In the spirit of the freedom of discourse College Republicans so strongly embraces, I would have loved to discuss all of these issues before this factually questionable op-ed was published in The Maroon. That I, as head of College Republicans, was not contacted by Eberts poorly reflects less on College Republicans and more on those who seek to criticize us.

Matthew Foldi is a third-year in the College majoring in political science.