Switching Political Parties

In the mood for a chat about politics? I’ve been collecting my thoughts (and great links) so I can discuss them with you.

First topic: Have you ever changed political parties? If yes, I’d love to hear about it. How old were you? What made you change? Did it feel like a big deal to switch?

This is on my mind because I read a terrific profile of Elizabeth Warren’s ideological journey. You may not know that she switched political parties. I’m impressed that she pays attention, gathers data, and changes her mind when warranted. It’s a quality I value in a politician.

I’ve switched parties too, but for me it wasn’t as decisive as Elizabeth Warren. I know this is repeat info for some of you, but I grew up with a Republican Mom, and a Democrat Dad, and had positive feelings for both parties. As I went off to college I thought of myself as more of a Republican, though I was always adamant about not voting for one party.

I tried hard to evaluate candidates individually, without worrying about their political parties. I was looking for good people, who I believed had a strong moral compass, and who I believed wanted the best for our country. I knew those people could be found in both political parties. This led me to vote for both Democrats and Republicans over the years — including presidential candidates — and I didn’t strongly identify as one party or another.

When Tea Party candidates took over the Republican Party, I thought of myself as more of a Democrat than a Republican, and that still holds true. From my point of view, the Democratic Party is still left of middle, but the Republican Party continues to move far, far, far to the right, and I just can’t relate anymore. (I realize others see this shift differently than I do.)

I’m not the only one who feels the Republican Party has changed too much — especially under Trump. Here is Iowa State Representative Andy McKean on his recent decision to leave the Republican Party, and this opinion piece in the New York Times talks about how the Republican Party is nearly destroyed.

That’s super troubling to me. I want two strong parties and I appreciate the push and pull of conservative and progressive ideas. To my mind, the ideal is that both parties are pretty much in the middle — one just to the left, and one just to the right. Both parties are working toward the same goals, but each group approaches how to achieve those goals in different ways. And that’s the whole debate.

For example, the bi-partisan goal of both parties would be: Healthy citizens who have access to high quality, affordable health care. And the debate would be: We know employer-provided insurance isn’t working, and the employment landscape has changed drastically. So what should be do instead? Should it be single payer, or Medicare for all? Should we model it on a country with universal healthcare? Should we make it more of an open marketplace between states? Or are we coming up with a totally new plan?

Citizens should be able to switch back and forth from party to party without it feeling like they are losing part of their identity. Someone might like a hypothetical Republican plan on healthcare, and a hypothetical Democratic plan on immigration. And they could vote for the candidates most likely to implement those plans.

The second topic on my mind: Something is going to fill the vacuum that the currently unrecognizable Republican Party has created. Something needs to fill it. Remember, Mueller, who is continually disparaged by the right, is a life-long stalwart Republican. But the current Republican Party (I think it needs a new name for clarity; how about Trumpists?), the Trumpists don’t want people like Mueller in their party. So where do the true conservatives go? So far, conservatives have either given in and become Trumpists, or they stand independent, without a party.

This is a problem. And not just for true conservatives. Harvard polled young voters and just 23% say they’re GOP, 68% disapprove of Trump, only 18% believe Baby Boomers “care about people like me”, and 61% are concerned about moral direction of country.

Historically, we know young voters will often choose a different political party than their parents, sometimes just to be different and establish independence. But where will they go? If they don’t want to be Trumpists, and don’t want to be Democrats like their parents, then what?

I think there’s a huge opportunity for young true conservatives to establish a New Republican Party. I’m picturing something just right of center. I’m picturing a total rejection of Trumpists — a disavowal, and clear recognition that Trumpists are not true conservatives. I’m picturing this New Republican Party drilling down to core conservative beliefs, and then taking every current political issue — the environment, gun control, women’s right, etc. — and looking at them through the lens of those core beliefs. I’m picturing bipartisan goals for the country, with New Republicans debating with Democrats on the best way to achieve those goals, and then working together to actually achieve them.

I imagine it could start with a podcast, and then turn into a radio show — something that makes Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson seem out of place and out of touch; making clear they are voices only Trumpists would care about.

When I was 18 and heading to college, this is how I would have described conservatives:
– Conservatives prioritize fiscal responsibility.
– Conservatives work toward a healthy economy that rewards unselfish businesses and punishes greed.
– Conservatives look for ways to limit government without putting citizens’ quality of life at risk.
– Conservatives take pride in being good stewards, preserving natural resources, and truly conserving what we have.
– Conservatives prefer slower social changes, using history, data, and research to back up policy, and providing adequate time for popular opinion to get on board.
– Conservatives have no stomach for corruption and manipulation.

I don’t recognize any of those things in the Trumpists (our current Republican Party). But they still seem like decent notions and valid approaches to governance. I would be delighted to see a New Republican Party come to be. I would love to see New Republicans look at a topic like gerrymandering and voter suppression through core conservative beliefs, and then reject them as the shameful stain they are. I would love true conservatives to have a place to land that was just right of center.

What about you? Would a New Republican Party be appealing to you? Or to your young adult kids?

The third political topic on my mind is coverage of the women candidates versus the men candidates who are running for President. Here are a few articles I’ve saved:
– What Changes When the Presidential Field is Full of Mothers
– After getting burned in the last election, some women despair that a woman isn’t electable.
– Kate Manne on the way the idea of “electability” is used as a cudgel against female candidates.

I LOVE that there are so many women running for president. I want that to be the norm. I want it to be so usual and expected that no one even notices. But male-heavy coverage is making me nuts. The women are coming out with well thought out policies, and the men keep getting attention for… existing?

Fourth topic: I’m worried that our next elections won’t be free and fair. I worry about Facebook. One of the reasons Russia was able to manipulate our election was because Facebook was so scared of accusations that they unfairly censor the right. (Here’s proof that Russian interference affected the outcome of the 2016 election.) And Facebook finally admits it is under siege from billions of fake accounts trying to game its systems. I also found this article on why Twitter won’t treat white supremacy like Isis quite troubling. From the article:

“With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.

In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.

The employee argued that, on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material. Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda, he argued.”

Your turn. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this — switching parties, the idea of a New Republican party, election worries — any of it.

P.S. — I had lunch with my friend Susan last month when she was visiting from New York. She is a political philosopher and expressed the idea that women aren’t really interested in politics or political philosophy. I was shocked. I couldn’t relate to that idea at all. How about you? Do you feel like that’s true for the women around you? If yes, do you see the same disinterest from men too? Or do you see it as a female thing?

