For twenty-two years, I was a registered Republican.
In the ’90s, it was pretty easy: The Republicans were the party of small government, of fiscal sensibility, of moderation, and of prosperity. The Democrats were the “crazy hippies,” the tie-dyed tree-huggers who wanted us to eat nothing but kale and drive only solar-powered cars. And while I didn’t agree with the social conservatism of certain parts of the Republican Party, or the weird racist crowd in the South, those were small fringe groups, and they were easy to ignore. The Republicans represented centrism and sensibility.
Today, those small fringe groups rule the Republican Party. It has gone from being the party of sensibility and moderation to being the party of extremism and racism and hatred. I cannot support Trump. I will never support Trump. Everything he stands for is something I’m against. He is not “classy.” He is not “yuge.” He is not “tremendous.” He’s an overgrown schoolyard bully, a bigot, a strongman, and willfully a fascist, and he bankrupts and ruins everything he touches.
So today, I reregistered: I am now an Independent.
On the down side, this change comes at a severe cost in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: By doing so, I effectively gave up my right to vote in primary elections. But I cannot associate myself with the elements that drive the Republican Party. They do not stand for what I stand for, and I worry they may never do so again.
But on the plus side, I now join the most-heavily courted of all voter blocs: I am an educated Independent voter, in a swing county, in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. My vote matters, and today, I just made sure that my vote no longer comes with strings attached. I can vote my conscience, and no-one can tell me otherwise.
So goodbye, Republicans. Goodbye, Gallant Old Party. Goodbye, Party of Lincoln. You were a good thing, once.