As the political primary season officially opens on February 3, with the Iowa caucuses, I thought it was important to examine the changes in the Republican Party from when I was a young man, until this very day.
In 1980, before the Republican primary in Virginia, I had a conversation with my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Beattie. She had picked me up to take me to school when the conversation of who should be president came up. Little did I know at the time, this conversation would be one of the turning points in my political life.
Mrs. Beattie asked me who our family was supporting for the Republican nomination. I responded, “Gov. Connelly!” She informed me that she was supporting George HW Bush. By June of 1980, we were both supporting Ronald Reagan. However, we were not huge backers of his.
However, by October of 1980, both Mrs. Beattie and I became major fans of Ronald Reagan. In fact, Mrs. Beattie made me a precinct captain for the Republican Party in the Rosemont neighborhood of Alexandria. Thus, my life in politics began.
I have worked on city Council races, House of Delegate races, State Senate races, congressional campaigns, US Senate races, gubernatorial races, and of course, Presidential races. I served as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia for teenagers during Reagan’s second election. For more than a decade, I served as county party chair and on numerous congressional committees. I have been a Republican appointee to boards and commissions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I served as a Presidential Elector for the Republican ticket in 2000. Twice, I sought elective office in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Republican.
In short, I have always been a Republican. I’ve been a Republican when we were in the minority in the legislature with no hope on the horizon, and I’ve been a Republican when we were THE majority party.
Through it all, my belief in the principles of the Republican Party has never wavered: until the election of Donald J Trump as President of United States.
For the last three years, I have watched from the outside as Donald Trump took over, inculcated, and destroyed the grand old party of Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Trump wants us to believe that the press is our enemy, that the left has taken over every institution at every level of government, and that there is a deep state lurking out there that wants to hurt America and destroy American values.
Those are unabashed lies and debunked conspiracy theories that hold absolutely zero credence. And yet, the Republican Party supports these statements, and his zealous supporters believe them to be true. He has broken the law with Ukraine, and he has tarnished every part of the intelligence community. He has waged trade wars against our staunchest allies with false promises. He has ballooned the budget deficits without a care in the world.
This is not the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight David Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George W Bush. This is the party of a reactionary, xenophobic, narcissistic liar.
The fact that United States senators must pretend that he has broken no law and are in fear of his supporters, shows that the party and its leaders have no backbone.
I cannot in good conscience be a part of a political party that has no spine. For decades, we accused the Democrats of just that: having no moral fortitude. However, it is clear to me that it is the GOP that has no moral fortitude to stand up and do the right thing at the cost of political expediency.
The Republican Party has abdicated its role as the party of principled convictions and common-sense conservatism. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart, but a very clear conscience, that I can no longer be a part of the Republican Party.