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JLeslie's avatar

If you changed your political party during your lifetime, what was the last straw?

Asked by JLeslie (60473points) October 14th, 2013

What finally made you decide you no longer identify with the political party you previously did? I think for most people it is a gradual process, but once in a while I hear a story of someone being disgusted by just one thing and they decide they cannot associate themselves with that group anymore. Even people who went through a gradual process, many tell of the final thing that happened that they actually changed their voters registration card.

What’s your story?

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19 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I switched temporarily to support a particular local candidate. I stayed to mess up the primary (as if my on vote could do that). I switched back because I was really disgusted with the principles of the party. There was no regard for anyone that didn’t “pull himself up by his own bootstraps.” No empathy for those who needed help.

zenvelo's avatar

I switched parties while in college, but the one I switched to was espousing racist beliefs and positions that were harmful to people, so I switched back.

rojo's avatar

Hard to say, I have never had a “party” I have voted for a Democrat, Republican, Green and Libertarian candidate at some point in my past. There are a couple of things I look for, the personal integrity of the candidate, the attitude toward maintaining or adhering to a more liberal social agenda, how attuned the candidate is on issues that will actually involve the position they are running on (I really don’t care if you want a more militarized border if you are running for school board, place 2, chances are it will not come up in a board meeting). Also, if you are a dick in your ads or if your ads are constantly in my face I will vote against you no matter what your party.

All other things being equal, I will vote for the female in the race because I believe (rightly or wrongly) that they will be more fair, more empathic and are willing to listen to all sides and compromise where necessary to do what is best for the community. That being said, Sarah Palin failed to meet the minimum criteria for my vote.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I was a staunch democrat until I was 40. At that point, primarily for economic reasons, I began to buy the Republican line. (After the Reagan years).

When the Republican party began to get into social and religious issues – that is, when they turned into being the US Taliban – I bailed. I’ve voted democratic ever since.

filmfann's avatar

I first registered in 1974, as a Republican. I felt the moderate Republicans of the time (John Lindsey, Howard Baker, Ford) would take over the party, while the Democrats were being overrun with Liberals (Humphrey, McCarthy, McGovern). Instead, the GOP moved right, towards Reagan and Dole.
I stayed a Republican for about 8 years. In 1980, I worked hard to get John Anderson elected (he was a third party candidate, but registered Republican). With Reagan, Bush Sr., and Dole leading the party, I had to bail. I decided to go Democrat, because the Libertarian, Green, and other Moderate parties were too badly organized to have much sway in an election.

garydale's avatar

I left the Democrats for the Libertarians. There was no “last straw”. I started reading political philosophy and figured my own positions out.

Headhurts's avatar

I don’t support anyone, in fact I have never even voted.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I have never been a member of a political party, as I have been opposed to them since before I could register to vote. That said, I have given up alliances to political groups. I stopped supporting NARAL when they endorsed Alan Hevesi in the 2006 election for New York State Comptroller.

Hevesi was neck-deep in a corruption scandal at the time, and it was abundantly clear that he was guilty. NARAL supported Hevesi on the grounds that he was the only pro-choice candidate in the race, that his Republican opponent was willing to use the office to subvert federal abortion laws, and that Hevesi would just be replaced by some other Democrat after the election since everyone knew he was going to resign.

Now, the second and third points were clearly true. And indeed, Hevesi was replaced by another Democrat shortly after his inexplicable election victory. The first point, however, was patently false. There were several pro-choice candidates running for State Comptroller, including Green Party candidate Julia Willebrand (who, unlike the others, had a chance to win the election had the political left of New York rallied behind her as an alternative).

To my mind, NARAL had revealed itself as nothing more than a front for the Democratic Party. They never got a penny from me after that, nor any other kind of support.

Judi's avatar

I wonder if Colin Powell is considering switching?

downtide's avatar

I voted Lib-dem for all my adult life, until they jumped into bed with the Tories.

Never again. Never.

Jeruba's avatar

My family was religious, conservative, Republican. I was comfortable identifying with their political views, even holding out against Kennedy Democrats while growing up in Massachusetts, for no better reason than that that was how I was brought up.

It was the sweeping social changes of 1963 and 1964, when I was too young to vote, that moved me in a liberal direction: the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, the shock waves that followed Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam war, and the tenor of the sixties, my own generation. By the time I reached voting age, there was no question that I was going to have to go with the Democrats. I wasn’t thrilled with some of the choices I had, and I voted Independent in at least one national election,* but I couldn’t go back.

When I became a voter, I registered as Independent, and I still have that registration.

*@filmfann, I voted for John Anderson.

filmfann's avatar

@Jeruba I already knew you were intelligent, but this reinforces it.

Blondesjon's avatar


i got better

hearkat's avatar

I never declared until there was a primary that I cared about and I declared Democrat. I undeclared fairly quickly after that. I despise our 2-party system, and this current situation is my worst fear realized. Before true healthcare or education reform can happen, we need election reform. The system is too corrupt and the elected officials are not really ‘representing’ their constituents.

ETpro's avatar

Republicans running Nixon did it for me. I could see through him a mile away. And history proved I was right.

Jeruba's avatar

@ETpro: “Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts.”

wildpotato's avatar

I never have, but a few years ago my folks switched to Repub to vote for Arlen Specter, about a month before he switched back to being a Democrat. Oy…

Paradox25's avatar

I grew up in a conservative, but Democratic family living in an area of the state where we were overwhelmed by very conservative and religion preaching Republicans. I had always felt a bit out of place with both my familys’ and peers’ political and religious views. I went with the Republicans because I guess it was engraved in me to be that way according to the demographics and mentality in my area. I suppose that I went along with the charade since even admitting that you’re a liberal in my county meant that you would receive a great deal of ridicule, and the same with the religious nonsense.

When I became old enough to vote I registered as an independent (not a political party) very quickly, but I was more of a conservative one. It was a gradual trend, and my views then became more libertarian. At the peak of my libertarianism I had switched to the Republican Party (head slap) to support the few libertarian minded Republican candidates in my county and state since many Democrats in my neck of the woods were actually quite conservative.

Eventually I switched back to being an independent, but a much more liberal one. I really don’t believe there was any true drawing line for me here during my switches. I just think that I always was liberal minded, but went with what others expected of me, and what I’d perceived would garner me the most amount of respect amongst my peers. As a result I inevitably just got sick and tired of pretending and trying to fool even myself that I was a conservative, or even a libertarian. I guess this would explain why each of my political shifts were always more liberal than the previous.

Rather than there being a last straw, for me instead it was more like learning to stand up for myself and not being afraid to express my true beliefs, and this ability simply increased for me with age I guess. I’ve been contemplating registering as a Democrat, though I had never been much of a partisan voter in reality. The Republican party originally had a wonderful format at one time, and Democrats sucked at one time in my opinion, so I try to stick to ideology rather than partisan politics and talking points, especially these days.

elbanditoroso's avatar

When the republicans began to kow-tow to social and religious constituencies for their support instead of economics and policy.

The R party sold out to the religious right for votes.

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