83 thoughts on “Switching Political Parties”

  1. Like you, I never really considered myself either Republican or Democrat, but usually voted Republican. In fact, to vote for a particular candidate I liked in a primary election, I had to register as a Republican. Also like you, I saw the Republican party changing into something I didn’t like and I quickly became an unaffiliated voter. I would love to see a new Republican party emerge and feel like it would definitely benefit our country. Love this thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

    1. I am a lifelong registered republican, but I didn’t vote for Trump. I have lost all faith in a “moderate” Republican party after this week’s impeachment circus, and my switch to independent is in the mail as I type this. We need someone with a conscience to lead our nation, not a politician.

  2. Do you follow Jessica Yellin on Instagram? I love her approach to reporting the news and her focus on cutting through the noise to report actual “news”. I love her daily Instrastories. @jessicayellin is her Instagram handle. I thought about her when you wrote that women are not as interested in politics – she often talks about how mainstream news is often delivered in a way that is off-putting to women and she tries to address that and is actually able to deliver news on her own now how she wanted to do it when she worked for major networks but was unable to in those settings.

    1. Yes. She’s great! My daughter Olive told me about her and I really appreciate her Instafeed.

      And I totally agree with the idea that news is often delivered without women in mind. I was trying to think of a comparison, and I thought of literature. If I’d only been introduced to literature via Hemingway, or other hyper-masculine writers, I would conclude I don’t like literature (it’s true, I’m not a Hemingway fan). Political news, political commentary, and political philosophy have almost always been delivered by men for men. If women don’t seem interested, perhaps we need new voices.

      1. Not that I haven’t already said enough in these comments, but Hemingway and Steinbeck can both go pound sand. Horrid stuff. I could feel my brain swelling in anger and my right eye start twitching when I had to read them or any of the men from the Beat Generation.

        Imagine being an American Studies major with THAT view point. Win friends I did not in my literature classes.

  3. I am currently unaffiliated, but was a registered Republican until about 6 years ago. I, too, couldn’t see myself anywhere in the Tea Party-controlled landscape. When I was registered as a Republican I never felt ashamed to vote for certain candidates, like Jon McCain. He was a moral leader and his core values closely matched mine at the time. Now I can’t imagine voting for a Republican, mostly because all of them support Donald Trump in one way or another. I love your ideas about a new Republican party and would really love to see a revolution and get back to a place where I’d feel comfortable overall voting for either party as an unaffiliated voter.

  4. Oooh! I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve loved your politically-minded posts over the years, and I would actually credit YOU with helping me refine my sensibilities.

    Growing up and in college (both undergrad and graduate schools), I would’ve said I was a conservative, for the ideas you articulated above about the conservative thought process. Animal Farm is one of my favorite books, and I despair of a government that is too large and gluttonous, because I believe mass corruption is the result. Although, I recognized (and still do!) there are some areas where government oversight is necessary, particularly with anti-trust and monopolies. I typically called myself a Roosevelt (as in Teddy) Republican. I was generally for immigration, with a focus on securing our borders better. I’m ashamed to admit I had beliefs that a part of being poor was due to the person’s own lack of effort or motivation. I’m not saying that particular thought process is a feature of conservative thought, but it certainly is a bug.

    However, I read a lot, and not just voices that are similar to my own thought processes. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I want to be able to challenge myself, so parts of my political beliefs changes more rapidly than others. As an example, in 2008, I was a bit confused as to why we were arguing about the right for two consenting adults to marry each other. It’s no one’s business who gets a marriage license and can be recognized by the state and federal government as spouses.

    The biggest change, however, was in 2015, when my son was born and I became a mother. It was as though I could see the world through a different lens, and I ached for all mothers who lacked the resources they needed and wanted to ensure their children were safe, happy, and healthy. I wanted a kinder, better world for him and for the other children who he would grow up with. I didn’t see the makers of that world in the Republican Party. I believe Trump to be a charlatan who happened to tap into a sentiment that was brewing around the country (largely that white, blue-collar folks were being neglected by both parties).

    I also read more voices from WOC and POC, and that drastically altered my view of how we should handle the poor and health care. Your very fine posts about guns changed my view on guns and gun ownership completely. I proudly donated to Every Town this year and will be selling my handgun this summer.

    I do want two strong parties, and I’m discouraged by what has happened to a party that was once my political home. I hope they right themselves soon for the good of our nation, but would imagine it’ll take about 15 years to get what’s happened to it out of the party.

    Ooof. Sorry for the treatise!

    1. “As an example, in 2008, I was a bit confused as to why we were arguing about the right for two consenting adults to marry each other. It’s no one’s business who gets a marriage license and can be recognized by the state and federal government as spouses.”

      I hear you. I think that’s one of the topics that I’d like to see looked at through a true conservative lens. I believe true conservatives would take a “we don’t need the government butting in” and “we should all mind our own business” approach, and ultimately conclude: Why would we care whether or not two consenting adults married?

  5. I cannot bring myself to register with either party. Have you read/ heard Maria Shriver speak about this? Surprisingly, she says she is a registered Independent. I honestly didn’t know that I could register as one. I believe that most Americans fall slap dab in the middle, as do I. I can’t stand to see what has become of either party!!! I don’t know who to believe anymore when I read news about any issue!! It’s all very disheartening!

    1. I have a lot of respect for Maria Shriver and I’ve read that she considers herself an independent.

      Personally, I have a really hard time with the “both sides” complaints, you know? I mean, as the Twitter article explained, if social media sites auto-filtered posts supporting white supremacy, many posts from current Republican politicians (Trumpists) would be removed, but not from Democrats — because Democrats don’t support white supremacy. That alone is such a marked difference between the Democrats and Trumpists that we really can’t compare them in any helpful way.

      If you want to compare the political parties of 20 years ago, then sure, that’s great, but I don’t think comparing the current parties is fair. Of course, you certainly don’t need to be a Democrat, or support the Democratic party, but describing both parties as equally bad is disingenuous, don’t you think?

      1. Larissa Phillips

        I have been chided by my friends for making the “both side” complaint. I am a lifelong Democrat/Progressive who finds the left is going too far.

        It is becoming authoritarian and extreme (mandating pronouns, calling Free Speech racist, pushing transgender rights over the rights of women athletes, calling for open borders, embracing racist tropes to fight racism, considering all forms of assault/coercion to be rape…).

        Many of us lifelong Dems and Progressives are uncomfortable with what’s happening here.

        I believe in civil rights and free speech. I think MLK was a genius, and that his unifying vision is the one to pursue. I do believe in transgender rights, but think there needs to be a separate sports category or we will lose women’s sports. I think we need to rethink hormone treatments and surgery and prosthetics for children and teens.

        I think the basic tenets of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights are still radical ideas with obviously imperfect applications, but that we should stick with them, because they are the best we have.

