I Saw the Light and Went From Democrat to Republican

November 1, 2018 Updated: November 2, 2018


We now have Candace Owens’s Blexit–We Free and Brandon Straka’s Walk Away movement encouraging disgruntled Democrats to show their disdain and disgust for the political party by de-affiliating. These young people are on to something.

The Rev. C.L. Bryant (featured in the documentary “Runaway Slave”) and I walked away long before it gained the current synergy that resembles what could become a trend.

My departure from the Democratic Party was part of a gradual process that took more than a decade to solidify. Disillusionment in the early 2000s caused me to shift from self-identifying as a Democrat to referring to myself as an Independent.

In 2009, I finally made the life-altering decision to become a Republican. This was after President George W. Bush had appointed me, in 2008, to two political positions as an independent: one in which I served on the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the other on the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Leaving one’s political party can be as painful as a divorce, especially if you have been there all your life. For me, being a Democrat was as natural as breathing. In fact, I spent almost two-thirds of my adult life in the party into which I had been born. Like others around me, I believed the Republicans were the party of the rich and the Democrats were the party of the working class. My party affiliation was a no-brainer.

After attending college and studying politics, history, and law, I became even more persuaded by the rightness and soundness of my allegiance to the Democrats. Intellectually, I knew the histories of the two parties and how the Republican Party had been the party of Abraham Lincoln and how it had fought for anti-lynching laws and integration. However, like many other college-educated Americans, I bought into the myth known as the Southern Strategy, whereby the two parties switched places. The Democrats became the party of civil rights and the Republicans the party of racism, a perception I now know to be false.

The main catalyst for me to change party affiliation was the growth in my Christian faith that accelerated in 1999, causing me to question and re-examine everything I had believed about the world. Initially, I wasn’t ready to become a Republican, even though I shared most of the values and principles espoused by their leaders. I was too influenced by the news media and the books and articles I had read over the years. So, initially, I stayed with the Democrats and I suffered from cognitive dissonance, the condition of holding views and perspectives different from my actions and behaviors.

As part of the transition, I became an independent and stood in the middle throwing rocks at each side, while regularly voting Republican. That ended in 2009, when I begin to speak out against the programs and policies of President Barack Obama, a man I didn’t vote for in 2008. His words never matched his actions, before and after he became president.

As a Christian, I saw stark contradictions between my biblical worldview and the Democratic Party’s position on the issues I care about most deeply. Eventually, it became clear to me that my Christian faith dictated that I should align myself with the party offering the strongest defense of the constitutional rights of the unborn, the perpetuation of marriage between a man and a woman, religious liberty and freedom of conscience, and support and defense of Israel.

The Republican Party’s historical commitment to civil rights, free-market capitalism, limited government, and individual liberty factored into my decision-making. I was also moved by the charitable works of conservative Republicans that I saw working with inner-city youth and missions. These people were pouring themselves into the lives of the poor and disenfranchised and picking up where the government left off, when it came to helping refugees and immigrants. It was party and faith in action that prompted admirable actions of a civic nature.

Judeo-Christian values and principles underlie the work of many Republicans. This is exemplified in the words and deeds of Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking officials who operate from a sense of purpose and destiny. We won’t easily find such examples among the Democrats of today.

Election Day is Nov. 6. There is so much at stake. I have great concern about the Democratic Party’s vision for America and its unethical alliance with the mainstream media. It’s a partnership that enables leftist politicians to use nonstop attacks and criticisms of President Donald Trump to deceive voters about the president and those of us who have aligned with the Republican Party. High-ranking Democrats have encouraged their constituents to confront and harass Republicans, while the latter go about their daily business. This is dangerous and un-American, and we know it won’t end well.

The Democratic Party today isn’t the same as the Democratic Party of my youth and early adulthood. It is a party in decline that has allowed itself to be overrun and taken over by its most radical elements. The new Democrats show a disdain for America and its people. Its leaders are willing to argue against due-process rights, the presumption of innocence, and the rule of law. Equally frightening are the concerted efforts to bring socialized medicine to America, by changing the intent and purpose of the Medicare program.

Socialism has failed everywhere it’s been tried. Republicans know this. We should run, not just walk away, from the Democratic Party.

Carol M. Swain is a former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University and a James Madison scholar at Princeton University. Her most recent book is “Debating Immigration: Second Edition” (2018).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.