From The Des Moines Register
Iowa View: About my switch - The Republican Party has left me
Last week, the news broke that I am resigning as co-chairman of the Polk County Republican Party and changing my party affiliation to independent. This was a difficult and personal decision I struggled with for several months and discussed with my family, friends and pastor.
I felt so increasingly uncomfortable by the inter-party dysfunction, and extreme vision, that I lost faith in the party. Personally, I believe the Republican Party no longer represents Iowa’s values. I plan to move forward to officially switch my party affiliation to Democrat.
Republicans misread the electorate in 2012 and have since doubled down, particularly in their rhetoric and unwillingness to work for solutions on problems facing our country. This objection has pushed me to realize that I needed to make a change as a matter of personal necessity.
Recently, the GOP has clung to views that are out of touch and are too extreme for Iowans. Their resistance to reach out and work with those across the aisle is on full display every day from local, state and national Republicans.
This consistent aversion to move forward harms both current and future generations.
Locally, too many leaders, activists and volunteers became more interested in saying what the far right of the party wanted to hear than doing anything to broaden our appeal to Iowans. It reached the point that hateful slurs and offensive remarks uttered by party members made me uncomfortable.
More than anything, it deterred me from the democratic process I believe in so much.
In the past few years, the Republican Party has been the party of subtraction. When I was younger, I was drawn to the GOP because they espoused “The Big Tent.” I stood behind the ideals of past Republican presidents because they represented freedom and justice for all.
Now, among many segments of the Republican Party, “The Big Tent” has become a negative idea that somehow compromises their most sacred principles.
I am a husband with a daughter in kindergarten and another baby on the way. As a parent, I see my children’s education, and all children’s education, as essential to the future. I want my children to have the chance to receive the best education they can — starting from the first day of preschool straight through college.
Some GOP officeholders and candidates have been vocal about putting measures in place that are harmful to education, ranging from eliminating state-funded early childhood education to actually shutting down the U.S. Department of Education. Our families deserve better.
I was very disappointed to watch how my party responded to the hateful rhetoric of U.S. Rep. Steve King. King has always been an embarrassment to our party, but his latest comments have permanently damaged the GOP’s standing with Latinos and fair-minded Iowans.
Most disappointing to me was that too many leaders of the Iowa GOP refused to stand up to him and offer disapproval. The Republican Party was founded on the ideas of expanding the rights and freedoms of Americans, but today it seems only interested in protecting the interests of a few.
Making this move was not a decision I took lightly. Yet, being a member of the GOP and a leader of the Polk County Republicans has compromised my values, and I can no longer stand behind their mission.
I want to support a party that is working to move our country forward. After a lot of soul searching, I have found that the only party interested in that is the Democratic Party.
While I may disagree on some of their policies, Democrats have a vision to move our country forward. I am proud to work with anyone who wants to grow our state and help every American reach their fullest potential.