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Charlie Kirk On How Conservatives Can Reach Young People


Yesterday, Eric Trump and Charlie Kirk took the stage at Georgetown University to have a conversation about the current political climate, Donald Trump’s presidency, and the failures of liberalism and socialism. Through engaging anecdotes, clever banter, and thoughtful policy analysis, the pair enraptured the crowd of young conservatives and a row of curious Bernie bros.

After the talk, the Turning Point USA founder stayed to answer some of my questions about 2020 and the future of young conservatism.

You work with young conservatives across the country. How do you think the right can best reach young voters, which is predominately a left voting block?

You have to listen, first and foremost, before, and I think we’ve done a lot of that, and there’s increasing concerns among young people about corruption in government, the disenfranchising of students on campuses, the cartel of the colleges, as I call it. We have to be anti-institutional. The institutions have screwed over our generation.

Horrible immigration policy are screwing up our generation, endless and reckless wars, the tech companies are looming threats and a looming giant, and of course the cartel of the colleges. So not just being anti-institution, but being unafraid to challenge them, that’s one of the appeals of Bernie Sanders.

He looks like a crusader, the little guy against the big guy. That’s kind of the way that people view him, that he’s going to push back against the system. And other people want to be, let’s just say practitioners of the status quo. So I think that’s part of the approach therein, and we see a lot of successes on campuses because of that.

You reference the ‘cartel of colleges.’ What are some of the worst instances you’ve seen of ideological suppression, of refusal of diversity of ideas?

There are multiple different issues on campuses. One is that they train anti-American activists to go into our country and staff the highest levels of our government. Look, I’ve experienced it all. I’ve experienced protests, backlash, you name it. But I think the ideological suppression is not as big of an issue as it used to be. Now it’s quiet, firm indoctrination. It is the anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Judeo-Christian radicalism that is infiltrating the minds of our youth.

Do you think Mike Bloomberg will change landscape of the left, to move away from the radical orientation of Bernie Sanders, or do you think his rise is a bit of a false flag?

I think he’s worried, and he should be, because their party is about to go full Bolshevik. And right now, he’s screwing himself up, as I saw in this interview, he said he bought seats or something crazy. It was a gaffe, but he basically said that the way he invested in these races in 2018, he bought Nancy Pelosi’s and others’ seats. And that’s not good for a plutocrat. It’s not good language for someone who’s arguing for a plutocracy.

Mike Bloomberg is the greatest gift to Bernie Sanders, if Bernie Sanders plays his cards correctly. If he turns to Mike Bloomberg and says, “You’re the reason that my revolution is going to succeed,” he could win. And Bernie should.

But Bernie’s weak. He’s a very weak person. He allowed Hillary to steal the nomination from him. Maybe that will happen again, maybe not. I’m conflicted. I want to run against Marxism, because I know that’s what’s brewing in our country, but I actually want a moderate Democrat Party, because I think that’s good for our country. I miss Democrats that actually want what’s best for America. I would love to have a Democrat go up and say “Trump’s not that bad,” because that would be honest, but they’re not honest.

Would I love to see Bloomberg succeed? No, I have no interest and he’s a self-indulgent politician and a narcissist. Do I hope that the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, for the good of the country, might revive itself? I hope so, but I don’t have any hopes that’s going to happen anytime soon. I want people like Ilhan Omar, AOC, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley to be unemployed from politics.

What can young groups like Turning Point and College Republicans do to educate and open the minds of our far more liberal peers, like the Bernie bros, on the perils of this increasingly leftist position? 

You have to find where they’re coming from and then tie them to that. They like Bernie because they think he’s empowering the little man to fight the big man. That’s why they like Bernie. They don’t know what Marxism or socialism or collectivism is. They’ve never had to wait in a bread line or gas line like Benny Johnson did in Cuba when he visited Cuba. They have no idea. They are hyperprivileged elites who go to one of the best schools in the world.

And I don’t know if I made that point as well as I could have tonight, but I tried. What I was trying to say is, you’re going to one of the best schools in the country, you’re going to get jobs you don’t deserve, which I’m fine with because I believe in hierarchies. Don’t for a second try to advocate for a system that is all of a sudden is trying to abolish them. I think it’s somewhat ironic.

I think the way to connect with them is to find root causes, finding what drives them. I think there’s a lot of commonality. I actually think the rise of Bernie Sanders is easy to find connection than indoctrinated Hillary Clinton supporters. They’re just advocating for corruption at that point. They’re advocating for, no matter what it is, a D in front of their name. Bernie Sanders allows us the opportunity to connect with people on certain issues. Bernie Sanders used to be great on immigration, now he’s an open borders socialist. Insane.