Months after the midterm elections concluded, the Republican Party is still losing ground across the United States. This week, Republican California State Assemblyman Brian Maienschein abruptly announced he was leaving the GOP and becoming a Democrat out of disgust with the direction of the party, especially under President Donald Trump.
As he explained it:
‘Leaving the Republican Party is not easy. I can either keep fighting to change the Republican Party or I can fight for my constituents. I choose to use my energy and skills for the people I represent… As the Republican Party has drifted further right, I – and my votes – have changed. As a single father to two girls I am guided by my hopes and dreams for their future.’
He’s far from the first Republican to make such a switch. Just in California for instance, the state’s Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye left the GOP after the Republican Party offended her with its haphazard treatment of the judiciary through the confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of sexual assault. That scandal was the last straw for the judge, who said she’d been considering the move for some time and considered the situation more like the Republican Party leaving her and not her changing her core beliefs.
Elsewhere, a whole host of state lawmakers have made moves similar to Maienschein. In the Kansas City area alone for instance, three Republican state legislators including one senator and two representatives switched to the Democratic Party, citing different reasons but centering on simply finding themselves no longer aligned with the direction of the GOP. A fourth one eventually joined them.
In Kansas, Republicans remain in the majority in the state legislature, but Maienschein is joining the Democratic majority in his state.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon praised Maienschein, offering:
‘His legislation, his actions and his presence in the Assembly have always shown him to be a man committed to ideas for making California better, not to ideology that divides us.’
I welcome the addition of Assemblymember @BMaienschein to the Democratic Party.
His legislation, his actions and his presence in the Assembly have always shown him to be a man committed to ideas for making California better, not to ideology that divides us. pic.twitter.com/XQzqkgyamD
— Anthony Rendon (@Rendon63rd) January 24, 2019
Currently, the GOP has defined itself through division, and it doesn’t take much of a stretch to conclude as much. Trump has currently pivoted a border wall blocking off Mexico that would cost billions of dollars back to the center of his policy agenda, refusing to approve any further government funding without the money he wants for it. Meanwhile, Americans suffer, including hundreds of thousands of government workers Trump has indefinitely put out of work.
The GOP has not, by and large, broken themselves off from this direction.
California state Assembly Republican Party leader Marie Waldron freaked out at Maienschein’s switch, decrying him as a turncoat, exclaiming:
‘It’s unfortunate that Brian’s takeaway from his extremely close reelection was that his political future depended on becoming a turncoat. Unfortunately some people run for office simply because they want a job, regardless of political philosophy. It appears that Brian falls into this category.’
As she indicates, Maienschein won re-election over his Democratic opponent by an around one percent margin. Across California in the midterms, Republicans found themselves on the rocks — they lost a whopping seven Congressional seats just in the state, contributing to their new majority in the U.S. House.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot