When Lifelong Republicans become Democrats

Look into your heart, Republicans. You may see what this man saw.

I saw an interesting tweet this morning and clicked the link to see what it was all about. Just as the title suggests, it’s an essay by political blogger and activist, Bob Schneider, author of the Politics Now column on the Chicago Now website, who has recently given up on the Republican party.

There’s a lot that makes me — someone who leans left — really happy about what this conservative had to say:

  • He talks about why he was a Republican for so many years. This helps me understand where Republicans are coming from. I’ve heard versions of his story before.
  • He clearly understands why, in today’s U.S. political system, there are only two parties that matter. If you don’t understand why, read his explanation. (Please don’t use the comments for this post to whine to me about it.)
  • He explains what drove him to make the jump from Republican to Democrat. It’s the same stuff we’re all seeing: dishonesty, betrayal, corruption.
  • He explains, in his section headed “Why I left the GOP,” exactly what Republican viewpoints turn him off. This list is the best part of the essay and, if you only have time to read part of it, read this part. He’s nailed it all, from the GOP’s view on the poor to their xenophobia and outright racism to their hatred of education and science.
  • He lists the reasons why he joined the Democratic party. For the most part, it’s the same reason I finally signed up as a Democrat last year. (I’d always been independent but I wanted to vote in primaries.)

This essay isn’t new. It dates back to July. I’m not quite sure why he tweeted about it today. Maybe it’s because there are additional essays available that refer to it.

It doesn’t really matter that it’s two months old. What matters is that he wrote it and he published it under his own name and he’s someone with a good political following. What matters is that it might help other Republicans do some soul searching and admit to themselves that the GOP isn’t exactly in line with their own personal convictions, especially about how other people should be treated.

Personally, I don’t care if someone is a Republican or a Democrat as long as they are capable of thinking for themselves based on factual information and doing the right thing. Blindly voting for party candidates, even when you know they’re “dumb as a rock,” as

I honestly believe that if far right nut jobs and their media outlets — yes, I’m talking about Bannon/Breitbart, Hannity/Fox News, Jones/Infowars, Limbaugh, etc., etc. — would just STFU or start presenting unadulterated facts for listener/viewer consideration, anyone with a brain would realize how bad things have become in the GOP and politics in general.

It shouldn’t be us vs. them. It should be us.

Got something to add? Great! Use the comments link for this post. But please don’t comment unless you’ve read Mr. Schneider’s essay first. I think you’ll find it as enlightening as I did, no matter how you vote.

3 thoughts on “When Lifelong Republicans become Democrats

  1. KUOW’s Week in Review is a weekly panel discussion with various journalists and political leaders. Former Wa. Attorney General Rob McKenna is a frequent guest and has been talking a lot lately about if he is still a Republican, most recently he’s announced an effort to help get independent/centrist candidates elected. There’s enough discusion of statewide or national issues that somebody outside of Seattle would probably find the show interesting.

  2. Mr. Schneider makes some good points, and I think a lot of what he says is absolutely true. The GOP in its current form seems to endorse and support blind obedience to their parties leaders as a core value, no matter how wrong or abhorrent their behavior or beliefs are to the public at large. The best indication of this is when you see the term RINO (Republican In Name Only) used as the ultimate pejorative term by “conservative” media figures. It’s typically employed when someone who has been a Republican finally appears to have grown either a conscience, a backbone, or both…to the apoplectic consternation of those who apparently possess neither. The casual ease with which the Republican establishment disregards science and fact is also deeply troubling, as no rational policy can be made without both. He also rightly points out that the current slew of attempts to undercut our public education system will have far-reaching negative consequences for our nation.

    When Mr. Scnneider says “The Democratic Party may not agree, but they listen”, he’s only partly right. The Democratic Parties national agenda has become increasingly biased towards the interests of the “urban elite”, endorsing their interests and ideologies almost exclusively. Americans who live in the more rural (and typically more socially conservative) parts of the country find their values and concerns routinely trivialized and ignored. The term “bitter clingers” comes immediately to mind, an example of self-inflicted culture-war collateral damage exceeded only by the more recent “basket of deplorables” quip. Both phrases were coined and first used at DNC fundraising events, and both went on to inflict incalculable damage to the Democratic “brand” in the general elections to follow. Elitist-politico-class gifts which kept on giving…to the Republican.

    Perhaps even more importantly, the establishment wing of the Democratic Party (and the DNC in particular) have an institutional animosity towards our Second Amendment rights that is grossly out of synch with the public at large, and which the vast majority of rural residents in particular see as wrongheaded and intolerable. Stated plainly, the Democrats are on the wrong side of the gun control issue. It’s a perennial blind spot for the party, and no amount of actual facts or statistics can convince them that gun control is STILL the third rail of politics. This isn’t just a rural/urban issue either, any number of recent polls show decreasing nationwide support for yet more gun control laws, despite what their Bloomberg-financed and highly biased news coverage would have you believe.

    And speaking of blind spots, the Republicans aren’t the only ones that are steadfastly ignoring the giant elephant in the room. Our democracy (small d) is doomed unless we get the corrosive influence of corporate money out of our politics. In this respect the Democratic Party is EXACTLY the same as the Republican Party; they only really listen to their two core constituencies, giant multi-national corporations, and the ultra-wealthy. This is manifestly true at the national level, where the tsunami-wave of corporate/plutocrat cash injected into the post-Citizens United political landscape has wiped out every shred of influence that the average citizen used to have. When the political landscape is entirely dominated by big money donors, it’s entirely predictable as to who’s concerns will be addressed by our politicians.

What do you think?