        I don’t think college should be free (cheaper, yes), and I think forgiving all college debt is unfair to those who didn’t take out massive debt or didn’t go to college.

        These beliefs put me out of sorts with many of my progressive friends, and with a lot of the 2020 Dem platforms I’ve heard so far.

  6. I am a registered Independent and have been as long as I could vote. I voted for Hillary in the 2016 election. It is interesting to me that the results of the 2016 election had the exact opposite effect on me as it had on you. While I was shocked that Trump won and felt defeated, I was appalled at the way the democrats, leftest and Hillary voters treated the people who voted for Trump. They called them racists, bigots, idiots and anything else. I was ashamed to be a part of an ideology who were being so hateful. On the contrary, what I saw was that people were so desperate to be heard that they felt they had to vote for Trump. And instead of listening to those people (many from the middle of the country) the democrats vilified them even more and have pushed them away. I see the democratic party as being just as unrecognizable as the republican party and am disgusted with both. As a result, I have remained an Independent (so have not changed my party affiliation). I will vote for the candidate who reaches out to as many hurting people as possible, if such a candidate exists.

    1. I think you and I must have totally different news sources, Emily. From the election through today, every major news publication I read (both left and right leaning) has done story after story after story about the experience of blue-collar-joe-in-middle-america. I know I’ve shared many of them. Book clubs across the country (including mine) read Hillbilly Elegy in an attempt to gain a better understanding about fellow citizens who feel left behind. I have easily read 3000 pages in an attempt to “understand where Trump voters are coming from” and make sure I’m approaching discussions with compassion.

      I imagine you’ve seen many of these same stories?

      I’m sure my point of view is also affected by the comments I’ve had to delete from my blog — literally hundreds and hundreds of Trump enthusiasts calling me whore and c*nt and threatening my children and telling me to f*ck myself. I realize not everyone has had to deal with angry Trumpists on a personal level for an extended period of time.

    2. You’re appalled to see people called racists, bigots and idiots? Are you also appalled to see people called rapists, murderers and far worse? Are you appalled at people being ok with separating desperate families and putting children in cages?

    3. Hi Emily. I wanted to reply to your disgust at Hillary voters who called Trump voters racists, bigots, etc. I realize there is a distinction between someone who voted for Trump and the people who attend his rallies. The latter group are racist or at least apologists for racist ideology. A crowd who cheers at the characterization of Mexicans as rapists (and chant Build the Wall), the ones who cheer about Muslims being denied entry into this country, and who cheer when the president advises beating up protestors or to jail his political opponents is racist and bigoted and is, as Hillary said, irredeemable. If you don’t think those comments or opinions are so bad, please imagine that you are a person of color hearing them. I’m half Hispanic/half Middle eastern. How do you think those rallies make me feel?

  7. This is such a good topic. I registered as a Republican when I was 18 because that’s what my parents were registered as and it seemed like the thing to do – in my naivety I thought that all families voted the same way and that we would decide together how we would vote. Obviously, I’ve discovered that’s not the case. As I became more aware, I’ve always voted for people that I felt would represent me best on the issues that were important to me regardless of party, and felt like my vote got to be a ‘spoiler’ vote for the Republicans as the ideology shifted farther and farther away from my values and beliefs. Several years ago I switched my registration to the Democratic party so that I could vote for a candidate in the primary and because I couldn’t stand the messaging I was getting. I probably should switch my registration to be an Independent, because that seems to be the better fit, but in the end, I think it’s the actual vote that counts, so I’ve let it stay where it is and will keep up my independent thinking and voting.

    1. Deciding whether or not to register with a party feels tricky. Like, back in the day when I was voting for people in both parties, it would have been nice to participate in primaries for both parties.

  8. I’ve been a lifelong Democrat. As a Jewish girl growing up in Barry Goldwater’s neighborhood in 1964 when he ran for President, I felt both anti-semitism and also I was called a “communist or communist dupe” by my Republican teenage friend, and dropped by another friend when he found out I was for LBJ, not Goldwater. I have always been against using militarism for solving international problems (something both Dems and Repubs are guilty of). As a teenager I was aware of Jim Crow in the South, and in Arizona, we had what my dad called “de-facto segregation”. (Jews were also kept out of country clubs, etc). This notion that Conservatives want slower change rings false to me. They don’t want to change where change means giving up privilege whether that’s regarding people of color (esp. Blacks and Native Americans), women, or keeping the poor poor, or in the case of our young people, keeping them indebted for the rest of their lives if they wish to go to college and their parents can’t pay. What Repubs call Socialism, Europe calls “quality of life” when you have affordable, accessible health care and free education for all. The Dems that are most left of center stand for these as a matter of decency and humanity. I hope the Republican party can replace itself with something that doesn’t funnel money up to the rich (with the lie of trickle down happening — never did!) I have no idea what that party would look like, but very very different from what it was, because IMHO it hasn’t been a decent party for a long time. What it has done well is gerrymandered districts, collaborated FOX “news”as a means to lie to its followers, and created hatred and division while the leaders steal the riches for themselves. All that said, I want to say to you, Gabby, how deeply grateful I am for all that you create, all you contemplate, and all you share. You inspire open-mindedness and open hearts. Thank you!

    1. “This notion that Conservatives want slower change rings false to me.”

      I can totally see that. And I agree that what is called socialism in the U.S. and is feared by some, is just everyday happy life in Europe.

      I didn’t mean to imply that the things I listed about conservative belief were hard facts — they are just what I thought conservatism was as I went out into the world as an 18 year old. It may help to remember that though my Dad was a Democrat, he was one of only a handful in our town (St. George, Utah). So I was raised in a very conservative town, in a very conservative state, and it’s no surprise my views on conservatism were very sunny.

      My thoughts on what conservatism definitely changed as I got out and saw the world — for sure my 8 years in New York changed my views a ton. But even in New York, I felt very open to both Republican and Democratic candidates. I didn’t see one party as good and one as bad — I could see why people were attracted to both. And then the Tea Party took over and that changed things in a big way, making me much less open minded to Republican candidates. If you told me the Republican party was headed in a bad direction before the Tea Party, I would believe you, I just didn’t see it for myself until then.

      1. I love your comment and feel very much the same way about the current state of things. I do think that the Republican party as a whole has changed, even though there were many people within it who were advancing a hateful/greed-filled agenda the whole time. I just knew Republicans in and out of politics who were still decent people, more in line with what Gabby’s thoughts on what conservatism was. All that being said, I never ever thought I’d look back at George W. Bush as not such a bad guy, but here we are and I’m scared it will not only continue but worsen.

  9. As an Australian with a limited understanding of the US political system I would have thought that you would be ‘left leaning’ Gabby. I was surprised to read that your values tend toward slightly right of centre.

