Last week in my Sun column I suggested that Michael Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and Republican national chairman, leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat. You can read my reasoning in the column — here’s the link — but anyone who has listened to Steele talk on MSNBC about the party knows that he thinks it’s gone off the rails since the rise of Trump. And the party, as represented by its members who serve in Congress, has only gotten worse since Trump left office. Look at Republican leadership’s opposition to the establishment of a commission to study the violent insurrection and Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. None but fascists would want to ignore that event, even dismiss it as a “tourist visit” that got out of hand. And none but fascists would want to suppress voting in a democracy.
So why would a democracy-devoted, freedom-loving person stay in the Republican party? What “soul of the party” are Steele and other Never Trumpers hoping to save? The GOP supports Trump, keeping people of color from voting, the repeal of Obamacare, conservative judges who want to curtail individual liberties (a woman’s right to choose, for one), deficit-inflating tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires and corporations, continued massive defense spending and limiting the nation’s spending on efforts to slow climate change and rebuild our infrastructure. There’s little room for moderation or honesty in the Republican Party. Look at what happened last week to Rep. Liz Cheney. So I don’t know what Steele and others who want to “save” the party they grew up with are fighting for or hoping for. The nation needs multiple parties, but the GOP poses a clear and present danger to democracy. Why would any rational American belong to such a gang? The idea that the party will come to its senses some day is wishful thinking. This democracy remains imperiled until further notice.