The founder of Turning Point USA — a group of young, conservative political activists on more than 800 college and high school campuses — tells Newsmax TV
his group is thriving because "people are tired of government telling them how to live their life."
Charlie Kirk said he created the nonprofit three years ago to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.
"When I was 18 years old, I felt that the conservative movement was not doing adequate work in the grassroots arena, especially on college campuses across the country," Kirk said Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"I saw what 'Obama for America' was able to do, I saw what MoveOn.org was engaging in, and I took it upon myself to first engage some people in the traditional Republican circles.
"I wasn't taken too seriously being an 18-year-old, but I got some great advice and the inner entrepreneur in me decided to take my graduation money in hand and start this organization with the core belief that we must build a ground game on a 24/7/365 basis."
That ground game: to show college students of the next generation they play a significant role in the "revitalization" of the United States.
"I stumbled across some very generous people … They provided the seed funding and now we're on 800 campuses nationwide with 31 people on staff. We were able to raise $1 million last year and we're going to add another 20 people to our full-time staff this July," he said.
"It's been an incredible journey, but I can't take credit for it, nor can our team. We're just tapping in to a trend that's going across the country. People are tired of government telling them how to live their life.
"They're tired of government being inefficient and corrupt and wasting their money, and we're just plugging in to that movement that I see growing every single day in this country."
Kirk, who attends Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, said his group did an exit poll after the 2012 presidential election in which students were asked why they voted for President Barack Obama.
"One of the most alarming [things] we saw in the southern Ohio belts … was the majority of students said they voted for Barack Obama because they felt he would make the government leave them alone and expand their freedom," Kirk said.
"Well that's the exact opposite of what he stands for. So we're plugging in to a mentality that has already been widespread. But the Republican and conservative movement in general has really failed at articulating and also governing with those kinds of principles and values.
"A lot of young people … say, 'well other Republicans don't do what these Republicans say they're going to do' … so they looked to an alternative and they looked at Barack Obama who was obviously very charismatic...."
Kirk told Steve Malzberg that spreading the conservative word on campus has not always been easy because of a strong liberal intolerance.
"The left on college campuses are very tolerant as long as you share their beliefs. Down at Broward College [in Fort Lauderdale, Florida], we encountered a police officer who said you cannot say 'Big Government Sucks' on a college campus and threatened arrest," he said.
"We encounter these things called free speech zones, which is a new phenomenon on college campuses, where they say free speech is limited to a geographic area.
"Quite an interesting concept, but it's interesting — only conservatives and free market believers have to be a free speech zone, but everyone else – Planned Parenthood – can march around the lecture halls with no problem."
He said he hopes his group will one day be big enough to rival MoveOn.org, the liberal public policy advocacy group and political action committee that has raised millions of dollars for candidates it identifies as "progressives."
And Kirk added that his group will take on Hillary Clinton if it grows strong enough.
"She's investing an incredible amount of money on the college campuses and she's going to have a machine that's formidable if we don't get our act together," Kirk said.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.