Last week, The Liberty Conservative covered the Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, FL. The event was largely considered a success, but was marred by a hit piece that was dropped by the New Yorker conveniently timed to undermine the event.
This was supposed to be a big bombshell, but largely fell flat. It consisted of the same old accusations of racism fueled by an anti-black text message released by a now former employee as well as the testimonials of bitter ex-employees with axes to grind because they are no longer getting paychecks.
The article also described some alleged campaign activity of questionable legality. Charlie Kirk, the organization’s founder, cultivated strong ties with Donald Trump and his family that have endured to this day. He was busy developing those ties when many other organizational leaders were resisting the Trump phenomenon out of sour grapes.
Take a look at Young Americans for Liberty leader Cliff Maloney Jr. for another example. He threw Trump supporters in his organization under the bus while allying with swamp creatures such as failed Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange and liberal ‘Never Trump’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley in Michigan. Kirk’s wise leadership moves helped him to avoid the oafish mistakes of the blundering Maloney.
Other conservative and libertarian organizations were similarly reticent toward embracing the Trump phenomenon. Kirk’s gamble paid off last election year, and the rise of his organization’s influence has the liberal media looking for a scalp. The liberal media is taking TPUSA to task because they have actually created an atmosphere that appeals to normal students. Women who are not being paid off with Koch money actually attend TPUSA events, which you cannot say about the astroturfed libertarian conference circuit. Similarly, the Young America’s Foundation and College Republicans are stocked full of the next generation of lackeys desperate to live off the public trough like Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan.
Of all the conservative student organizations, TPUSA has the most authentic following and does the best job of representing the big tent that the conservative movement has become. Although there were speakers that I am vehemently opposed to such as the neocon Ben Shapiro or the deranged Candace Owens, there were others scheduled on the docket such as journalist James O’Keefe, Trumpian nationalist Sebastian Gorka, media personality Ann Coulter, libertarian economist Larry Reed, and the aforementioned Trump Jr. for my enjoyment. There truly was something for everybody at this event.
One thing that TPUSA must realize to avoid bad press in the future is that blind tokenism is a sure-fire way to sabotage your movement. These tokens, usually not conservative in the slightest and only in the mix for the purposes of partying or careerism, will flip at a moment’s notice. That was seen in the New Yorker hit piece, where ex-staffers slammed the group publicly as racist after losing their jobs without providing anything other than anecdotal evidence to back up their claims.
If a minority or a woman can hold their own on their own merits, feel free to have them at the event. There are examples of competent females and racial minorities in the conservative movement, but we have to be honest with ourselves. Tomi Lahren is not Ann Coulter. If she cannot address her abortion position in an adequate way, that is no reason to shut down questioners who traveled so far to attend and be heard. And Red Pill Black is no Walter Williams. Just watching her give a disjointed, schizo performance on the main stage unable to express a coherent thought was cringe-inducing and pathetic. (Although, her apparent association with the James Miller Foundation may be her saving grace.)
In the end, TPUSA is doing a great deal of things correctly and should look at this hit piece as a wake up call to improve their organization. Make the organization into a true meritocracy, allow everyone’s voice to be heard, and continue creating an atmosphere that draws in more than just weirdos and gadflies. There needs to be an organization that finds students, reaches out to them, and gets them into the mix for serious activism. TPUSA can be that organization only if they refuse to bend in the face of this adversity, and continue improving themselves until outfits like the New Yorker have nothing to report except big league wins moving forward.