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JUMPING SHIP: Republican voters abandoning an increasingly extremist GOP

JUMPING SHIP: Republican voters abandoning an increasingly extremist GOP

JUMPING SHIP: Republican voters abandoning an increasingly extremist GOP

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Traditional Republican voters are becoming more and more disenchanted with the right-wing fringe of the GOP as the MAGA fanatics take over control of their party. As the GOP continues to show fealty to Donald Trump, those leaning toward the center  — as well as longtime self-proclaimed “Reagan Republicans” — are being pushed out of the party, with some leaving voluntarily as their disgust with the new radical policies overwhelms their sense of party loyalty.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — and strip half the country of their privacy and reproductive healthcare rights — has played a significant role in changing the voting minds of those who considered themselves to be “conservative.” A Twitter thread detailing conversations with self-described “Republicans” — and why they won’t be voting GOP in November — is telling. Reproductive choice and the increasingly restrictive abortion laws were common concerns, while, for others, it was the increase in anti-immigrant and hateful rhetoric coming from the right.

As the “party of family values” goes increasingly rogue – no longer flirting with the fringes of fascism, but going all in – current and former Republicans seem to be coming out of their MAGA fog and stepping back into the real world. This is evidenced by the endorsements of Democratic governors in key battleground states by concerned, formerly loyal, Republicans.

In the days and weeks following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, The New York Times reported that

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“the phone lines and websites of local election officials across the country were jumping: Tens of thousands of Republicans were calling or login on to switch their party affiliations.”

56-year-old Army veteran, Juan Nuñez says the attack on democracy prompted him to change his political affiliation, “What happened in D.C. that day, it broke my heart,” said Mr. Nunez, a lifelong Republican who is preparing to register as an independent. “It shook me to the core.”

“An analysis of January voting records by The New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states.”

In a highly contested battleground state, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro received the public support of high-profile Pennsylvania Republicans including Jim Schultz – a member of Trump’s 2016 transition team – in the race to keep Trump-endorsed, ultra-MAGA state Senator Doug Mastriano far away from the Governor’s mansion. An unapologetic Capitol insurrectionist, Mastriano played a role in the fake elector scheme, held a sham “hearing” on the supposedly stolen election at a local hotel, and has insinuated he would overturn election results he didn’t like.

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With Mastriano considered “extreme” and “divisive” by many Pennsylvania Republicans, at least 17 members of the state’s GOP have rallied against the election denier in favor of his opponent, the York Daily Record reported.

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“‘Josh has a proven ability to bring together qualified people from across party lines to accomplish important work,’ one of his latest backers, former Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, said in a statement,” according to the newspaper.

“Although I am a Republican, I consider Mr. Mastriano to be completely out of his league. He is ill-informed, divisive, and unworthy to be governor of this commonwealth.”

But Attorney General Shapiro isn’t the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate to get mass support from across the aisle.

Current Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has also attracted support from disaffected Republicans. On September 12th, 150 Michigan Republicans launched “Republicans for Whitmer” – a group that included 35 high-profile state GOPers.

Governor Whitmer was frequently on the receiving end of inflammatory rhetoric spouted by ex-President during the coronavirus pandemic. The Governor’s enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions drew criticism and death threats from MAGA fanatics, leading to a kidnapping plot that was  thankfully stopped by the FBI. The plan was to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home – potentially torturing and killing her.

“Tens of thousands of Republicans were calling or logging on to switch their party affiliations.”

As the political temperature rises, and 2022 America begins to look more like 1936 Germany, it appears some in the GOP are starting to realize that flirting with fascism has consequences. The backlash from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ human trafficking stunt and its inherent cruelty appears to be another wake-up call for those in the Republican party who have yet to sell their entire soul. This goes beyond Donald Trump – beyond the big lie and voter suppression conspiracy theories.

According to University of Florida political science professor, Michael P. McDonald, switching political parties is “unusual,” and “probably is indicative of a larger undercurrent that’s happening, where there are other people who are likewise thinking that they no longer feel like they’re part of the Republican Party.” McDonald added that this trend could be just the “tip of the iceberg,” the New York Times reported.

Let’s hope he’s correct. No more fence-sitting. It’s time to pick a side – and it appears that at least some former Republicans have decided that side should be democracy.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

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Ty Ross
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.

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