‘They Will Try to Bully You’: Lawmakers Exit the Democratic Party
In recent months, several politicians have left the Democratic Party on both the federal and state levels, choosing the so-called “lesser of two evils.”
For example, in December, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema left the Democratic Party and registered as an Independent. Her parting was not taken lightly and according to Stephen Kruiser of PJ Media, “The people in charge of the Democratic Party in Arizona loathe Sinema.” Her reason, Sinema told CNN, was that she “never fit neatly into any party box.” By removing herself from the “partisan structure,” she believed it would “provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.” Sinema’s party change was just the beginning.
Between March and April, the Democratic Party was faced with three lawmakers switching affiliations — one from North Carolina and two from Louisiana. On April 5, North Carolina State Representative Tricia Cotham announced her decision to change parties, giving “Republicans in the state House a supermajority.” After announcing her party switch, Cotham explained what drove her decision.
“[The] modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me and to so many others throughout this state and this country. The Party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions,” she said. “If you don’t do exactly what the Democrats want you to do, they will try to bully you. They will try to cast you aside. I saw that when I first filed for office.”
Almost a month after Cotham’s announcement, 81-year-old Democrat State Representative Francis Thompson, who had served Louisiana for almost 50 years, changed his party registration to Republican. Although “Republicans had already held a supermajority in the state Senate,” his decision was finalized on March 17.
“The push the past several years by Democratic leadership on both the national and state level to support certain issues does not align with those values and principles that are part of my Christian life,” Thompson said when explaining his decision.
“Democrats were dealt another blow from within their own ranks,” Fox News reported, when another Louisiana State Representative, Jeremy LaCombe, announced he was registering as a Republican and leaving the party. Although he did not provide a reason for the switch, the GOP earned a supermajority in the House from his defection.
The trend of Democrats leaving their party to join either the GOP or the ranks of Independents can be traced even earlier than Sinema’s departure. Tulsi Gabbard, a former U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii, posted a fiery tweet in October of 2022 explaining that she could “no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party,” since it is under the “control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are hostile to people of faith & spirituality, demonize the police & protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.”
The number of Democrats changing parties may continue to climb. Shortly after Sinema announced her leave from the Democrat Party, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters that he would “look at all of these things” but has “no intention of doing anything right now.”
“Many of these officials are coming to grips with the sharp contrast between the positions and platforms of the two major parties,” FRC Action Vice President Brent Keilen told The Washington Stand. “Research shows that parties vote in line with their party platforms over 80% of the time. The reality is that the official Democratic platform supports abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth at taxpayer expense, supports legislation that would dramatically undermine religious freedom, is silent on the foundational role strong families play in society, and mentions God only one time (while mentioning LGBTQ+ 32 times and abortion or abortion related terms 20 times).”
“A growing number of Democrats do not believe this lines up with their priorities or the priorities of their constituents,” Keilen concluded.