Secret Money Pumped Into Student Government Races To Fight Campus Liberalism – The Ring Of Fire

Secret Money Pumped Into Student Government Races To Fight Campus Liberalism – The Ring Of Fire

Mike, the biggest I guess story that we have
generally heard in the news is about I guess presumably liberal college students, or maybe
a little bit more to the left of liberal, but broadly speaking, liberal college students
becoming very PC, and denying, if we were to take the news reports seriously, hundreds
and hundreds of people opportunities to speak at universities. It is all George Soros-funded, and some type
of great conspiracy. The reality is that to the extent that there’s
some type of outside influence in organing students, it seems that conservatives have
built quite a machine. I think machine is probably the appropriate
word here in terms of what Turning Point USA and Charlie Kirk specifically, this up and
coming conservative superstar. What he has built is a national operation
that is active. They say that they have a presence in more
than 1000 college campuses around the country. They’ve done a lot of things, from inviting
controversial speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos to campus to being involved in the larger
free speech debate on campus. The interesting thing that we found is that
they have a very heavy hand when it comes to student government elections. They’ve been extremely aggressive in terms
of recruiting student government candidates, helping their campaigns through funding of
various means. It could be anything from $7000 or $8000 worth
of campaign T-shirts to providing get out the vote staffers. They’ll actually provide staffers to walk
around campus and round up voters, if you will. Wait a second. Sure. We’ve got to back up a little bit, because
in some respects, this is mind-blowing. It sounds almost like a screenplay. First start off. Tell us who Charlie Kirk is. Charlie Kirk is a 23-year-old conservative
superstar. He started this, his organization, Turning
Point USA, which legally speaking is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a couple of years back instead
of going to college. Basically, he was 18 years old, and he was
able to convince some deep-pocketed GOP donors to get behind him early on. If you’re a regular Fox News viewer, you know
who Charlie Kirk is. He’s on Fox News quite often, and he has become
one of the go-to voices on Fox News to provide the millennial perspective, if you will, on
what’s happening on college campuses. I believe about five years ago, his organization,
Turning Point, their budget was maybe about $52,000 or so. Last year, they had $5.5 million to spend. One of the things that they are spending very
aggressively on is student government elections. There’s an organization out there, $5.5 million
that’s spending. Do you have a sense of what percentage of
that 5.5 million annual budget they have goes to student elections? Just saying it sounds bizarre. It does sound a little bizarre. The short answer there is no. The tricky thing with Turning Point is that
even though their involvement in student elections is quite clear, and at this point rather obvious,
there have been some cases that were documented by student media such as Ohio State University
and the University of Oregon. There were some controversies in those elections
involving Turning Point, because oftentimes when students find out that Turning Point
is secretly backing some candidates, there’s quite a lot of pushback from students. Even with all of that, and then there were
plenty of other examples that I was able to find through my own reporting, but when we
asked Turning Point point-blank about this, they basically flat out denied that they were
even playing in this game, and that they were even active in the student government front. All we have to go off of is some of their
comments, comments to students that were meant to be private but ended up leaking out to
the public. In private conversations with students, Turning
Point has mentioned that this is a top priority for them, that this is a big priority for
their donors specifically. That was something that came up over and over
again as I spoke with folks who used to be affiliated with Turning Point in one way or
another. They mentioned that this whole student government
push, which on the surface is perhaps designed to elevate conservative voices on campus and
to put conservative students in positions of leadership, former Turning Point insiders
repeatedly told me that this was a top priority for the donors. Certainly Charlie Kirk is out in front and
all of this, but it’s the big deep-pocketed donors here that apparently really want to
score some victories on college campuses. Is Turning Point just one? I went to a small college. I went decades ago, and I ran for student
government president. I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned that
on air. I won. Congratulations. Thank you. I did not have any financial backing. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me that
