Yesterday, I officially left the Republican Party. It is a move that I made temporarily once before but reversed for various reasons. This time, the arrangement is pretty much permanent. There are a lot of reasons behind my move, most of which I have talked about over the years. My one concern is that I am now unable to vote in anything except for non-partisan elections in the primaries, but I have weighed that against the fact that the Republican Party has been captured by the far-right wackos such as Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, and Sarah Palin and decided that giving up that privilege is worth getting rid of the crises of conscience I have been having.
For a long time now, I have been watching with alarm as the Republican Party has slipped further and further to the right expelling anyone who is remotely moderate in interested in actually governing (as opposed to the reactionary confrontationarianism that has gripped the party as of late) along the way. Along the way, the party has become incredibly intolerant of any deviation from the strict conservative norms that the Tea Party espouses. I've talked about this here. As of this time people from the party have used religion as a pretext for discrimination (state RFRAs), have denied science in favor of ideology (climate change), denied people basic human rights (Guantanamo Bay and the use of torture), denied that some people are worthy of being treated like humans (denunciations of LGBTQIA people), twisted the truth in the most asinine ways (Birthers, the supposed "amnesty", and more), and so much more. With all of this going on, I cannot remain in the party and be at peace with my conscience.
I will say that a part of the reason for the split is that I have liberalized to a certain degree, but if the GOP had remained ideologically located where it was just a few years ago, I would have been able to remain in the party. But the Tea Party (mainly) has driven the GOP off of a cliff and alienated a large number of more moderate voters, myself among them. Why should I remain with a party which looks at me as a second-class citizen and a deviant who is better off dead or in hell? Why should I stay with a party that is more interested in scoring points with a fringe that wants to rewrite history and dismantle any government help for the poor and needy among us? Why should I remain with a party that allows a group which wants unrestricted access to any and all guns regardless and looks at *ANY* restrictions on gun ownership (even sensible ones) as tantamount to fascism and dictatorship? Why should I remain with a party that goes into hysterics and disagrees with anything that the President agrees with? This is not a party that I can be a part of.
I do want to stress that I am not saying that every individual Republican is a bad person. I am condemning the party, not every individual in the party. I know that there are people who remain in the party hoping to reform it and I sincerely hope they are successful because I would love to be a part of the party I grew up in and joined as soon as I could. I also know that I may piss off some people with what I am saying here, and I am fine with that. Just know that this is something I have thought deeply about for a few years now, so this was not a sudden decision.