Why I went from “R” to “U”

Over the weekend, I dropped a tweet showing my change in voter registration.

I went from Republican to Unaffiliated.

When I first registered to vote over 25 years ago, I lived in New York and registered as a Democrat.  I was the typical Democrat walking bumper sticker back then — keep your laws off my body, pro-choice, women’s rights this and that.

However, I began to have doubts fairly soon after while watching Bill Clinton lie to Congress and debate the definition of ‘is’. But I stayed in the party. Surely this is where I belonged, I thought at the time.

After leaving New York and heading south, I began to examine why I thought I was a democrat. My college professors had been pretty liberal and had asserted their views in various ways throughout my college experience. Their influence began to wane as the reality of work, taxes and the idea that I was responsible for my own choices, either good or bad, set in.

Still, I remained a democrat. But when the next election rolled around, I found myself voting for George Bush. Twice.  I couldn’t help it. The realization that the democrat party’s pull on me as a young person was based on perpetuating a perverse victimhood — ‘vote for us because only we can solve your problems’.

No, I could solve my problems.  So I left. In part due to that realization and in part due to 9/11.  I’m sure many would argue this point with me, but in my view, Bill Clinton’s ineptitude in foreign policy precipitated what happened that day.  He could have taken down Bin Laden. He didn’t.

Say what you want about George Bush, but I never for an instant questioned he loves this country. This has never been more clear than juxtaposing him with our current president and his disdain for this nation’s history, laws and principles.

So I was now a Republican. My eyes began to open  and could clearly see the increasing social justice warrior attitudes of the Democrats.  Louder, screechier and based on that same premise of perpetuating victimhood.

I felt the Republican party upheld the ideals of the founding of our nation. They respected the Constitution. They believed as I did in personal responsibility, accountability and the idea that our Rights in this nation were endowed to us by our Creator and not bestowed on us by government.

i-want-to-believeI still believe in those things but I’m pretty sure our party leadership doesn’t.

I want to believe.

But I can’t anymore. Not after this past election cycle.

I’ve watched as friends and colleagues I respected and admired joined a cult of personality much like the one we saw in 2008.

Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump. And yes, I believe his following is cult like. (I can’t wait to read the comments later which will prove me right.)

I found myself watching excellent and true conservative candidates fall to the cult.  I watched the GOP Establishment (GOPe) help knock those true Conservatives down by insisting on backing their pick for the American people — Jeb Bush.   The GOPe learned nothing from 2012. Nothing.

Just like Democrats I know are unenthused about Hillary, the Republicans were feeling that way about Jeb.  What part of ‘we don’t want any more dynastic political families for candidates’ do these two parties not get?  No. Stop it.

When Ted Cruz dropped out, that’s when I dropped out of the Republican party. Watching the GOPe talking heads and figures like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and even candidates like Marco Rubio tear into Cruz instead of uniting behind him was the build up for my departure.

GOPe figures like Graham, McConnell, Boehner and McCain like their power. That’s abundantly clear.  What they don’t like is someone coming in and fighting on principle instead of taking their appointed place in the Washington Cartel.

The more the GOPe disparaged Cruz, the more I knew he was the right candidate. This is how the GOPe has converted Republicans to unaffiliated and it didn’t happen overnight. There has been a drip, drip, drip of their shenanigans that goes back to before 2008.

It’s not just on the national level either. I’ve helped ‘true conservatives’ get elected only to see them do nothing once they get into office. Well, no ‘nothing’ exactly, they manage to line their pockets and those of their pals quite often. The same can be said of the Democrats.  The Washington Cartel isn’t just in Washington. It’s in every state house in the country.

I used to think you changed things from the inside. I had stuck it out trying to make a difference in that respect. However, much like a surgeon who opens up a patient to find that the problem is far more extensive than they thought, I realized change from within was not possible. In the immortal words of Dr. McCoy, ‘he’s dead, Jim’.

I don’t think this is just Republicans moving to Unaffiliated either. The Democrats I know are leaving too. Not the progressive, far left racing version of the Democrat party that is Hell bent on social justice everything, but the Democrat party I joined over 25 years ago. You know, the Democrat party that considered compromise to be a dirty word unless it was an election year.

There is a realignment going on in both parties.  A fundamental shift is in the works. How it plays out, I have no idea. For the first time in my adult life, I’m actually kind of scared to find out.

And so, this month I made my move to Unaffiliated. I know I’m not alone.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
This entry was posted in A.P. Dillon (LL1885), ELECTIONS, EXCLUSIVE, Voting. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Why I went from “R” to “U”

  1. Eddie says:

    I’ve always been registered as unaffiliated. I couldn’t see a purpose of party affiliation in NC because in primaries you can ask for a ballot of either party. Though this in my self-interest, it’s bad for the party because it gives people with no ties to it, some who may actually be casting a sabotage vote (which I have done), equal say in determining a nominee. The Republican Party’s major failure was allowing this process – failing in their role as gatekeeper to ensure the nominee was actually Republican. SC was much worse than NC because they were not proportional, had an open primary, and committed all their delegates to Trump with 32.5% of the vote, of whom probably a full third are Democrats.


  2. Chris says:

    I did the same back in 2007, when the GOP was ready to sell out on illegal immigration. I made a point of sending a copy of my new voter registration to President Bush and to the then-chairman of the RNC. I’m not sure that my protest, even combined with those of so many others, made any lasting impression.

    At this point I doubt the Republican party can be saved. The disenchantment with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump makes me think there’s now room for a real third party, dedicated to limited government and the rule of law.

    People forget that the Republican party was once a third party as well…


  3. E. Tilley says:

    If you’re worried about cult-like followers, are you also concerned about Cruz and his Dominionist disciples? Otherwise, this sounds a whole lot like straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.


  4. Kristine says:

    You’re not alone. I’m right on the fence and probably right behind you. While I have always identified as republican, I never paid much attention to politics until 2008, when i witnessed perfectly normal and smart people get rabidly excited over an empty suit, who with only a little bit of digging revealed he was a radical leftist. I have been active ever since, learning history and trying to get involved in the party and elect conservative candidates. However it’s clear that the ‘party’ only wants yes men. It has seething contempt at every level (local, state, and federal) for principled conservatives. I have voted the last 2 presidential elections holding my nose and out of fear for what the American hating leftists have defined their new progressive party, only to learn that republicans define themselves as loyal to constitutional principles but just brazenly lie about what they’ll do in dc. The democrats are openly hostile towards American values. The republicans just lie about it. Which is worse? This is the first election I will no longer be voting out of fear. That means no Trump, and no Burr at the very least. And I must say that politically speaking, I’ve never been more comfortable with a ballot decision in my adult life.


  5. BigAlSouth says:

    I have had numerous debates with my pro-Trump adult, politically savy sons. They like Trump because he is a bully set on destroying the John Boehner wing of the Republican Party. I could not get them to see that Cruz would accomplish the same, without being a total wildcard. No success.

    Trump will be the destroyer, but who will take on the role of the Phoenix? Who will lead the party post-Trump/

    There will be more than a few regrets when this plays out. #buyersremorse2017


  6. Jason says:

    I left after they passed Cromnibus funding Obama’s illegal amnesty right after they all ran telling us they were going to stop it. Its not that you left the Republican party, its that it left you. The leadership of the party and many of the members no longer believe in the core principles of the party. Unfortunately, its not just the GOP, its America (many Americans no longer believe in the core principles) and its also the Church too. We’ve become so self idolizing that we cannot stand for anything. God bless you,


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