Political Courage is Not Fatal–and is Spreading

Beat ’em. Beat every single one of them. Even the safe ones in the House, beat ’em. Beat ’em in the Senate. Take back the Senate.

Image result for david jollyThese words come not from a Democrat but from a former Republican member of the House of Representatives from Florida, David Jolly, who quit the Republican Party last year over its support of the president. He went on,

Your time is coming. My mom likes to say the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind increasingly and exceedingly fine. That is what has happened to a lot of Republican political careers in moments like this.

Those opposed to Donald Trump are more numerous and more vocal now than they have ever been. Across states, media, individual voters, and elected officials, widespread damage to “Trumpculture” is taking hold–loudly–and from some unexpected sources. And as the tide begins to turn, it seems that Republicans who speak up are being rewarded, not punished.

In the wake of mass shootings that killed nine in Dayton, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner said he will back legislation that bars the sale of military-style weapons to civilians. For Turner, who has regularly received a 93 percent rating from the NRA, the mass shooting in Dayton hit home. His daughter was across the streets when the shootings occurred; she was not injured, but the gunman managed to fire off 41 shots in less than 30 seconds.

No less a Republican star than right-wing talking head Ann Coulter, long a Trump supporter, asked recently  why the president and other employers have not been charged with a crime for hiring undocumented migrants. 

Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) urged a Republican challenger for Trump next year, saying “he is an unfit con man.”

Jennifer Horn, a longtime board member with the Log Cabin Republicans–a group working inside the GOP to push for LGBTQ rights–resigned from her position after the group endorsed Trump for reelection.

And radio commentator  Montel Williams wrote an opinion piece for Fox news–which they ran–proclaiming, “I still consider myself conservative, but I long ago abandoned the party because I could see it being dragged down a path of intolerance. . . .” 

At the Iowa State Fair, in a television interview of a life-long conservative woman and her daughter, they said they don’t plan to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The interview went viral, and some commentators said that the GOP should be worried. 

Even in red-state Nebraska, courage can be seen: a state legislator, John McCollister, whose father was a US congressman, called out Trump for “enabling white supremacy. . . . The Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party.” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) denounced the comments as “baseless” and said he stood with Trump. The state GOP, meanwhile, called on McCollister to leave the party altogether. As a final insult, the state leadership said McCollister should register as a Democrat. 

There is no room for a conservative Latino in the Republican Party, so I left. After thousands of dollars and thousands of hours volunteering for GOP causes, I could no longer be a complicit member of the Party of Trump. We must move forward, call out special interests and the inspiration that Trump has given white supremacist groups…. This sickens me.  Immigrants are the backbone of our nation….

Yasser Sanchez, a registered Republican since 2000, said, “There is no room for a conservative Latino in the Republican Party, so I left. After thousands of dollars and thousands of hours volunteering for GOP causes, I could no longer be a complicit member of the Party of Trump. We must move forward, call out special interests and the inspiration that Trump has given white supremacist groups. They like his talking points on how immigrants are invading our nation and bringing diseases and drugs with them. This sickens me. Immigrants are the backbone of our nation and their labor, entrepreneurial spirit, quest for freedom and appreciation for our nation truly make America great.

In Virginia recently, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-05) officiated a same-sex wedding in his district. That did not sit well with members of his party, who sought (and failed) to formally rebuke him. The Cumberland County Republican Committee unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in Riggleman because of his role at the wedding.

Congressional retirements, too, are a result of Republicans who can no longer support Trump (and/or believe they could not be reelected by constituents made up of Trump’s base). This is why former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, for example, decided not to run for reelection; likewise former Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. And now, four Texas GOP members of the House  have announced that they will not run again–Reps. Will Hurd (the only Black Republican in the House), Kenny Marchant, Michael Conaway, and Pete Olson. House Democrats have targeted Texas for 2020.

In total, as of August 5, 2019, 12 Republicans have left or are leaving the House of Representatives, as are 3 United States Senators.

This feeling of finally being fed up is also seen in the judiciary. Elsa Alcala, a former Republican judge who once sat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, last month decided to leave the Republican Party after decades, citing President Trump’s racism.  She went on, “It has taken me years to say this publicly but here I go. President Trump is the worst president in the history of this country.”

In another example, Dario Aguirre, a 64-year-old Mexican-American based in Denver, a lifelong Republican immigration lawyer, has said President Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration has left him disenfranchised from his party and unable to recognize the”Grand Old Party” he once believed in. 

And an Army veteran who went from being a Trump supporter to a critic has also changed his views on gun control and is calling for the NRA to be defunded in the wake of two more mass shootings. “When is the right time to talk about gun control?” asks David Weissman, a former Army chaplain assistant who served from 1999 to 2012 and was deployed to Afghanistan twice.

Even CNN/GOP talking head S.E. Cupp is calling for calmer voices to prevail. Said Cupp, “in order to solve the problem, we need to put down our metaphorical weapons to figure out a solution to mass shootings in America.”

Too little? Too late? Perhaps. But how long have we been waiting for anyone in the GOP to stand up and say, “No, this President is not good for the country”? Regardless of motivation, some Republicans are retiring and more and more in the GOP are finally concluding that standing up for what’s right is more important than aligning themselves with the base of today’s Republican Party. It is beginning.

 

 



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