Conservatives are often slandered as being racist, classist and misogynistic as a result of their traditional political views. While there are certainly conservatives who may display some of these traits, they are generally condemned by the mainstream conservative movement as being too extreme. Recent months have seen fringe conservatives attempt to legitimize themselves by claiming to be the future of the conservative movement in the United States. These fringe conservatives represent a far-right threat to the conservative movement. In reality, the fringe conservatives and their allies attempt to slander the conservative party by incorrectly claiming that they represent the right-wing of American politics. They are what liberals conflate with the moderate conservatives that make up nearly 50 percent of U.S. citizens.
At the core of the conservative movement is constitutional rights, personal freedoms and economic stability through capitalism. While people may disagree with these political stances, these are in no way “fringe” ideologies. These are mainstream political agendas held by many politically active individuals. The fringe that exists within the right-wing is a loud but small minority that is used to smear anyone right of the center.
In recent months, far-right provocateurs have flooded mainstream conservative events in a desperate attempt for attention and recognition. These far-right individuals are outright rejected by the mainstream conservative movement for their radical, racist and overly nationalistic rhetoric. Led by an individual who hosts a podcast called “America First,” these far-right young men believe in an America for white Europeans. This is by no means the mainstream conservative perspective. The mainstream conservative movement focuses on individual rights, constitutionalism and strong state governments. None of these are in any “fringe.”
One of the largest conservative organizations, Young America’s Foundation, recently distanced themselves from Michelle Malkin, who previously was associated with them. This individual had ties to far-right extremists, and the organization immediately excommunicated her. “The firing comes as a result of Malkin's vocal support for 22-year-old far-right provocateur … and his allies. YAF gives a platform to a broad range of speakers with a range of views within the mainstream of conservative thought," wrote YAF. "Immigration is a vital issue that deserves robust debate. But there is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists." YAF, which is often smeared as being supportive of white supremacists, has made it clear that they will not associate with such figures.
As far-right groups continue to push for recognition and legitimacy, it is essential that both liberals and conservatives alike condemn the far-right for its fascist ideology, illegitimate support base and weak arguments. The true voice of the conservative movement boasts classical liberalism, libertarian economic ideology and a weak federal government that allows local governments to govern their people. Any ideology acting upon race, class or ethnicity, should not and is not welcome in the modern-day conservative movement.
To conclude, there are several key organizations that represent the conservative movement on college campuses. On heavily liberal campuses, such as the UMass system, these organizations are weak in their appearance due to limited membership. Young America’s Foundation represents a conservative movement with an emphasis on free speech and a strong military presence. Young Americans for Liberty is a more libertarian-minded organization with a strong emphasis on prison reform, drug legalization and a weak federal government. Many of their positions promote liberal ideology as well. Turning Point USA promotes capitalist economies, supports a border wall and exhibits heavy support for President Donald Trump, which oftentimes contradicts their small government philosophy. College Republican clubs often exist on college campuses; however, they can push loyalty to the Republican Party rather than the conservative movement. Each of these organizations do have flaws, however, I would suggest true conservative students involve themselves with YAF and YAL in order to truly see how the conservative movement exists within the frame of a college campus.