As the Republican primaries build to the presidential election, there has been a burst of politically-themed clubs, both online and in school organizations that had lain dormant since the 2008 presidential election. Sophomore Alex Nesterczuk founded the Young Republicans Club again after he “noticed that there were a lot of debates on Facebook that were sparked by the race.”
Junior Andrew Crider said that after seeing that there was a Young Republicans Club, “when I looked I saw that the Young Democrats did not exist … I decided we needed to have a club like this so I decided to host a meeting and try to get a club organized,” Crider said.There has been some understated tension between the two groups.
“I think to some extent that both of the clubs are Marshall manifestations of these national party organizations, and to the extent that any two parties in a two-party system will have a rivalry, we do,” Young Democrats president Brian Potter, senior, said.
Junior Ben Bowie believes that the two clubs share a focus and can work together. Both clubs, he said, were created to organize like-minded people.
“They want to do the same thing as us which is to organize like-minded people,” he said.
Crider also represented the Young Democrats club at the Teen Democrats Convention at Washington and Lee High School on Feb. 18.
The Young Republicans Club held a meeting this Tuesday to elect its club leadership.
Nesterczuk and Bowie were elected as co-presidents.
The online dialogue between the clubs has also inspired spinoff clubs.
The sarcastic “Marshall Young Communists Club” has 38 members, and is “a joke,” according to its info page on Facebook. “I think the Communists might have trouble gaining a lot of traction,” Bowie said.
The Young Democrats and the Young Republicans are planning a debate for a fundraiser. “[The Young Republicans] are going to try to set up debates with [The Young Democrats as well],” Nesterczuk said. “It would be a good thing to allow people to argue their different viewpoints.”
“Everyone in the group wants to engage in a glorious debate,” Crider said.
The clubs are now shifting their focus from attracting members to arranging events.
“We have been talking about making trips to the main sites of … primaries,” Nesterczuk said.