As I watched US Senator Jeff Flake’s speech yesterday, when he announced that he isn’t running for another term in 2018, I couldn’t stop nodding my head in agreement. He spoke eloquently about problems in the Republican Party and politics in general, and he laid out a case for why there isn’t a place for him as an elected Republican. He acknowledged that a principled conservative, like him, just couldn’t win a Republican primary election. He was right.
Then, I began shaking my head. All I could think was, I told ya so!
A couple of years ago, my book, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), was published. It received a lot of attention because of the behind-the-scenes stories I shared about my experiences inside the GOP around issues affecting LGBT Americans. I wrote about those first-hand experiences as examples of broader cultural problems with the modern conservative movement and Republican Party.
The over-arching theme of the parts of the book that related to the problems in the GOP was the party’s fundamental rejection of our modern multicultural reality. I wrote that issues just don’t matter, and in fact, the words “conservative” and “Republican” just don’t mean what they did before. I said that the base of the Republican Party rejects anything and anyone that don’t conform with them culturally – straight, white, christian. I also said that being a team-player and never dissenting is more important to them than ideological principles. Continue reading “I Told Ya So, Senator Flake”
I wrote in my book, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), that I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012. I did that because I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Mitt Romney. I know a lot of people are thinking of voting for Johnson this year because they can’t vote for Trump.
For many of those voters, they don’t see Hillary Clinton as an option because she’s always been their political enemy and they don’t think they can trust her. I wrote this piece about my journey to seeing that she is the best candidate for president, and I trust her. Here’s how I came to see I could trust her by trying to put myself in her shoes:
The final part of my Clinton evolution was more personal. It was when I realized that she’s a good person with honorable intentions. I did that by trying to put myself in her shoes. It wasn’t very hard to do because, like Clinton but on a much smaller scale, I’ve been attacked by political enemies during most of my career. As an openly gay former Republican activist, I’ve been attacked by the anti-gay segment of the right who aren’t tolerant of gays, and by some LGBT people on the left who have called me a traitor to the cause.
Political attacks are part of the business and I let most of them roll off my back, but the ones that actually hurt my feelings are the ones that question my motives or intentions. Those attacks often times allege that I do certain things or take a particular position in order to gain money or attention, or that I have a secret hidden agenda. The truth is, in everything I do, I just want to help people and make our country better.
That’s what motivates Hillary Clinton, too. By reflecting on my experience, I came to see that most of the attacks Hillary Clinton over the years have created a false narrative about her motives. That’s when I concluded that I could trust her. While there will be times when I disagree with her on specific policies, or question her strategies or tactics, I trust her because I know that she’ll do what she believes will help people and make our country better.
One thing is absolutely certain in this election, Americans are fed up with the government and the two-party political establishment. We are pissed off at Republicans and Democrats and we are letting them know it. The most successful candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, barely even wear the labels of Democrat and Republican. In fact, it just doesn’t seem like those old words Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, etc. mean what they used to mean before. There’s a new language in politics today.
Hillary Clinton absolutely got her ass handed to her in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, and that didn’t have to happen. She and her campaign just haven’t recognized today’s political realities and the new language of politics in 2016. Clinton hasn’t adapted to the new landscape, and is running a with the old language and context of the past.
Clinton actually started the campaign off on the right foot. Her “everyday Americans” announcement video and early campaign theme struck the right tone. It was essentially, “It’s about you and me, America. Let’s work together to make our country better.” Then she threw that message out the window and fell into to the traditional inside-the-box partisan establishment-type of politics that most people are sick of. Continue reading “Tough Love for Clinton”
“Jimmy! Your book addressed dilemmas that have been a political debacle in my mind for years. Growing up as a Republican in Kansas I frequently found myself between both sides as a gay man. The answer is clear to me, neither side is right for me at this point! Being authentic, thinking independently and true to yourself as you are doing is commendable. It is my goal and I follow your lead to be part of the Independent thinking Party! Thanks for the great read!”
I promised myself last year, when I declared my political independence, that I would never hide my true political beliefs in order to be a team player ever again. I committed to always saying just exactly what I think without regard of what others think about it. There may be times when many people agree with me, and other times when they don’t, but I resolved to always be true to myself.
To that end, I’ve decided to publicly register my choice in the 2016 presidential race. After watching the debates and considering all of the candidates, I’ve determined that I am ready.
This is my first presidential election as an independent voter. As a non-partisan, politically independent “normal person,” I have the freedom to objectively consider all candidates regardless of party. I don’t have the bias of political affiliation to tilt my point of view anymore. That freedom is something that I regret not embracing sooner. Now, I’ve taken a look at the candidates in both major parties, the minor parties, and even some possible independent candidates.
For me and other fiscally conservative, culturally modern voters who care about America’s place in the world, Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice for president in 2016.
To be sure, I disagree with Clinton on a number of specific policies, but no free-thinking American agrees with their candidate on every issue. That was obviously true in 2012 when I was the gay for Mitt, remember. It is important to judge the candidates on more than just their positions on specific issues. It’s their experience, depth of knowledge, and their vision of America that really matters. That’s because the vote for president is different and more important than any other vote we cast.
I want to tell you about a new project I’m working on called NormalNation.org. It’s for politically independent Americans who are tired of partisan politics and business as usual in our broken two-party system. Normal people are generally fiscally responsible, culturally modern voters who are politically engaged and care about our country, but they don’t feel that either major political party represents them.
All politics is personal, and Normal Nation seeks to engage independent voters on a personal and emotional level. By sharing our individual stories of independence, we will build camaraderie among voters who wish to maintain their political autonomy.
One of my friends called it “Humans of New York for politics!” Yes, it is. Every independent has different reasons why neither political party represents them. By sharing our reasons, we’ll see that we have a lot in common with each other.
Then, we’ll work together to bring free-market reforms to the electoral system, so that Americans don’t have to join a political party in order to participate in the political process.
Are you a normal person? Tell your personal political story. Join us!
Those of us who are politically independent have all taken different paths in our political journeys. I am sharing the story of my evolution from team-player Republican to freethinking independent in my forthcoming memoir NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too). I want to share some of your stories of independence, too.
Are you a former Democrat or former Republican? Or have you always been independent? Why don’t either of the major political parties represent you? How did you come to join the 43 percent of Americans who don’t identify with a party? I’d love to share some of your stories this fall when I am promoting my book.
You see, there are many many people across the country who will relate to our frustrations with the parties. They’ll hear our stories and realize that they should leave the parties too. Will you help others to join the ranks of independents by sharing your experience and perspective?
Would you be willing to write a blog post or send a short video to tell everyone why you are politically independent? I’m looking for essays (250 – 1000 words) and videos (under 2 minutes). If you are willing to share your story on a new website I’m setting up for this purpose, please send them to email@example.com. Or email the same address if you have questions about it.