    1. Oh. I’m totally left leaning, and have been since the Tea Party came to be — I thought of myself as pretty centered before that, but did lean right when I first went to college. In this post I’m just trying to communicate that I would value it if the U.S. had a strong, sensible party that was right leaning. We don’t currently have one and I think we are worse for it. I think the push and pull between conservative thought and progressive thought is valuable, and in theory, helps vet all ideas.

  10. Over the past year I have been so impressed with 2020 candidate Andrew Yang. He’s done a number of podcasts with people who don’t necessarily share his political ideology but yet they have a thoughtful, insightful conversation that explores all kinds of problems that Americans face. His podcast on Ben Shapiro’s show is basically the political discussion of my dreams. Ben Shapiro seems like, as a political pundit, a good resource for conservatives who are hoping to reimagine the party. His other episode with Joe Rogan really had me reconsider the policies typically associated with the right. Anyway, I am more excited than I have ever been before for an election. I think that America is going to recognize how poverty and hopelessness have contributed to fear based ideology (on all sides) and take the plunge to try something more optimistic. I’m probably crazy but I just feel it. Here’s a link to the Yang/Shapiro podcast.

    1. I know I’ve mentioned this before but when I started getting active again on Twitter, I looked up lists of “best conservatives to follow” so that I would make sure I wasn’t only hearing progressive voices. There are several I really appreciate — though I admit they are all #nevertrumpers — but I had to unfollow Ben Shapiro. (You know that term “triggered”? Ben Shapiro totally triggers me.) That said, I’ve been curious about Andrew Yang, so I appreciate the link and will see if I can find some other interviews with him.

      1. Julie Schoelzel

        Yeah just checked out Shapiro’s Twitter and it is extremely disappointing. Ugh. I don’t really tweet. I forget to check people out there!

        1. Great post Gabby. I am a swinging voter and really try to analyse candidates and vote to those who are most aligned to my views and have personal qualities I admire. My biggest concern is about the impact of FB and how information is skewed by that medium. This TED talk is excellent.

  11. Julie Schoelzel

    One of the interesting things Ben Shapiro said recently was having regretted things he said in the past. Sometimes I expect people to be better without evolving which isn’t something I actually like about myself. I’ve only listened to a few of his shows so it’s entirely possible that I missed something. But,his ability to express regret about getting caught up in the fervor struck a chord with me. But I am far from very knowledgeable about him and definitely could have missed something!

  12. I have mentioned that I have been a registered Republican all my life. I am pretty close to center (fiscally conservative & socially more liberal) and often didn’t really care which party won the White House as long as the best person available ran the country. Watching Trump, with his love of bigotry, narcissism and pettiness, and the Republican party’s emphasis on the party winning over what’s best for the whole country really put the nail in the coffin for me. The complete dismantling of the affordable healthcare act with nothing to put in it’s place is so irresponsible I don’t have words. It was simply a braggy checkmark with absolutely attempt to fix it.

    I have a lot of friends who have switched parties, most being lifelong Republicans like myself. The two that stand out are my husband’s “die hard GOP til I die” family. The entire family changed to Democrat because of Trump. It’s something so in left field that I never even considered it being a possibility. The second is my cousin who served in the US House of Representatives as one of the most prominent Republicans in his state. It was a huge deal when he announced he was changing parties. We wondered if he would go Independent but he was so disgusted he officially changed his party to Democrat. His public statement was similar to Andy McKean’s.

    1. As a Republican, does the corruption and lack of any moral values outside of greed bother you at all? I ask because many Republicans I know cite this as a reason for being conservative and affiliating as a Republican.

      1. Philly: It does. You state that many Republicans you know cite the lack of moral values as a reason for being conservative. I get that obviously as I was Republican too. But for the life of me, how an any moral loving Republican get on their soapbox and back Trump?? I’m not asking this to be a jerk. It’s completely confounding to me. Here’s a guy who is a narcissist. He has cheated on not one but THREE wives…with porn stars. He’s twice divorced. He’s admitted to openly sexually assaulting women because he feels he’s earned the right. He has insulted veterans, those with special needs, the appearance of other politician’s wives, people of color, called Nazi supporters good people….and on and on. How can that be remotely moral? No President in modern times has EVER been that disgusting. If the shoe was on the other foot, Conservatives would absolutely vilify them. You have to admit that.

        Now don’t get me wrong. To think that Democrats aren’t without flaws is stupid. There is certainly no politician, or human for that matter, without something to hide in the closet. I’m too jaded. But on the scale of moral corruption, I think Trump and Bill Clinton are at the top. The difference to me and the reason I ultimately switched is because Trump is a bully in the worst way who doesn’t have the moral or emotional capacity to bring this country together. He literally doesn’t care. His foremost goal is “to win”…and by “win” it can be anything that he think’s makes him look like a loser that day from trade tariffs to twitter accounts. Fundamentally you cannot “win”. Not everyone will be all Blue or Red or Christian or Muslim or whatever. You can’t have a 100% of anything. To make things work, you have to move toward the center. To admit the opposition has some decent ideas. To sacrifice some of your wants to meet in the middle.

        Look I didn’t vote for Obama either time. But he was an upstanding, respectable leader who valued the office of the President and the symbolism it carried for this country. He clearly loved his family and wife and you could see it wasn’t an act. When he left office, Obama told Trump…”Hey fix the ACA. Call it whatever you want. Call it Trumpcare. The people need healthcare to work and be affordable in this country. Now that you have the majority in Congress, please fix it.” That’s what a good leader does. They give up personal glory for the good of the people. Can you honestly say you could see Trump be that kind of person? He can’t

      2. Philly: Sorry it’s me again. I know…wordy. But thank you for sticking with me. To your credit, your question has made me think deeply which is something I like to do. I wondered, why would a Conservative who places moral values (other than greed) stand by someone like Trump? Especially when it goes contrary to what they stand for most?

        I think it’s because humans have a very difficult time changing. They’ve affliated themselves with something they think is “right” or the “best”. It can be anything from a sports team to a religion to a country club etc. Humans like to feel better and fit in. And their behaviors are often shaped by cultural norms. If you’re born in say Utah, you are more likely to be raised Mormon and conservative. If you are the exact same person but born in Saudi Arabia, you’re more likely to be Muslim and even more extremely conservative. That social pressure can be both small, like a family culture or large like societal norm. It’s hard for people to go against what’s ingrained around them especially if they get a negative response. That’s why this blog topic is so particularly interesting and valuable. Some can see it for its face value…a political statement. But truly it’s much deeper, it’s asking the thoughts of people who did what is contrary to typical human behavior….go against what they’ve been culturally taught and affiliated with their whole lives. And why. Okay..I’ll try and stop now (but no guarantees lol!)

