For the first twenty one years I lived in California, starting in 1979, I was a registered Republican. Actually, I was pretty libertarian politically, not surprising in someone who came from a modest background and then started achieving some significant financial success as a result of his own efforts. We all tend to undervalue the role of the system that helped us because it’s, by design, relatively invisible.
I grew disenchanted with where the GOP was evolving by the early 90s, and didn’t vote for a single Republican candidate for any elected office throughout that decade. Not as part of a plan but because I kept finding the GOP candidates did not reflect my values.
I like to tell people that my loyalty, ultimately, isn’t to a party. It’s to whatever party best guards the future. Because probably the most important, and least appreciated, function of government is to ensure there is a future, and one in which our descendants will enjoy living.
What finally pushed me to leave the GOP and register as a (proud) Democrat was a single question in the 2000 GOP Presidential candidate debates. The moderator asked, by show of hands, which candidates “believed” in evolution…and only two hands (as I recall) went up, and only tentatively.
What people choose to believe is their own business. But setting good policy can’t be done solely based on beliefs. It has to reflect consensus objective reality, however difficult it can be to figure out what that is in a particular situation (and it can be challenging; that’s why good science is hard work).
I remember thinking, angrily, “there’s no fucking way I am standing with people who are willing to throw the patient, hard work of centuries under the bus just because it makes them uncomfortable”. So I went out, re-registered, and have never looked back. Indeed, I’ve watched the modern GOP get crazier and crazier, and craftier and craftier at conning the public into letting them line the pockets of their wealthy patrons.
But there are no free lunches in this world. For my penance from having been a GOPper for twenty one years I occasionally get mailings from the GOP based on the assumption that I’m still a member in good standing.
The latest one came today, from the Trump 2020 campaign. It contained a ham-handed push poll along with the standard plea for money. Rather than throw it out — or put it to the flames of my blowtorch, something I’ve done in the past — I decided to have some fun with it. You can download my response below:
Oh, and that requested financial contribution? Here’s what I sent: