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Charlie Kirk To Klavan: Many Students Are Less Liberal Than They Think
Charlie Kirk speaking with Andrew Klavan on "The Andrew Klavan Show"
The Daily Wire

On Thursday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan talks to Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk about his experience speaking on college campuses and advocating for conservatism. Video and partial transcript below: 

KLAVAN: One of the things I worry about, and I think a lot of people worry about, is Donald Trump, who I’ve kind of warmed up to over the years. I really disliked him when he started running and then I have seen the way he is. I think he’s done a good job as president, but he’s very off-putting to a lot of people — and I think especially the people who are very sensitive, who are, as they say, “snowflakes.” You know, his blunt, sometimes even boorish, style puts people off. Is that hurting you? Is Trump hurting you in the universities or [is he] helping?

KIRK: It might surprise you to hear, since his presidency, we have seen an explosion in membership growth, interest, and students getting involved. 

KLAVAN: That’s very encouraging. 

KIRK: We have to turn away more students than we’re able to accept into some of these rooms. I was just at the University of Nevada–Reno to open up the extra room behind just to allow for enough seats. I’m a huge supporter of the president, and I defend what he’s done for this country. I understand the philosophical basis of what his presidency represents, which is a reclamation of a corrupt government and a corrupt city-state. Of course, you and I agree on all these things.

KLAVAN: I’m talking about his style, though. 

KIRK: No, I mean I understand all that, and there are people that focus heavily on the style — not on the substance. But more than anything else, we have more people more young people that are interested in political conversation debate than ever before, and I think that’s a positive thing. 

Now, there’s a lot of misinformation around his presidency and around conservatives, in general. But I would rather have students out there protesting me than not being involved in politics at all, and that’s quite a statement when you think about it. I would rather have activism than apathy, because at least they’re part of the conversation — at least people are interested and they’re engaged, and President Trump has done a tremendous job of that. 

I will say, in the early stages of Turning Point USA, we [would] always talk about what conservative policies would look like. It was very theoretical. Now, we could point to certain states, we could point to the success stories in Wisconsin or Michigan, and contrast that with, I don’t know, California, [which] has been a disaster. But now we can say: This is what happens when a conservative president cuts taxes, cuts regulation. When you have a booming economy, when you stand with your allies you stand with Israel, you stand up to Iran all of a sudden you’re able to say: This is no longer in theory, this is in practice.

[We have the] lowest ever black unemployment rate, lowest ever black poverty rate. All these sorts of things, it’s no longer in theory, and it becomes a lot easier to be able to sell the ideas of free enterprise and American exceptionalism to a generation that is told that these things are not possible, and not the correct public policies to pursue. 

KLAVAN: When people protest, can you engage them or will they just shout you down?

KIRK: Most of them will just try to shout me down. So we have a rule, and I got this rule from the great Ben Shapiro, that if you disagree, you’re allowed to go to the front of the line and ask a question. Despite that, I get interrupted all the time. At my last campus event, five people five different times I was interrupted by different student protesters. When they did that I said, can you please come to the front of the line and let’s have a conversation? But they want nothing of the sort. I’m convinced that they’re doing it because it makes them feel good, it makes them feel morally righteous. It’s virtue-signaling in practice, is really what it is. 

Now when you actually are able to have a conversation, have a rational conversation about well, why do you feel that way? What have I said that you might think is hateful? They’re never actually able to cite any specifics whatsoever. And so if we are the ambassadors of decency and respect and discussion which we should be eventually, those radicals will get pushed out of the general consensus of conversation. 

What I love is [that] I have these events, and I’d go very hard about the American way after the American Left. Because the American Left, they do not go out of their way to expel demons from their ranks, or to denounce radicalism within their thinking. They actually embrace it and they’re okay with it.

So what I find is [that] there’s these liberals that come up in line in the last question they always do this Charlie, I just want to make it clear, I’m not like that, that’s not what I stand for. And I kind of laugh inside [and] I say, well, good. At least now you’re beginning the process of what we conservatives have to do every single day. We have to say, first and foremost we reject all these hateful ideologies this is what we’re not, and this is what we’re for. 

We’re actually forcing the American Left to hopefully become more moderate and to become more decent. But I will say this, that we end up finding more agreement with students who think they are liberal and think they’re leftist despite all the hostility and the backlash, there is more curiosity than there is combativeness. The American socialists on campus, they are decreasing in number but they’re increasing in volume.

So there’s some positives and some negatives to that, and more students think they are liberal when they’re actually more libertarian than they are liberal. They don’t trust the government, they don’t trust big power institutions [that] have a lot of power, and they think being a Bernie Sanders leftist or an Elizabeth Warren leftist is being on the side of freedom. They truly believe that. Because the college professors are very smart, they say, well, true freedom is being able to not have to worry about where your health care is coming from. [They ask students], are you really free if you don’t have everything given to you? 

Listen to full episodes of “The Andrew Klavan Show” on iTunes. 

Watch “The Andrew Klavan Show” on-demand!

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Charlie Kirk To Klavan: Many Students Are Less Liberal Than They Think