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  • Caitlyn Burge-Surles

YRNC: Crenshaw Bashes Conservatives and Populism, Cammack Dances Onstage

The Young Republican National Convention, held to elect new leadership and train delegates, was hosted in Dallas this week and hit high points over the weekend with the Chairman’s Dinner and YRNC Gala on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Texas Young Republican National Committeewoman Lauren Langas opened the first speaker of the evening, Representative Dan Crenshaw, by announcing his name to a fanfare of music that ended in brief confusion. Rep. Crenshaw was nowhere to be seen and after an awkward interchange between two MCs that lasted for several minutes, the music resumed and Rep. Crenshaw appeared.

Rep. Crenshaw’s expletive-filled speech consisted of his primary principles for winning conservative battles: “you can’t get people elected who have no idea what the fuck they’re doing.” He continued by emphasizing the importance of preserving a good nature and relations with those who disagree with conservative values, and spoke of his dislike of populism, saying conservatives should “leave populism to the Left.”

“First lesson, don’t be an asshole.” Rep. Crenshaw stated. “Be a conservative, just don’t be pissed about it.”

The Texas representative recounted a conversation between him and his wife Tara in which she reminded him that “a lot of our best friends are Democrats.” He proceeded to recall a political ad he had recently filmed in which he was proud to be unable to tell whether the lawmakers featured in the ad were Democrats or Republicans.

Rep. Crenshaw ended his speech urging his audience to continue to blockwalk to win more elections and keep fighting a conservative culture war, stating that in order to stand for freedom, “you have to have a backbone.”

Following Rep. Crenshaw’s speech, three young students were inducted into the Young Republicans’ 1856 Society, which “highlights Young Republican leaders serving as key examples in our cause” according to the Young Republicans Federation website. Benji Backer, who founded the American Conservation Coalition in 2017, announced that “conservatives are the true environmentalists.” Texas state representative Caroline Harris agreed with many of Rep. Crenshaw’s previous statements on stage, including the need for laws to be explained to laymen more effectively. Rep. Harris partly credited the TPUSA funded organization Run GenZ for success in her campaign, and expressed her support for conservative school board issues, saying “you can’t show our kids dirty books in schools.”

Entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Vic Keller “deputized” his young audience as fellow entrepreneurs and mentioned that he was “not even concerned” about college degrees when looking to hire, but instead focuses on character and “a passion for growth.”

Following Mr. Keller, the student MC who introduced Representative Russell Fry referred to the Civil War as “the war of northern aggression.” Rep. Fry asserted that in the 2024 elections Republicans would “hold the House, take back the Senate, and win the White House” and that these elections would be “the most important election we’ve ever had.”

Presidential candidate and Create Church pastor Ryan Binkley took the stage next, touting a message of faith and renewal for America. He proudly discussed his “seven year economic plan” for America and recounted his campaigning experiences in Iowa, saying that the Iowans he had met “don’t really know much about our debt.” Although Binkley is based in DFW, his efforts to excite and motivate the audience with encouraged chants of “move beyond 46” seemed to fall on deaf ears as most onlookers were preoccupied with table discussions or their phones.

Representative Kat Cammack closed out the event, dancing on stage to Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” and quipping that her spanx was suffocating her. Rep. Cammack countered Rep. Fry’s sentiments by stating that “this is not about ‘24,” referring to the upcoming elections, and adding that this election is not “the end all be all.” Among a plethora of jokes and a statement about 2023’s YRNC being more subdued than previous years, Rep. Cammack told her young audience that “every single one of you in this room, you were made for a time such as this.” After declaring “we are the defenders of the Republic,” the Florida representative awarded outgoing Young Republican National Chairman Rick Loughery a flag for founding the first Young Republican Congressional Caucus.

Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, the final speaker in the evening’s lineup, was unable to attend the YRNC due to a “family emergency.”

The evening closed with Young Republicans anticipating the following day of speakers and training, as well as Saturday night’s YRNC Gala.


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