    2. “The complete dismantling of the affordable healthcare act with nothing to put in it’s place is so irresponsible I don’t have words. It was simply a braggy checkmark with absolutely attempt to fix it.”

      YES. It’s still happening and it’s driving me crazy. And the whole thing simply seems to be an attempt to say f*ck you to President Obama. Like that’s the goal? Your constituents will lose coverage but oh well? It’s more important to you to “own the libs”?

      So many people forget that the ACA came from a conservative think tank and was first implemented by a conservative Republican Governor. They can’t seem to get past the idea that if Obama likes it, then they have to like the opposite of whatever it is.

  13. Danielle Lindberg

    I’ve switched political parties a few times. I want to vote for the right person, not for the political party. I wish we did not have any politcal parties at all…it seems like an old, outdated system. As we are living now and witnessing, politcal party tension is rising. I think it is important to be open-minded and listen to lots of viewpoints when making our decisions.

    1. I listened to the podcast that Alice recommended above, and I really enjoyed it. It seems like a way to really downplay the influence of political parties and allows for much more nuance.

  14. My husband was registered as an Independent when we were first dating. I “strongly encouraged” him to change his affiliation to Democrat during the ‘04 primaries. He did, so I married him!

  15. Thank you for this! You have put to words what my husband and I have been thinking and feeling over the past few years. We are native southerners, raised very conservative and had a political identity crisis during the last presidential election and now vote independently per issue, per candidate. We are also millennials and Christians and have seen most of our community lean more moderate and more independent over the past couple of years. I believe that iron sharpens iron and two parties can greatly work together to benefit society. The key is in each party valuing each other and being willing to listen. I hope we can get there.

  16. I have a unique situation. When I married my husband, he was a Democrat. He became a one issue Republican voter after he started working as a deportation officer. I was “with her” Donated to her campaign and my husband is a Trumper to the CORE. I’ve had people tell me if their husband voted for Trump, they would have gotten a divorce even questioning his Christianity. What has happened to our nation? We are all Americans. I have no intentions of changing and my husband doesn’t either. We have learned to respect one another’s views and agree to disagree. I believe that more should do the same.

    1. I wouldn’t have a problem with my husband supporting the Republicans (although I would disagree) but I wouldn’t respect him anymore if he supported Trump – that’s just one step too far. I couldn’t be with someone who supported someone who treats women that way. Some things are just too important to gloss over.

      1. In agreement, Cath. As a woman of color, how can I respect someone else’s views when that includes not treating me as a human with equal rights?

  17. If you don’t already listen you should definitely check out the Pantsuit Politics podcast. You’ll really relate to Beth from the right who is anti trumpist but conservative.

  18. I was a registered Republican for 20 years until Trump won the nomination. At that point I felt that I could no longer affiliate with a party that supported a candidate I felt so strongly against. I changed my registration to “unaffiliated” (which was a big deal to me at the time) and have not regretted it once. I consider myself to be fairly moderate and do not feel that the platforms of either of the two main parties adequately reflects my views.

    That being said, I would love to see a new, more moderate, Republican party created – close to what you described. I actually think the way we vote should be changed so that independent and moderate candidates have more of a chance of being elected.

  19. I was born into a Republican household and not being terribly rebellious, as well as being loyal to my family I registered as a Republican when I was 18. I voted for George H Bush for my first presidential election. When I married and moved into university family housing I met and lived with people from all over the world. This seemed to have an effect on my politics when I finally looked at them again for the next presidential election. Both my husband and I came to the conclusion that we were actually more left leaning. The thing was, I just couldn’t vote for Bill Clinton. From the very beginning I felt him to be dishonest and disingenuous and then Hillary made disparaging remarks about women who ‘made cookies’ and such. So I voted for Bob Dole, another Republican. By the time George W came around, he was someone I just couldn’t vote for so for the first time I voted for a Democratic candidate, Al Gore. Barrack Obama was someone I admired so much and was the reason I got involved more and more in politics, spending much of his election going door-to-door, making calls, rooting for Hope. I started off supporting Bernie in our last election. I voted for Hillary in the end (though I still do not resonate with the way the Clintons do politics). The Trumpists have kept me up at night worrying about my grandchildren’s future. My boys, husband and I work for local democratic candidates and will work to help the next democratic presidential candidate. I wouldn’t hesitate to switch parties if my morals didn’t match my party’s morals. Not for a second. I have a really hard time understanding my extended family’s support of Trump and his creations as I wasn’t raised with these values. It’s lead me to contemplate burning bridges with family and that has been very painful. So that’s my evolution in a nut shell. I think what is most important is to not see politics as ‘team sport’ where you are loyal to only one team like you would be to a football team. We’ve seen this played out in a very destructive way in our country.

    I’d like to thank you Gabrielle, for putting yourself out there and I am so sorry that you have to read and delete such abusive comments. I wonder what some Trump supporters would say if this were public….. Some would support but my hope is that some would not.

  20. I was also raised in southern Utah and was therefore Republican. It never occurred to me to question it and our family never discussed it. But in 2008 when Barack Obama was running, I finally evaluated my political beliefs. I took an online questionnaire to see where my values aligned and it turned out that I identified with Democrats on 80% of issues. So I formally switched parties.

    That being said, it’s still confusing to me why things like prioritizing healthcare, scientific research, care for the environment and women’s rights seem to be viewed as such leftist agendas. It just seems like common sense to me and it drives me nuts that everything is so polarized.

    1. “That being said, it’s still confusing to me why things like prioritizing healthcare, scientific research, care for the environment and women’s rights seem to be viewed as such leftist agendas. It just seems like common sense to me and it drives me nuts that everything is so polarized.”

      I feel the same way. These all seem like very bi-partisan, very moderate areas where we should all agree on the goal, and then discuss/debate the best way to get there. But instead, we’re debating whether or not scientific research is valuable? Or whether or not women deserve equal rights? How are those questions up for debate?

  21. It’s interesting perspective for me to watch US politics from Canada (where we have 6 parties in this year’s federal election all across the spectrum to vote on). I sometimes wonder why there can’t be more parties created in the US, or if the independents (they themselves may also be across a spectrum) are really it for options to bridge the seemingly growing gap of ideology between Dems/Rep.

    1. Technically we do have lots of parties. We have the Green Party, Independent and Libertarian Party. Over time- it was through attrition- people started voting for two, predominantly. It became an easier way to lump groups of ideology together.

    2. This is my biggest hope that the Trumpists will do for this country – implode the current system so we can re-emerge with serious election campaign reform and an abundance of political parties!

