Another day, another political club on campus.
Founded about two weeks ago by College freshman and Government and Politics Association member Peter Cumbo, Penn for Jeb, a political group backing Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, is still in the process of getting the word out via its Facebook page. The club is the latest addition to the rising number of political groups, with the 2016 presidential election right around the corner. Penn for Jeb now stands alongside the already-existing political groups that support Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.
“I kept waiting for someone to start a Penn for Jeb group,” Cumbo said. “That did not happen, so I thought to myself, why don’t I start the group?”
“Right now, the club is still pretty new, so we are working on developing an email list and popularizing the Facebook page,” Cumbo said. He added that he expects the group to grow quickly, as they are planning on having the first general board meeting in the coming weeks.
Wharton freshman and head of the “Think Hoover” blog Eric Hoover said that he was happy with the uptick in conservative political groups on campus.
“The liberal force on campus is really shoved down your throat,” Hoover said. “The way to combat this predominantly-liberal campus is to simply not be silenced. It does not mean that you have to be a jerk, it does not mean that you have to go out of your way to offend people, but it does mean that you have to stand up for what you believe in.”
Hoover added that he hoped the political climate at Penn is becoming more conservative — “But I am not too optimistic,” he said.
GPA President and College junior Sarah Simon said she is also excited about the club.
“Pro-candidate groups are great,” Simon said. “They involve people who are on the periphery or into politics, and that is all we can hope for at GPA and at the school.” As GPA president, Simon said she admires that, with the exception of Penn for Trump, all pro-groups have been founded by GPA members. “The GPA provides a good resource and network to aid these founders when completing all the necessary steps and barriers that go into starting a club on campus.”
Cumbo acknowledged the initial obstacles facing Penn for Jeb, given the level of interest surrounding Penn for Trump.
“Some candidates can be exciting for short periods of time. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are perfect examples of this,” Cumbo said. “In the long run, I think that Jeb’s experience, proven record and ideas will carry him to the nomination.”
To gain initial traction, Cumbo has been in contact with the National Jeb Bush for President Campaign. “I was recently talking to the National Youth Director about getting Penn for Jeb more plugged into the national campaign,” he added.
In his support for Bush, Cumbo recognizes the issues that will directly impact the students at Penn. “One thing that Penn students think about a lot is getting a job after college and economic policy is one thing that Jeb has focused on,” Cumbo said. “I think that is one thing that will greatly affect this election.”
Cumbo said that while Democrats and Republicans have different views on economic policy, he appreciated the election’s relevance on the lives of Penn students.
“While I personally support Jeb, it is up to Penn students to look at the options and say who is the best candidate for their future,” Cumbo said.
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