anybody was even interested in backing me. Have elections changed, maybe on bigger schools? Are there other Turning Points? Are there people of other political ideologies
that are out there seeking funds? When these candidates get approached, are
they like, ‘Are you serious? Is this type of scam?’ I don’t understand how people are dropping
thousands of dollars into these races on these campuses. Is it unique to Turning Point, or is it something
that’s a phenomenon that’s going on? At this point at least, it’s largely unique
to Turning Point. In my discussions with folks who have been
involved with student government, these are either current student government presidents
or former presidents who maybe were elected last year and are basically on their way out,
what was telling is, on a bipartisan basis, there were some Republicans I spoke with as
well who were active in student government, there was a lot of alarm at what Turning Point
is doing, because there was this fear that you could have the student voice essentially
being co-opted by outside interests. In its defense, when I spoke with Charlie
Kirk, the head of Turning Point, he argued that there’s nothing to see here, that what
they do is no different than, let’s say, fraternities and sororities encouraging their members to
become active in student government. That does happen. You’ll have progressive groups that might,
College Democrats, College Republicans, that might encourage their members to run, but
there’s a big difference between saying, ‘Hey, you should think about student government,’
and actively, in the case of Turning Point, an outside entity that is actively acting
as campaign manager in these races, not only pumping thousands of dollars into providing
students with supplies and all sorts of things, get out the vote resources, but also helping
them craft their message, designing their campaign logos, really getting in the weeds
in the sense of actually running their campaigns. That was what some of the documentation showed,
that you had email exchanges back and forth where Turning Point employees would be debating
what color the campaign T-shirts should be, and saying, ‘I think I like this color better
than that color,’ and really running the show to a large extent. It’s unprecedented. At least that’s what student government leaders
have been telling me, is that they’ve never seen anything like this before. Do people show up on campus? Do they send Turning Point campaign commandos
in? Are they college students? do people say, ‘Hey, what’s that? Why are you hanging out with this 35-year-old
guy who’s walking around telling you what you should be saying in terms of what you’re
going to be promising to bring to student government?’ Is it a little bit more subtle than that? No, in some cases, that’s exactly how it happens. There are these older folks who are in their
30s, and they’re clearly not students, who will be part of the cavalry, if you will,
that Turning Point sends to campuses, this get out the vote machine. One of the things that they are known for,
is in many college campuses, you will vote electronically and you can vote on an iPad,
if you will. What Turning Point will supply sometimes is
not just the manpower of a bunch of people who will roam the halls finding voters, but
they’ll also be armed with iPads, which has a potentially coercive element to it. It’s that if I’m the Turning Point campaign
worker, and I go up to a student, and I say, ‘Hey, are you interested in voting today? I’ve got the iPad in front of me if you want
to vote.’ If I as a student decide to do that, the campaign
worker’s looking right at me, and they’re going to espouse the virtues of the Turning
Point slate of candidates, and then they’re going to watch me as I push the buttons on
the iPad and vote, which could have a coercive element to it. Certainly, at a number of campuses, students
have noticed, ‘Hey, why is this old guy hanging around here? Why are these folks who are clearly not students
getting involved in campaigns?’ There was a former University of Oregon student
who mentioned to me how a gentleman who looked to be in his 30s came up to him during the
campaign season and was pushing for the Turning Point slate of candidates. The student was just very bothered by this
and said, ‘Hey, get out of my face, guy. You don’t belong here.’ I would imagine. Let’s take a break. When we come back, Mike, I want to ask you
that same question but on a broader sense. Why? What is it that Turning Point A) hopes to
achieve by getting Turning Point-endorsed candidates in positions of student government
power, I guess, across the country? How sustainable is it? Because you can be a great politician, but
you’re going to age out of college two or three, four years later. How successful have they been in electing
their own people? Then lastly, we’re going to find out what
Uber has to do with all of this. We’re going to take a quick break. I’m Sam Seder, Ring of Fire Radio.