  22. Interesting commentary…

    I left the Democratic party in the early 1990s. I had considered myself a “conservative” Democrat – conservative on many social issues such as abortion. I also had come to the conclusion that Pat Moynihan’s assessment of the welfare state was spot on. (We have an obligation to help the poor, but our help shouldn’t “hurt”.) I got tired of Democratic claims that Republicans didn’t care about the poor. After a lot of study, I learned that they did care. They just wanted to address needs differently. At that point I began registering Republican. It was the only home of liberal conservatism. Like Ronald Reagan, I felt that “I did not leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me.”

    The election of Donald Trump has been a challenge. I voted third party for president in 2016. The whole election cycle was depressing for me as I watched some Republicans ardently support Trump and others make excuses and rationalizations for voting for him (but the Supreme Court! but the border!) While I understand why some people single-issue vote, and truly respect everyone voting based on those convictions, I could not pull the lever for that man, who hasn’t a truly conservative bone in his body and who is a disgrace to the office. Some “friends” who were voting for him engaged in some ad hominem attack towards me. I was shocked by the vehemence. Voting third party was the only way I could say, “I cannot in good conscience vote for either of these candidates.”

    Since that election I maintain an uneasy affiliation with the Republican party. It no longer supports true conservatism, but with a two-party system, my best bet for promoting someone I agree with in some degree is within the Republican primary. The Democratic party is too far left. (The fact that some people think it is center-left indicates how far to the left the country as a whole has moved. Younger generations probably have a harder time appreciating that just as they have a harder time appreciating what the world was like during the cold war or life before 9/11. This is not criticism or condescension…just an observation.)

    There are a few true conservatives out there. (Thank you National Review for being outspoken during the election as Never Trump.) We also laugh at the hysteria on both sides of the political spectrum. If another conservative party rises from the ashes of the Republican party post Trump, I will reconsider my party affiliation. Until then, call me “homeless.”

    1. Mary Anastasi

      I feel the same way as Tori. I am conservative but voted 3rd party in 2016. Watching both sides over the last two years has been very discouraging. But, I couldn’t compromise my principles and just start voting for a party that doesn’t line up for me philosophically, especially in the extremist abortion standpoint (such as partial birth abortion) just because I detest one candidate (Trump.) Thank goodness for the other parties. I sure wish they got more coverage.

      1. Tori, can you say more on why you believe that the whole country has moved so far left? As I understand American history, we began the 20th century by running a socialist candidate for president (Eugene Debs). We had strong holdings of anarchists in our cities and there was support for expanding social welfare programs (think about the labor rights movement!). FDR instated our social safety nets which grew over the first half of the century all the way through LBJ in programs like social security, Head Start, medicare, etc.

        So much of what was thought possible in the first half of the century would now be preposterous to propose. (Can you imagine a strong anarchist and communist movement in NYC? We can’t even figure out a healthcare plan, let alone create a guaranteed nation-wide program like social security.) Late 70s and 80s era politics marked a shift in the politics of this country, particularly in our economy policies, which I believe we are still feeling today. Do you see us having moved left since then? In what ways?

    2. I’m interested in the comment you made about the Democratic party not being center left:

      ” The Democratic party is too far left. (The fact that some people think it is center-left indicates how far to the left the country as a whole has moved. Younger generations probably have a harder time appreciating that just as they have a harder time appreciating what the world was like during the cold war or life before 9/11. This is not criticism or condescension…just an observation.)”

      I suppose I would say that if the whole country has changed its mind about something, then the new consensus is the center. For example, 10 years ago I don’t know if anyone imagined gay marriage would be the law of the land. But now it is, and most people are totally on board, so now that’s a center/moderate view, right?

      So while the country may have shifted, to me it seems like the Democratic Party still sits left of center. it was left of center 10 years ago, then the center shifted, and the Party also shifted so that it would still be left of center. Does that make sense?

      If the Democratic Party feels far left to you instead of left of center, does that mean your beliefs don’t align with the current American center/moderate views? Maybe you prefer the center/moderate views of the 90s?

  23. It’s not that I don’t care about politics. I’m overwhelmed and never know what to believe. I don’t fall squarely into either party and usually end up struggling between my social liberalism and belief in fiscal responsibility. Right now I am so disgusted with the Republicans who allowed Trump to be elected and continue to defend and support him that I cannot see any way that I will vote for a Republican in the next election.

  24. A few thoughts:

    – I would love for America to move beyond a two party system. Limiting ourselves to only two parties seems so outdated, and is such a recipe for failure. There are never only two sides to a given issue, and I believe the desire to neatly fit each issue into “Republican” and “Democratic” boxes severely limits our scope of imagination when it comes to tackling those issues. There are always more than two possible solutions! An us vs. them power struggle keeps us from innovation.

    – I hear what you’re saying about hoping for a more moderate Republican party. I would love to see that emerge, as well. But I do sometimes chafe at the obsession with the term “moderate.” I remember being in my high school government class (this would have been in 2013) and being told that most Americans were moderates and wanted more moderate politics. When we scatter-plotted the results of our political ideology tests, I was the lone dot far on the left.

    In that class and since then, I have often received the message that reasonable people are politically moderate. Obviously I agree that we should be listening to all perspectives in these debates, but I really don’t like the idea that well-rounded, fair-minded people will all turn out moderate. I think it’s entirely possible to surround yourself with mixed opinions and value those different than you and still hold a radical, extreme political view.

    Thank you for hosting this discussion! I am heartened to hear about people who left the Republican party when it tea-partied itself. I really do believe that most Americans want what’s best for all of us.

    1. I’m enjoying your thoughts on the term “moderate”. I was reminded of this article about generational political beliefs that came out yesterday in the Atlantic. From the article: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is often described as a radical, but the data show that her views are close to the median for her generation.”

      Since her views are in the middle for her generation, I would say AOC is a moderate politician. To me, the term moderate just means you want the same things that most of your fellow citizens want — and those things can and do change with the times. So right now, based on polls of what most U.S. citizens want, a “moderate” viewpoint would include no resistance to gay marriage, a desire for stricter gun laws, and quality healthcare for everybody. But all of those things would not have been considered “moderate” not that many years ago.

      Obviously, what moderate means to Gen Z (my kids) and baby boomers (my parents) is going to look different.

  25. Your description of conservatives is puzzling to me, Gabrielle. With the exception of ‘slower change’, there is nothing here that does not describe liberals. A country can take of its people and practice fiscal responsibility. In fact, policies that prioritize the health and well-being of its people lead to better economies and lower costs related to health, policing/crime, and consequences of poor infrastructure (i.e. transportation). There is strong evidence to back this (for example, The Spirit Level discusses how countries with equitable income, usually achieved through taxation, is better for all citizens).

