College-aged conservatives do exist, and they may be on a college campus near you.
New research from author Amy Binder shows that young conservatives portray their politics in very distinct ways. In a study that focused on two college campuses–one, an elite private university on the east coast, the other a western public university which is much larger–Binder found that these young conservatives had a very distinct way of expressing their political preferences.
Just as Molly Ringwald’s character rebelled by dating Judd Nelson’s character in The Breakfast Club, SE thinks that being conservative is really the only way to go rogue in college anymore. “Doing a march for fiscal responsibility on the quad? That feels rebellious. That feels different and new.”
Several students in Binder’s study said they “enjoyed being the center of attention” as a conservative on campus. And many felt they were learning critical thinking skills because their assumptions differ from the community around them.
“Students said that as conservatives on campus they were getting a better education than liberals were, because liberals are complacent and they’re kind of drinking the Kool Aid that all of the faculty are giving them. And they, the conservatives, were actually thinking about these issues and talking about them with their friends and bringing up all kinds of issues that get other people mad.”
Binder’s book–“Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives”–reports that many conservatives enjoyed being provocative. “They were kind of playing ‘gotcha’ with liberals on their campus.”