Reflections on The Buckley Program’s Annual Fall Conference

This October, the Buckley Program hosted its sixth annual conference and gala on the future of the American political party system. Below are two brief reflections written by current undergraduate students.

Andreas Ravichandran, ES ’19

Yale can often be a politically homogenous place, filled with students and faculty that dogmatically espouse a uniformly liberal philosophy that stymies political debate and discussion from anywhere but the Left. The Buckley Program has sought to address this, and through a passionate desire to challenge the existing beliefs of the student body and a strong conviction for free speech, it has aided in continuing a political debate among a student body that might otherwise avoid this dialogue. This past October, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Buckley Conference, where unique speakers provided perspectives on the future of American politics. Panels examined the history and future crafting of the Republican Party’s platform, thereby providing a strategic analysis excluding prior liberal assumptions. From the conference, I was able to walk away with a fuller, nuanced understanding of the Republican Party’s potential long-term strategy towards appealing to broader demographics while still maintaining its core conservatism, and the disagreements within the Party that stem from this. By bringing in these speakers to Yale, the Buckley Program provided intellectually conservative discussions, encouraging rigorous debate and analysis of American politics from angles distinct from the prevailing doctrine of Yale.

Paul Han, BK ’20

The Buckley program is a fantastic opportunity for any member of the Yale Community who values intellectual diversity and discussion. Without exception the 6th Annual Conference reflected these core tenants. I was exposed to a multitude of innovative thinkers and their views on the 2016 election, the changing demographics of the electorate, and the future of our party. The panelists were a breath of fresh air compared to the tired old talking points of the talking heads and pundits of the establishment and the media. I especially enjoyed the panel on “The Future of the American Party System”. The Republican Party does need to appeal to a wider demographic while at the same time uniting the different factions of the traditional coalition: the social conservatives, the economic conservatives, the cultural conservatives. The reception afterword was a valuable opportunity to speak with a wide variety of intellectually curious and passionate individuals. I would like to thank the speakers, the panelists, the guests, and the Buckley Program for this opportunity.