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Bryn Dennehy says that it’s tough to come out of the closet as a conservative on the University of Oregon campus. The school’s reputation as a liberal haven and the abundance of left-minded groups on campus paints a negative stereotype of right-wing individuals.
That’s why Dennehy is heading up one of two new student political groups on campus that aim to give students with conservative views a forum for discussion. Both Young Americans for Liberty and College Libertarians are hoping to give students an alternative outside the two-party system.
“We believe that the size and scope of the government should be reduced,” said Dennehy, president of Young Americans for Liberty. “So it only serves its most basic functions, which is to protect people’s life, liberty and property.”
A recent Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of Americans support a need for a third political party with 26 percent believing the government is doing an adequate job at representing their views. Over the years, the Libertarian Party has seen an increase in party registration — still, they are far behind the 40 million plus registered in either of the two major political parties.
Dennehy is hoping to inform more people about Libertarian ideals through Young Americans for Liberty. He was raised in a conservative household. But frustration over former President George W. Bush’s involvement with Iraq led Dennehy to explore the other side.
The Eugene native took an interest in then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama and read his book, “The Audacity of Hope.” Ultimately, Dennehy described himself as becoming disillusioned by President Obama’s time in office.
“I kind of went through this phase where I thought that maybe the Democrats had it right,” Dennehy said. “Then the more I started to think … I realized that Democrats and