Calling special attention to a stamp featuring President and iconic Democrat John F. Kennedy, former Republican John David Dyche changed his party affiliation Friday to register as a Democrat.
Dyche — a resident of Louisville, Kentucky — said in his announcement on Twitter that he looked forward to participating in the Democratic primary in Kentucky’s 2019 gubernatorial election.
What makes Dyche special among the shrinking Republican party is this: Dyche literally wrote the book on his Senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
Changed from Republican to Independent when GOP nominated Trump. After much reflection changed to Democrat today. (Note stamp.) Republicans beyond redemption. Dems only viable opposition/alternative & have promising young leaders. Want to participate in KY gubernatorial primary. pic.twitter.com/xTFmP88rcY
— John David Dyche (@jddyche) November 23, 2018
His Twitter bio carries the hashtag #NeverTrump and lists him as a new Democrat who is “reconsidering everything.” C-SPAN notes his work as a conservative columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“Republicans beyond redemption,” the former pundit tweeted, “Dems only viable opposition/alternative.”
And in this, Dyche is far from alone.
“The Trumpers and the hucksters and the consultants and the hangers-on, like a colony of bees that exist only to sting and die, have swarmed together in a dangerous but suicidal cloud, and when that mindless hive finally extinguishes itself in a blaze of venom, there will be nothing left,” Nichols wrote.
Kurt Bardella, another former conservative commentator, recently wrote that since his own departure from the Grand Old Party it has only offended his sensibilities more — particularly in embracing politically expedient contradictions like condemning pornography while electing a man who allegedly bribes porn stars, condemning the police brutality protests of the NFL as disrespectful to troops while electing a man who said he disliked the late Senator John McCain because prisoners of war aren’t war heroes, and cutting civil servant pay due to “fiscal responsibility” while cutting taxes for the ultra-rich without a shred of concern for the deficits they would create.
“The scary reality of today is that there is no ideological consistency or moral compass guiding the Republican Party in this time of Trump. In the absence of a principled philosophy is this dangerous mentality that the state is right and everyone else is wrong,” Bardella wrote. “Even more troubling is the trend that anyone who has the audacity to exercise the constitutionally protected right to question the government is labeled an ‘enemy of the people.’ ”
From Dyche to Bardella to Nichols a clear through-line forms: these people did not leave the Republican Party. They did not leave their ideals and their values. Fundamentally, these people have not changed. But instead, the Republican Party itself has changed.
And in its embrace of authoritarianism, self-serving contradiction and unwillingness to stand up to a president who foments the worst in all of us for political gain, they feel the Republican Party not only left them, but has committed itself to its own destruction.
“There is no ideological consistency or moral compass guiding the Republican Party,” said Bardella.
“When that mindless hive finally extinguishes itself in a blaze of venom, there will be nothing left,” said Nichols.
“Republicans beyond redemption,” said Dyche.
Even Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) thinks of leaving the party every day. Though he clearly thinks the left is far from perfect, Sasse said in an interview with CNN that the main policy Republicans are for is being anti-Democrat.
And as the more rational voices turn away in disgust at what the Republican party has become, a spiral by necessity perpetuates: fewer and fewer voices within the party can continue to tolerate Trumpism, and so Trumpism expands to fill the void they left behind — hastening the ultimate potential supernova of a party these voices once believed in.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.