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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Letter from a Former Independent Voter

 Dear Republican Party,

Credit: Utah Public Radio
I have always prided myself for keeping an open mind about different approaches to addressing the challenges we face in our country, state, and local area. Over the years, I have chosen to vote for both Republican and Democrat candidates and have come down on both the conservative and progressive side of issues.

The last Republican presidential candidate I voted for was George H. W. Bush. I would have voted for John McCain too if it weren't for his running mate. These people believed in a philosophy of how to balance government interference and pursuit of freedom that looked to address the same issues as Democrats, but in a different way. They actually had a defined philosophy of governance.

Since then, it seems like the Republican party just left the table. The whole party has declared war on our two party system and seems unwilling to participate. A case in point is proposition 3 on the 2022 mid-term ballot in Michigan. It is a bill obviously written by Democrats. There's no compromise in it and some of its provisions are thereby extremely left-leaning. Rather than work with Democrats to craft a more palatable bill for conservative voters, the Republican party clearly chose to allow the bill to be written exclusively by Democrats, so they could condemn it as extreme.

This is not how democracy is supposed to work. Compromise is at the core of finding solutions that attempt to address the concerns of citizens with different philosophies about how government should work. When politicians engage in "winner take all" strategies designed to create "enemies" rather than philosophical differences, everyone loses.

Rather than attempt to appeal to all citizens that their approach is better, you seem to have decided to activate single issue voters. You know that there are a certain number of pro-life/anti-abortion voters out there that will forsake their economic well-being to see abortion made illegal. You know that there are a certain number of gun owners that will forsake all else to avoid reduction in the right to bear arms. You know that there are a certain number of people who think that white people are the rightful dominant class in this country and that it should remain that way. This group wants to keep immigrants out and maintain the status quo for people of color, so they can continue to enjoy the privileges once bestowed on whites in this country. They will forsake all else to ensure this. And finally, there are the wealthiest among us. You have protected this group above all else. Your party works to keep taxes on the wealthy low and minimize regulation to ensure that corporations can exploit capitalism to the maximum possible -- unabated by the negative effects on society. This has been the real mission of the Republican party for a long time and possibly the only appropriate mission left standing.

Between these disparate groups of people, your party has discovered you can reliably garner about 40% of the national population. With some clever districting, that's good enough to keep things pretty even between the parties.

The thing is, these aren't really the pressing issues of our time. You know this, but you just stopped caring. Your party offers no policies to address climate change, working class support, deficit spending, healthcare bankruptcies, infrastructure decay, and reversing the slide of the once premier US education system into mediocrity. You just wait for the Democrats to offer solutions to these things and just shoot them down with no alternative plans of your own. What happened? Your party used to think about these things and offer alternatives.

I'd really like to have that party back. I'd like to see Republican leaders who think about conservative ways to solve all the issues we face. Rather than carving out voting blocks and using anger to activate them and keep them on your side, why not actually start doing something that will improve their lives? 

Until you do, I'm out!

-- Currently a Straight Democratic Ticket Voter