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Assault on America, Day 92: Why Conservatives cower in shadows at today’s liberal colleges

Trump on Campus Free Speech
Imagine you’re a conservative student on a prominent college campus in Somewherestown, U.S.A. sitting outside on a warm spring day enjoying a little nourishment and the pleasing sight of members of the opposite sex appropriately dressed for the weather and an attractive classmate drops by to chat.

After innocently admiring the new friend’s stylish outfit and inquiring on how she managed to afford the latest iPhone, the talk unexpectedly turns to politics as she probes your views on the New Green Deal and other hot topics popular with the hipster class. Seeing as most students bold enough to speak on politics are openly anti-Trump Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez loving liberals, you wonder whether this otherwise unassuming person harbors politically correct opinions too.

Do you “come out” and admit you love liberty, can’t wait to vote for Donald Trump next year in your first presidential election as an eligible voter and are steadily recognizing how many of the Republican Party’s economic and values-preserving social issue platform planks make good sense? Or do you invoke your own personal fifth amendment right against self-incrimination and opt to remain silent?

If you decide to keep it all to yourself, it turns out you’re not alone. Many young conservatives/Republicans apparently are scared to death of “outing” themselves for fear of public chastisement, social banishment… or worse (including being punched in the face). Megan Fox reported at PJ Media, “A recent survey of 1,500 college students by ‘One Class’ has found that Republican and Democrat students alike agree on one thing: that Republican students are, in fact, oppressed on campuses across the United States.

“The survey found that Republicans on college campuses feel unwelcome, afraid, unsafe, secretive, and powerless. The numbers show that both sides know this is a fact. The only thing they disagreed on was whether student government seats are politically biased…”

The numbers don’t lie. Slightly less than half of Republicans indicated they felt “welcomed” at their school; 10.5 percent said they considered transferring because of a political encounter (compared with only 4.9 percent of Democrats); 37.5 percent admitted they felt unsafe on campus because of their views (only 11.5 percent of Democrats felt the same) and a whopping 55.1 percent hide their true views from friends (compared with only 15.5 percent of liberal party supporters).

You mean today’s conservative tenderfoots are afraid of losing friends over politics? An old Walter Winchell saying goes “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out,” but it appears as though GOP-leaning young adults take the notion a bit too literally.

Either Republican students have a nationwide Chicken Little syndrome metastasizing itself as cowardice or there’s a genuine sense of apprehension among young conservatives. Peer pressure is what it is, but why should these budding leaders of the future feel unsure about what they believe? Aren’t America’s institutions of higher learning supposed to foster healthy debate so as to broaden everyone’s arguments in advocacy of their positions?

Maybe in dreamland they do. Reality indicates otherwise. You never know, the cute girl in Economics 101 may double as an Antifa goon in her spare time. This is serious. Check her backpack when she’s not looking…is there a black hood and a urine bomb in there?

With numerous news reports of colleges creating “safe spaces” for troubled liberal snowflakes after President Trump’s election it’s no surprise his supporters are worried about what lies beneath the pleasant exterior of fellow students now. It must be terrifying in the age of universal social media to ponder being ostracized by the entire university community within hours if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person. Everyone knows everyone else’s business these days -- I’m surprised the kids are courageous enough to talk to each other at all.

I attended Ucla (then, as now, affectionately known as “The Little Red Schoolhouse”) in the 80’s and was fortunate to be on campus the day George H.W. Bush debated Michael Dukakis about a month before the 1988 election. Though most students I knew were Democrats or tilted that way, one of the prominent fraternities just across the street didn’t shrink from showing their partisan leanings, unfurling a large “Betas like Bush” sign in front of the house (you can interpret the double meaning any way you like).

Similar pronouncements of GOP candidate loyalty today would almost certainly draw howls of protest from the university’s politically correct thought police, probably resulting in a faculty-led investigation into the rampant racism, sexism and xenophobia of the smarty pants frat boys. And if 55 percent of Republicans hesitate to tell their friends about political thoughts, just contemplate the proportion of those who wouldn’t dare broadcast it to the whole world.

Such open flaunting of one’s pro-Republican or pro-Trump MAGA viewpoint would draw a horde of Washington Post reporters and camera crews from CNN and MSNBC. The same unglued leftists who antagonized and verbally abused the Covington Catholic boys would provoke confrontations and beat drums in the members’ faces. Don’t snicker -- it could happen.

The Trump administration’s made headlines lately by threatening to pull federal funds from colleges that fail to guarantee free speech rights on campus, which is a step in the right direction. Contemporary institutions of higher learning aren’t so concerned with fostering a broad “liberal” (in the classic sense) education as much as attracting federal dollars for generously labeled “research” and collecting checks from parents who pay handsomely for their kids to receive a degree from a distinguished school.

This isn’t to say a college education is no longer desirable or it’s a complete waste of time and money, but the prior emphasis on teaching useful and marketable skills and encouraging students to think for themselves seems to be a relic of a discredited (by liberals) past. Graduates from these faux programs only achieve degrees in entitlement and false expectations to go along with their diplomas and sizeable school debt payments.

No wonder Republican students are so petrified to tell anyone what they think. It could scar them for life, an encounter with the judgmental set. Capturing a greater share of the youth vote will be a daunting task in 2020 for the GOP.

Therefore, perhaps Republicans’ fortunes would improve if they made inroads into some other Democrat constituencies. Positive signs indicate Trump’s reelection effort might be winning over more African-American voters next year. Emily Ward reported at The Washington Examiner, “Republicans are confident that President Trump in 2020 can pick up support among black voters and that this overwhelmingly Democratic bloc could even provide Trump the winning edge in key swing states...

“African-Americans have reliably voted Democratic since 1948, a trend that is unlikely to change. But a Morning Consult poll taken March 15 shows Trump’s approval rating among blacks sits at 12 percent, four percentage points higher than the eight percent of black Americans who voted for Trump in 2016.

“And according to [black conservative Horace] Cooper, a two or three percent shift in the black vote in certain states, such as Wisconsin, Florida and Texas, could make a big difference in the election — though Cooper predicted an increase of four to five percent of the black vote for Trump, which ‘would put between four and six more states in play that Trump didn’t carry last time.’”

Cooper’s prediction sounds a tad optimistic, but dare to dream! Democrats are working overtime to shore up support from their most reliable voting bloc, gleefully floating the possibility of slavery reparations to entice a big turnout. Here’s thinking most African-Americans won’t buy into such poorly-disguised bribery, but it could motivate some fence-sitters to vote. You know, people who love Maxine Waters (but they’re already Democrats, aren’t they?).

One can only hope free speech conditions improve for young conservatives on college campuses, and President Trump will do everything in his power to make sure of it. In America, no one should fear for their reputation or safety simply by identifying themselves. What is this, North Korea?

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