Political Eugenics

The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by people presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits.


The Republican Party is not yet engaged in the genetic engineering of individuals who are susceptible to fearmongering, alternative facts or election denial.  Instead, they are focused, for lack of a better word, on political eugenics, defined as “discouraging voting by people presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits.”

Yesterday, Cleta Mitchell, a prominent GOP attorney and fundraiser, updated attendees at the RNC donor retreat in Nashville of the latest experiment in the dark art of voter suppression.  Washington Post reporters Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner described Mitchell’s presentation, labeled “A Level Playing Field,” as “a window into a strategy that seems designed to reduce voter access and turnout.”  Not surprisingly, Mitchell targeted voting on college campuses, a population segment which the Knight Foundation and College Pulse estimates voted for Joe Biden by a margin of 71 to 18 percent.  Predictably, her geographic focus included (drum roll) campus voting in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.  Her proposed remedy?  Limit on campus voting stations and preregistration, “allowing 17-year-olds to register ahead of their 18th birthdays so they can vote as soon as they are eligible.”

In a fire hose of irony, Mitchell who actively participated in the “big lie” including being on line with Trump during his infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, justified such actions claiming, “Our constitutional republic’s survival is at stake.”  According to audio obtained by the Post, Trump phoned in to the attendees to endorse her message and promised to make changes in student voting if elected in 2024.

Republican controlled state legislatures are not betting on a second coming of Trump.  Idaho has banned student ID cards as a form of voter identification.  New Hampshire requires out-of-state college students to obtain a NH drivers license to vote.  (The ACLU has challenged the requirement claiming the license fee represents a poll tax.) In 2019, Texas has closed early voting sites on college campuses and is considering legislation that would completely eliminate college polling places.  A pending bill in Arizona would not let students use their college dormitory address for voter registration.

Why this visceral response to voting by college students?  Two factors.  First  according to ALL IN, a non-profit focused on civic engagement by younger voters, their has been a significant increase in student registration and voting.  In the 2020 general election, the percentage of student voters climbed to 66 percent, 14 percent more than in 2016. 

Second, those voters chose Biden over Trump by huge margins.  Consider the following which explains why Mitchell is most concerned about states like Arizona, Georgia and Michigan.  In Arizona, Biden’s margin over Trump among youth voters was 126,000 votes in a state Biden won by just 21,000 votes.  Georgia? Biden’s net youth votes (+188,000) contributed to a 7,000 vote statewide victory.  Michigan?  Biden youth vote (+194,000).  Statewide margin (+148,000). [Source: Tufts University Tisch College Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.]

Which brings me back to Mitchell’s concerns about a level playing field.  One explanation might be Democrats have out-organized Republicans on college campuses.  The data suggest just the opposite is true.  There are three national college republican organizations.

  • National Federation of College Republicans (NFCR)
  • College Republican National Committee (CRNC)
  • College Republicans United (CRU)

Additionally, there are 52 state Federations of College Republicans affiliated with one of the three national organizations or operating as independent entities.  Democrats are less structured but outreach tends to be issue oriented: reproductive rights, gun safety, environment.  One could argue campus based GOP clubs are their own worst enemies.  Let me share one example, the Young America’s Foundation.  It provides a speakers bureau for college Republican organizations.  Among its list of available speakers are Stephen Miller, Dana Loesch (NRA), Kellyanne Conway (of alternative facts fame), Oliver North (Iran/Contra) and Trump sycophants Sean Spicer, Ben Shapiro and Fox News host Jesse Watters.  Instead of forcing cancellations of YAF-endorsed speakers, liberals should welcome these folks on college campuses as they are the best messengers to drive more young voters into the Democratic column.

One more thing.  According to its 2021 IRS 990 filing, YAF had total revenue of 28 million dollars of which 26.5 came from contributions and grants. Major donors include the Koch family and the DeVos family. Total expenses were 20.7 million of which 6.6 million were paid in salaries and benefits and 1.8 million in fundraising.   The current YAF president, former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, received compensation in 2021 totaling $799,357.  Is anyone surprised OLDER Americans are the ones making money under the guise of supporting YOUNG Americans?

Based on its reluctance to support child nutrition and day care programs, the long-standing joke has been Republicans believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth.”  This latest effort to eradicate student voters suggests an equally appropriate meme.  “Life begins at conception and ends at college matriculation!”

For what it’s worth.