To The Once Esteemed Republican Party,
With a heavy heart, I am announcing our formal separation. While we’d been a compatible couple for almost four decades, two years ago you began an affair with a philandering con man and then, moved in together. And even though his daily existence is total chaos and he may be in trouble with the law, you continue to stand by him. Based on your actions and inaction, you’ve left me with no choice but to step away from this crumbling relationship.
In 2013, to help support these principles within my party, I decided to build a media platform called “Practically Republican.” It was a place for GOP supporters who invite conversation, respect differences and believe in compromise to communicate with each other and share ideas. I felt we needed to make our voices heard because unless we spoke up, Republicans wouldn’t reconcile within the party (much less work with Democrats) to solve our nation’s problems. As part of this effort, I wrote a book, started a blog, opened channels on Facebook and Twitter, and began hosting a podcast. Initially, for the most part, people on both sides of the aisle understood what I meant by practically Republican and welcomed my new organization to the table.
Now, I feel like a stranger in my own house. When posting articles or making points even mildly critical of the president or his administration, the most common reaction from GOP supporters is “fake news!” and I’ve been called everything from a RINO to a left-wing socialist troll. Unfortunately, the term practical Republican has become an oxymoron, so I’m changing the name of our platform to “Practically Political” in the hopes that my efforts will encourage reasonable Republicans, Democrats and Independents, who believe in civil debate and solving problems, to have some serious dialogue.
As for the President himself, after Trump won the election, I thought sensible Republican leaders would keep his irrational impulses in check. But the GOP has completely abdicated this responsibility. The tipping points for me were a tax bill that was the first piece of major legislation that was 100 percent donor driven, those donors being wealthy Republicans, and the cruel separation of children from their families in the fight over immigration – the former a travesty, the latter a disgrace.
Regarding GOP tactics, watching the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings this week has provided a painful reminder that Mitch McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat (that should have gone to Merrick Garland) may have permanently damaged the chance of any future nominee receiving bipartisan support. This leaves yet another indelible stain on the party. While I have no doubt that Donald Trump will go down as the worst president in American history (only further confirmed by the latest revelations in Bob Woodward’s new book and an anonymous op-ed by a senior administration official), this Republican Congress will be denoted as his enabler.
Looking back, what’s really hit me in the gut is a sense of guilt that I didn’t push back sooner or harder and I’m appalled that Congressional Republicans aren’t ashamed of their complicity. But now I’m looking forward and I believe the only hope for our nation’s future is for Democrats to take control of Congress in the midterms and start exercising oversight. Then, we can at least try to get back to some sort of equilibrium, and negotiate and pass some bipartisan legislation. Tough love, perhaps, but sometimes, you have to hurt someone to save them.
In 2016, I took a lot of heat from my fellow Republicans for voting for Hillary Clinton. But I vote the candidates, the issues and my conscience – and will continue to do so. My hope is that a few years from now, we’ll look back and say that as wretched a presidency as this has been, it woke us up to the realities that we’re facing and forced us to – whether we like each other or not – put our country over our party.
I have one final thing to say to my estranged GOP. While a final divorce remains uncertain, perhaps losing this November will force you into counseling. Are our differences irreconcilable? Only time will tell. What I do know is I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me.