I believe it is extremely important to look at history as we deal with the partisan politics of today. We often hear, “I have been a Democrat most of my life or Republican most of my life.” For those who believe those comments resonate, I would suggest it’s important to occasionally review the underlying values of each party, to determine if your values still align with the one you have voted for in the past. Party values change over time.
Example: if we go back 50 years and look at the Democratic Party, George Wallace, the segregationist Governor of Alabama was in contention for the Presidency. Yes, the 60’s were a period of great change in southern politics, and although he might have won some years before, by the late sixties and early seventies, the segregationist politicians in the South were in retreat and more moderate candidates were coming forward.
On the Republican side of the aisle, Jim Leach was an Iowa Congressman from 1977 to 2006. I really admired Jim and remember a conversation I had with him in his last term. I said, “Jim, you need to leave the Republican Party because it has left you.”
Personally, I think Jim got defeated in his last term not so much because of his politics, but because the Republican Party was moving right, and in his more liberal district, the new image tainted him. I think the current Congressman David Loebsack is perfectly aligned with his party and with the current politics of the district.
Until the middle of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, I was a registered Republican, but I felt the party was leaving me and was moving in a direction I was not comfortable supporting. I was a fiscal conservative and concerned about the national debt, but was very much a social liberal. With the Republicans now ignoring the mounting debt, I think all my values line up best with the Democrats.
Over the past few years, and especially with the election of the current President, the Republican Party has changed radically, while the Democrats have changed just a little. I would urge each registered Republican to ask themselves, “do my values still line up, in the current environment, with the Republican Party?”
Also, be cognizant of the probability that your values will never line up with either party 100% of the time. It’s also possible that your values may be changing. As I have gotten older, mine certainly have. I have become more tolerant and more forgiving and much more concerned about issues such as the treatment of immigrants, gun control, health care, America’s role in the world and most of all, the need for a truth-telling and kinder president.
As you review your philosophies of governance, I would urge you to put kindness, empathy and introspection as part of the equation. The country needs those qualities now more than ever.
Finally, however it turns out for you personally, please vote. Our democracy depends on it.
by Dick Goodson
Photo via Flickr
7 Comments on "In Times Like These, Republicans Should Rethink Their Party Affiliation"
Dick’s analysis is SO important—I would only add to his list of important values, paying attention to how our actions will determine the kind of world we leave for our children and grandchildren.
Much like Dick Goodson, I too was a Republican for many years. I thought there was a more balanced approach to economic and environmental solutions for protecting people and the environment. Reagan started a false narrative about welfare mothers driving Cadillacs in their fur coats to get food stamps. I decided that anyone who would lie to that extent, or a party that backed those lies were unfit to represent me and the fellow citizens we should all care about compassionately. George H.W. Bush invoking Willie Horton in the 1988 campaign, calling his opponent “Bozo”, and Dole’s blind faith that Richard Nixon was not involved in Watergate was enough for me to vote against his ill fated candidacy in 1996. W’s campaign was illegitimate
due to voter suppression in Texas and Florida, and the ultimate kicker was Antonin Scalia’s refusal to recuse from the vote count appeal at the Supreme Court when the law firm, where his son was employed represented the Bush appeal. Republicans have become pathological in the lies they perpetuate to justify being elected. They lie, cheat, suppress, and even invade countries to get reelected (see Iraq War). This has to end. Trump has virtually destroyed the las thread of credibility this nation will ever have if we fail in this midterm election.
I agree with Dick’s assessment. And I would add one more thing that people should chew on. Does “my party” tell me what to think? Does it attempt to bend the will of the people to it as opposed to the other way around?
Seriously? Just a little?
For as long as I can remember, the elected Republican Party leadership has recognized that the way to get votes was via public policy to “put more money into citizens pocketbook.” That, along with the failed policies of “trickle down” (or trickle-on) as I view it!
The resultant soaring national debt from the Trump tax cut for the wealthy, and repeated revenue shortfalls to the state coffers from Branstad’s tax cut, requires either tax adjustments to pay the bills, or the reduction of essential services that benefit people. Invariably the R’s will go the budget cut route, where education, social programs and environment exponentially suffer.
When the D’s take back the majority, and being the party of common folk and common-sense values, they have to reinstate those losses. These are part of the things we’re all about. Yet, to do so takes money, whether it be for an increase in allowable growth for public education, increases in state commitment for Medicaid or allowing DNR to fill staff vacancies for soil, water or air quality initiatives.
Having served 32 years in the Iowa House and Senate, I’ve been a part of the internal process long enough to know that this is just how things have been, currently are, and most assuredly will continue in the future. The only possible change can only occur with an informed electorate, willing to demand that this fragile democracy be sustained and ultimately enhanced by elected officials willing to work together for the benefit of all. In this regard, I’m basically pessimistic, to say the least…and grossly idealistic, to say the most.
Fiscal conservative and social liberal?? Sounds more like a Libertarian party alignment to me than Democrat.
Republicans in office are not willing to oppose the blatant racist, sexist attitudes of their Trump faction. Of all the Republicans in Iowa, only a single state senator stood up against Trump. Voters who can better candidates must look to Democrats.