Q: The Yale New Republicans were founded after the Yale College Republicans’ endorsement of Donald Trump and in August you tweeted that Donald Trump was unfit to be president. Does his win come as a disappointment to the organization?
A: It certainly comes as a disappointment to many of our members — in fact, every member that I’ve talked to about it. The sentiments that we felt back in August when we formed didn’t go away. The election has only exacerbated those feelings. Of course, now he is the president-elect. The American people spoke. And, of course, there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to look to him as our president and unite together as Democrats and Republicans.
Q: There are people who are still trying to do things “on the Donald Trump issue” — protesting his presidency or holding rallies in solidarity. Do you know if any YNR members have joined those protests? Have you?
A: I certainly have not. I don’t think any of our members that I’ve heard of have joined the protests or the demonstrations. There are a lot of things going on, but at the end of the day it sends more of a symbolic message. As I’ve said, there’s not really much that can be done to change this at this point. We kind of just have to sit down for four years and see what we can do to best direct our country onto the right course. At least in my opinion, I think our energies are best spent trying to mitigate any crazy proposals that Donald Trump may be proposing, rather than symbolically rejecting him outright. I think like many Americans we [the Yale New Republicans] are scrambling. How exactly do we confront this issue?
Q: You mentioned that some members reflected on what it means to be a part of the Republican Party at this point. How do you see your relationship with the Yale College Republicans going forward? Are you two working towards the same goals now that the Trump endorsement isn’t dividing you?
A: I think that what happened in this election cycle started a rift that would be practically impossible to reconcile at this point. I think the Yale College Republicans, as seen in this election, are motivated almost entirely by partisan label. As in, they will support a Republican no matter what. I think the Yale New Republicans are more selective. We are Republicans. We are right-wing individuals. But we’re not going to follow anyone who adopts the Republican label — the little red “R” next to their name. I think that fundamental difference, which may not have been clear before this election but is certainly crystal clear now, is going to stop us from anything too close or comfortable with the Yale College Republicans and their work going forward. Now certainly, we are both Republicans, but we have different visions for the future of the Party.
Q: Supporting Republicans down the ballot was a priority for the Yale New Republicans throughout this election. How did you handle supporting candidates who supported Trump?
A: That’s a good question. How we handled down the ballot candidates was by looking at their policies first and foremost. [Senator] Kelly Ayotte, who was a little lukewarm towards Trump in the beginning and later pulled whole-hearted support and was in a feud with him, reflected our views of the Republican Party going forward. So we supported her and tried to do some phone banking for her. However, looking at just their endorsement of Trump alone was not enough to make us not support a candidate. We looked at their entire policy package.
Q: What is your vision for the future of the Party?
A: Our vision now is the same vision we had back in August. We want a Republican Party that is more considerate of the diverse views expressed across America. We want a Republican Party that can draw more votes from every demographic group. We don’t want a Republican Party dominated by middle-aged white men. However, this election has shaken some of the assumptions that we made in calling for that type of Republican Party, because Trump was gaining record numbers among some types of groups that more moderate Republicans had not done nearly as well with. So now we’re confused on where to go going forward.