22 thoughts on “Secret Money Pumped Into Student Government Races To Fight Campus Liberalism – The Ring Of Fire

  1. People should NEVER believe what Republican's say, every time they say something, you know it's just the exact opposite. If you can't see this, you deserve everything you get from the Trump campaign or you are benefiting financially from this broken system. Tired of the BS literally holding back the evolution of mankind just because they are greedy, selfish assholes.

  2. The noose is tightening. Soon the fascist will throw off their semblance of democracy and their terror will be visible for all to see.

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

    George Orwell,


  3. Man, America needs to get rid of corporations' illicit "rights" to donate ANY money to ANY political campaign, ASAP !!!

         To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

         In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
       Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

        Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

         Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed

  5. Their goal is to undermine affordable college for middle class and poor families so as only the wealthiest of children from the 1% can afford to go to college. As this happens over the years the college voice will slowly change to reflect the ideology of the 1%. It is the continuation of the dumbing-down of America. It started with our public schools and now they wish to spread it through all branches of Education shutting out any possibility of a middle-class. I see what you m********** are doing

  6. I'm so fed up with these republicans doing shady deals to put this evil we have now in power. Someone taught this young man to be a sh?thead. It didn't happen without influence, someone taught him to want to do this crap to others !! Somehow they think if they can get away with it then ITS OK, ……TRUMP And Friends !! Get rid of all who side with him, who stood by and let it happen, who knew and just didn't care, or who knew and thought that this is a way for them to grab the power and control that they always wanted. They are all treasonous to the American People. I don't mean the white supremacist group, they need to go back to Germany where they belong and if they don't want them there, they are without a country, ….oh well, tough sh$t.

  7. These republikkkans will chest with everything they have and thats money .. not putting value on human life or the betterment of it. If we don't put life as the highest value we have nothing ! The rich republikkkans have thrown this country in the 4 lower worlds hell, hunger, anger and stupidity ! Time for the young to figure out what they want .. money or life !

  8. It is very simple…by helping conservative students become leaders it will help limit that student body from returning to protest similar to what happened in the 60s against the Vietnam war. Secondly the old saying "give them to me when they are young and they will mine forever" applies. The more influence the conservatives can gain with young people the more likely they will grow into conservative adults.

  9. question: how many conservatives does it take to change a light bulb?

    answer: 150, plus 3 think tanks, and $500 billion for funding

  10. republicans are such idiots. so campuses are liberal? omg! that must man liberals are indoctrinating the colleges! I mean, it's not like there has been this saying for fifty years proving otherwise that goes "a young man who is not a liberal has no heart, and an old man who is not a conservative has no head"… kids have always been liberals, old crotchety grumpy losers beaten down by life are always conservatives. this won't change that

  11. They are desperate. Like their ideology, they can't win on issues, so donate massive cash and rig student elections.. Get dirty money out.

  12. Progressives advocate for funding schools. Teapublicon libertarians advocate for funding their party.

  13. This is a big deal, and being ignored by the DNC. Machine barely describes the GOP operations. And they're definitely influenced. Like from Israel paying for pro-settlement policies, or whatever oppressive propaganda is current; this is just an example that's well covered in research. Young Republican's has invited NeCons for decades, heavy propaganda has been going as long as I can remember: U of MN. These Turning Point people are insidious, and maybe this gives more information:

  14. Seder!! WHY?! Really?! They're going right into politics and they're very successful. Newt the hellion Gingrich is from Young Republicans. Man Get with the propaganda. Here's a quick CURRENT lesson that, I, nobody, knows for fact. ALEC runs a large propaganda network of think tanks, organized under their umbrella, called State Policy Networks, and they're very active and influential. Then just recently, as of about 2 years ago ALEC added a direct action, known as ACCE or American City Council Exchange, where they're going after every smaller electable post in anywhere U.S.A. Every position!!!! This Trifecta machine is doing a great job of hiding itself and being ignored by every so called informed counter to their actions. There are few, if any organized counters to this vast network. And they're at it 24/7/365. We have ONE newer group working like they are and that's called the State Innovation Exchange, or SiX. Run by Nick Rathod.SO, there's your update. Get with it or hire me!!

  15. Right wingers are so fuckn dirty is sick. This is war and idiocy and greed are their hallmark as they inflict them with corruption spin and theft

  16. As an unemployable old person. I worked part time at a Catholic Charaties run school. They had piles of Tea Party campaign liturature in class rooms. Yet they wanted every govenment dollar they could get their hands on.

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