Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has splintered many College Republican groups — and some newer, “deplorable” groups are rushing to take their place.
“We’re more divided now than we’ve ever been,” said Peyton Sumner, a junior at Parsons and vice president of the New School College Republicans.
Some of the student GOP groups have refused to endorse Trump or formally backed Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, but campus conservatives who back the Republican nominee are embracing new groups springing up.
At Washington University in St. Louis, which will host Sunday’s presidential town hall, the College Republicans have refused to endorse the party’s nominee.
The group has placed signs reading, “We are afraid of Trump, too,” around campus before the second debate — but a new group, the Missouri Youth for Trump, is hosting a “Meet the Deplorables” rally before the nationally televised event.
The school’s College Republicans mostly backed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) or Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primaries, and they came out against Trump after he continued winning states.
The group has recruited fewer members this year, and they blame dissatisfaction with the GOP nominee.
But Trump is energizing some younger supporters, such as 20-year-old Thomas Hildebrand — who is hoping the “deplorable” event will bring others out of the woodwork.
“I got this idea because a lot of Trump supporters are really sort of shy about who they support,” said Hildebrand, co-founder of Missouri Youth for Trump. “There’s no need to be shy any more.”
The graduate student in chemical engineering hopes Bernie Sanders supporters will be encouraged to vote Trump after they “meet the deplorables.”