Buried in a long Vanity Fair profile of young Republican women in college are two quotes uttered without any sense of embarrassment: “I have never felt oppressed in my life because I’m a woman,” says 19-year-old Caitlyn McKinney. “I feel oppressed at this campus because I’m a conservative,” says her friend, the also 19-year-old Cammie McMahan. The piece repeatedly refers to their opinions and the policies they support as “conservative,” which is perhaps a way of not saying that they’re often misogynist and racist.
These women, for the most part, are white and come from Republican families; they share memories of having Fox News on in the house and hearing grandpa point and wag his finger at Democrats. The policies these women support seem tied together not necessarily by ideology or partisanship, but more so by the idea that certain kinds of people are always right in this world and everyone else should be treated with scrutiny.
Take, for example, these young college Republican women’s take on Christine Blasey Ford:
It was a few days after Brett Kavanaugh had been confirmed, and Cammie and Caitlyn said they were pleased with the decision. They believed Christine Blasey Ford was assaulted by someone, they said, just not by Kavanaugh (this was also the central conservative talking point).
Still, they said, certain things about Ford’s story had made them skeptical, including the timing of the accusation. “And, this seems really bad to say,” said Cammie, “but at the end of the day, even if it did happen, there was no penetration—it’s not rape.”
Their views on abortion are just as retrograde and abysmal:
And what about in the case of rape? I asked.
“It’s not that baby’s fault that it happened,” Caitlyn said. “When I hear about people who have abortions, it kind of upsets me ‘cause it’s just an inconvenience to them to have that baby, right? And, like, incest accounts for only a small portion of cases.”
Does it come as any surprise that most of these women’s classmates are not interested in hearing this shit?
“They don’t want to hear our opinions at all,” said Caitlyn. “The most depressed I have ever been is at this campus,” said Cammie.
Maybe that’s because they make excuses for a man with a long, well-documented history of saying racist things:
“I don’t think Donald Trump is racist,” said Caitlyn McKinney, one night in September over dinner at the Top of the Hill, a Chapel Hill restaurant with a view of the mountains. “He’s just making himself a consumable product,” said Cammie McMahan. Like Maggie, Cammie and Caitlyn said they believed the president’s stoking of race hatred was just politics—a kind of “branding.”
Words! Do they mean anything?
“Morally, I don’t stand with him,” said Cammie. “He’s not moral,” said Caitlyn. “But what he represents for the Republican Party, I strongly support,” Cammie said.
The reporter, Nancy Jo Sales, relied heavily on McMahan and McKinney for quotes in this piece, which must have been efficient because the two just seem to parrot each other and finish each other’s sentences. Two others make appearances: Maggie Horzempa (who Sales notes is white and blonde), who says she grew up in an anti-Clinton household and almost got into a fight with another college student for her support of Trump, and Gabby Derosier, who calls herself a libertarian and struggles with how to view men with the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings. They all cite a hostile reactions from other students as a way that their life is hard:
“They say we’re white supremacists, racist, misogynistic, and we have internalized misogyny,” said Cammie McMahan, 19, the College Republicans’ secretary, who wore a G.O.P. T-shirt, and a frown.
They get called other names:
“Name-calling is the first place they go,” said Caitlyn, who has that lilting North Carolina accent that makes everything sound gentle, even when it’s not. “They say they want to be all intersectional and everything,” said Cammie, “except when it’s us.”
Sounds really, really tough. Best of luck to them.