    Your description is also puzzling because this not my experience. My father was an economist and worked in a nonpartisan position in state government. Conservatives consistently voted for trickle-down approaches — which have zero evidence of working and only increased our deficit — and voted down policies that would have saved the state money while protecting vulnerable people. And (while you have never claimed this) the self-described Republicans I knew growing claimed to be the “values-based’ party but I have yet to see that demonstrated in Republican policy. The people of faith that I know (like my mother who is a Christian minister) stand in the street to protest the anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, anti-woman, anti-poor policies put forth by the Republican party. This was in the 90’s and early 00’s, not just since the Tea Party took over.

    Frankly, I am tired of the what-about-ism when members of the Republican party are asked to be accountable for their party’s actions (and not just ‘Trumpists’, as you call them — the student loan crisis, unconstitutional abortion restrictions, gerrymandering, widening health disparities can all be linked back to Nixon and Reagan). I do not claim that the Democratic party is without fault. Our entire political system is built on white supremacy and misogyny, and members of both parties have failed to protect those historically and currently marginalized by our systems. But this isn’t a thought exercise or an interesting debate. People are literally dying, separated from their children, bullied and harassed because of their God-given identity. There is only one party upholding the Constitution, holding the President accountable, introducing policies that help all Americans and not just the rich. It is not the Republican party. If you are picking up on my anger and my sense of urgency, you are right on.

    1. Your comment is weirding me out, Amy. I think you misread my post. I am a registered Democrat, I am disturbed by the Republican party, I know trickle-down economics are a joke, and totally agree with you that right now “There is only one party upholding the Constitution, holding the President accountable, introducing policies that help all Americans and not just the rich.”

      If my personal interpretation of conservative thinking in 1992 feels like it could be progressive thinking to you, that’s probably because at one point both parties shared a lot of similar goals. Again, to my mind, ideally the goals should be the same for both parties, and the debates should be about how best to achieve those shared goals.

      It’s very different now. We can’t even get the current Republican party to agree that white supremacy is bad. So there are seemingly zero shared goals at the moment. This is awful.

  26. I registered as a Republican when I was 18, because I was raised by Republicans. (Interestingly, all my grandparents were Democrats.) But over the years I discovered that I didn’t identify nearly as much with my official party. I never let it bother me and voted for whoever seemed like the best and most effective candidate, voting over time for both parties, including in the presidential election. But, heaven help us all, I resigned from the Republican party when Trump was elected. Like, within a week of election. I had the same frantic feeling of “get me the hell out of here, stat” as I would if I were trapped in any other terrifying situation. I’d say both my husband and I are definitely Democrats, but just in deference to my new need for freedom brought on by election trauma, I registered as an Independent. I refuse to be categorized in any person’s mind as in any way identifying with the “values” of Donald Trump. The man is repugnant and terrifying. My husband and I frequently discuss retiring to Australia (where he’s from), our adult version of that children’s book “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

  27. So many great thoughts here, and so much has been said but I just wanted to chime in about how the system we use to elect our representatives needs to be fixed. First, gerrymandering is a huge problem: 85 percent of America’s congressional districts are so radically gerrymandered that they are essentially controlled by one party. This has contributed to the ever-widening partisan gap, because incumbents really only have to worry about the primaries. And the primary challengers are usually farther to the extreme. Think of the Tea Party candidates who ousted more centrist Republicans. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Presley are more recent examples on the Democratic side. (Though I think the fact that they were WOC was also a significant factor in their wins.)

    Another problem is our winner take all systems, which allow someone without the support of the majority of voters to win an election. Consider the Republican primary, which is obviously so relevant to many of the anguished former Republicans who have posted here. More Republicans supported other candidates than supported Trump. But there were so many of them that it diluted the vote. Trump just needed to get one more vote than all of the other candidates to win. There is an alternative voting scheme that allows voters to rank candidates in his/her preferred order. If the voter’s first choice candidate doesn’t have the votes to win, his or her vote would roll over to the second choice candidate. The vote tallying continues until a candidate earns more than 50% of the votes and is declared the winner. This ensures that the winning candidate is the one who had the majority support. It also benefits candidates who appeal to a broad base, which means tends to pull them towards the center.

    Another benefit of RCV is that it removes the worry of “wasting your vote” by voting for your 1st choice candidate even if you don’t think they are “electable.” It’s quite possible that three or our last four presidents won their elections because of third party candidates. Clinton was helped by Perot. G.W. Bush was helped by Nader. And Trump was helped with Jill Stein. If all of the voters who had cast those 3rd party or protest votes could have also ranked a 2nd-choice candidate to get their vote, history might be very different.

    I hope this isn’t too wonky. But I do believe that our “electoral system” is as much to blame for the current state of politics as the “two-party system.” (For the record, I am not in politics. But have written about RCV as a journalist and find it very compelling.)

  28. Whitney Ingram

    I am registered as a Democrat and vote pretty much that across the board. My husband is a centrist Republican, voted for Hillary. It seems to me that the Democratic pattern lately aligns more with the teachings of my religion. Helping those that are poor and needy and valuing choice and agency. I wonder what political party Jesus Christ would align with more….

  29. This is such a good article! I’m so glad you took the time to write it, and that you care about bigger issues. Few, FEW lifestyle blogs seem to have an educated voter behind them, much less someone who’s willing to publicly express political opinions and have an open conversation about them. BRAVA DESIGNMOM!

  30. I am quite conservative, but since I live in rural eastern Utah and I am active in the predominant church AND I am a registered democrat, I am considered a flaming liberal or libtard. I have never had any problem with either party until George W. Bush. That is when I became a bit radicalized. I feel he is a decent man, but I had severe problems with his stance on education. My issues with him stemmed from his time as a governor. Education is a huge deal for me and No Child Left Behind profoundly exacerbated an already existing problem, and don’t get me started on the war.

    I’m surprised at the issues people have with Trump. To me he is exactly as advertised. I expected no less from his disastrous presidency. My problem is with his base. They scare me. There is nothing he will do that will deter them. Who will they vote for next?

  31. I’ve lived in Utah most of my life and voted mostly Republican and conservatively in my younger years. Also, stayed a registered Republican so I was able to vote in the primaries. But… when Michael Leavitt (former Governor of Utah) was appointed to the head of the EPA (he has a disastrous record of environmental issues — the Leavitt fish hatcheries introduced whirling disease to the fish populations throughout Utah and many people in Natural Resources were fired under his direction for bringing the issue to light — among others) Anyway — that very day I went to the county clerks office and changed my affiliation to be a Democrat. The woman asked me several times if I was sure I wanted to go to the dark side. It’s been great. It is actually great fun to be a Democrat in small town Utah. So many opportunities to serve.

  32. YES. I used to be a staunch Republican. Canvassed, donated, called from phone banks, etc. The Party is absolute garbage to me. I will never vote for it again. I’m in the demographic that the R’s used to have their pocket, and is now underwater with: White, middle-class, college-educated, suburban, married mother. The current iteration of this Party scares the pants off of me, and I actively work against them now by volunteering for the Dems. It’s not a good Party for my children and their future. It’s not a good Party for women, children, minorities, the vulnerable, or the ordinary person. It’s not a good Party for anyone, unless you’re a White rich male.

  33. Thank you for bringing politics into your blog. I imagine that it can be tough with nasty comments to delete, but so important for us as a nation to learn how to have healthy discussions about opposing views.

    I grew in a Republican household (in fact, my Mom worked for Nixon). My parents were part of the John McCain Republican party – not the Trumpists. In my 20’s and 30’s, I’ve toggled between D and R voting for candidates not parties. However, I now can assert that I will never vote Republican again. Ever. Policies aside, am so tired of the lies, name calling, cover ups and gas-lighting that occurs on a daily basis.

    And today, I’m absolutely sickened by Georgia, Ohio and Alabama and their attempt to eliminate abortion and jailing women who seek abortions across state lines. Time to get your abortion thread out in the universe again! And let’s get more women in leadership positions to stop this nonsense.

  34. I appreciate your article (as usual) and all the thoughtful comments. But I worry these encouraging comments are just one side of the story. I knew conservative Republicans that voted for Clinton because they couldn’t approve of Trump. I am relieved when I see comments from folks changing to independents because they cannot support the current Republican party. But what about all the “Trumpists”? The folks that are STILL cheering at his rallies, supporting his every idiotic tweet or comment? I’m so worried that we’ll get comfortable and be blindsided again in the next presidential election.

  35. I am so glad you brought up this topic! I’ve been a republican since I could vote, but I’ve never thought the party was perfect. In 2015, I found myself disagreeing with the ways the R party handled itself and how it changed once Trump became the nominee. After reading the Democrat’s platform, I agreed with so many of their ideals and switched parties. I don’t see the republican party doing anything to help poor or middle class people. As a Christian, I keep thinking about what Jesus said loving our neighbor as ourself, love our enemies, bless those who curse us, take care of the orphans and widows, etc. I do not see the republican party doing ANY of those things, so I want to be apart of the party that truly helps everyone.

  36. Makayla Sampson

    Eleven years ago, I was a registered Republican. Currently, I am a registered Democrat. The Tea Party also caused me to go away from the Republican Party. My 21 year old college son leans conservative. He tells me that he and his conservative peers are different and more moderate than the Republicans in power today. I believe that as you mentioned a new Republican Party is likely to form in the coming years. I truly hope both parties will become less partisan and start working together for solutions to issues that impact Americans.

  37. Great post! As I was reading, I was watching the PBS News Hour, which was doing a story about Iowa. Not one female candidate mentioned.

    Anyway, I’ve always been a registered democrat although I have voted for local republican candidates. I feel the party is getting a little too liberal for my taste and would love a new party that’s more centrist.

    I am also concerned about a free and fair election. And I’m struggling with friends and family members who want to vote for the candidate who can beat Trump. I prefer to select a candidate who resonates with my ideology and support their bid for the White House. This will be a tough election.

  38. I have a similar position, fiscally conservative and socially liberal, I find myself usually just right of the middle. Often I have thought the issue for us in the middle is the primary system of voting. If all elections had an open primary it may keep the extremists at bay (on either side, and help with pandering politicians) and Keep things balanced. Just something to consider… and btw I think you had some really valid points on your unwanted pregnancy article, it would be nice if more men looked at the other perspective.

  39. Angela Leonard

    I tell my 3 year olds that we are Democrats , because we care about people. When I was young my mom explained it very similarly to me, that Democrats prioritized people over money, while Republicans prioritized protecting money and a balanced budget over the welfare of the people. An oversimplified explanation that has passed the test of time and I’m proud to teach my babies that we love and care for all people and our earth.

  40. Gabby, your blog post headline caught my eye in the results for my Google search for a state-by-state readout of GOP voter losses and gains in the era of Trump. In Florida, I know the GOP has lost at least one — me — a registered Republican since 1972.

    Truth is, I’ve been a RINO since 1992, when I grit my teeth and voted for Bill Clinton, albeit only because I feared Bush 41 might tip the Supreme Court to the right. I’ve not voted Republican since. Before 1992, I was a square-peg Republican moderate in an overwhelmingly round-hole liberal community (Miami Beach), running successful South Florida political campaigns and referenda for both parties in mostly non-partisan elections.

    I should have officially bolted the GOP during Bush-Cheney, if not in term-one, than in gratitude and homage to the Baghdad journalist who tossed his shoes at GW Bush. Instead, I procrastinated, but resolved thereafter to undercut the GOP by voting for the least electable Republican in Florida primaries. That strategy turned bonehead in 2016, when I was certain that Trump, whom I loathed, would implode before the 2016 GOP Convention. That would be my lamentable, last-ever vote for ANY registered Republican.

    When he was elected #NotMyPresident, I officially checked-out of the new Fourth Reich Party, then publicly flogged myself on social media, sparing my neighbors the trauma of a 14-story splat. What I wished I had done to my draft card in 1970, I did to my Republican voter registration card live on Facebook, with the hashmarks #FollowMe #ByeGOP:


    Truth is, my core political orientation was modeled by watching my mother, a Democrat, and father, a Republican, review ballots at the kitchen table and discuss how they could avoid cancelling each other’s votes. In most instances, they were able to find concurrence. In others, they did a little practical horse trading. The outcome was logical, the process spectacular. It’s where I learned that contrary points of view could be discussed respectfully and pragmatically; and that best possible outcomes are most often the end reward of reasonable compromise.

    This America no longer exists. My generation — the most promising, socially enlightened, politically engaged generation in modern American history — lost its mojo, broke faith with its promise, raped the country and planet, and installed “We, the party” where “We, the people” used to live well as a democratic republic.

    This is why I changed my party affiliation to NP, not DEM. Though the GOP has long been the black-hat provocateur of intolerable policies and practices, both parties share blame for the devolution and gridlock of state and federal government. Though I will continue to vote DEM, exclusively, I can’t identify as DEM.

    I’m a kitchen table Pragmatist (P), anxious to renew constructive social and political dialogue, practical compromise and best possible outcomes for a country nearing the brink of self-destruction.

    Send Diet Coke, Tastykakes and a spliff. I fear it’s gonna be a long, lonely wait at the table.

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