Jimmy LaSalvia, former director of programs and policy for Log Cabin Republicans, tells us why he decided to pack-up and leave the Republican party -- and why we should end the duopoly altogether.

After spending most of my life and professional career as a conservative activist and openly gay Republican strategist, working in the trenches of the culture-wars, I decided to leave the Republican Party.  I made a public statement when I made that decision in 2014, and my announcement received a lot of media attention.

Many of my friends from all those years in politics reached out to me when they saw those news stories in the media to tell me that they didn’t blame me for leaving the party.  They knew all that I had been through in my efforts to help the GOP.  Some of them even told me that they were considering leaving the Republican Party too.  I also heard from Democrats and others across the political spectrum who were tired of the ‘us versus them’ in our current two-party system.

Most Americans tired of compromising themselves to conform to one side or the other in our broken two-party system.  That’s why 45 percent of us now identify as independents, while Republicans and Democrats represent shrinking minorities of the electorate.

All of us who identify as independent have different reasons for why neither major party represents them.  I shared my story of my evolution to political independence in my new memoir, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should To)

As a gay Republican, my story is probably a little more dramatic than most because I was working to help a culturally out of touch party to evolve on the key cultural issues of our time.  Issues relating to who we are and how we live have always changed and evolved over time.  Personal and emotional issues surrounding race, gender, and now sexual orientation have all evolved debates of right versus left to right versus wrong.  Now, for me, the GOP is just wrong and living in the past culturally.

I hear from former Democrats all the time about their frustrations with that party’s economic and fiscal disconnect.  You only have to look at Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposal to provide free tuition for all Americans at public colleges and universities.  That’s contributing to his surging popularity among young Democrats.  It’s a great idea, except that there is absolutely no reasonable way to pay for it without adding to our already crippling public debt.

A couple of years ago, I was at a dinner party with several other forty-something professionals.  We were talking about how the old terms ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative,’ ‘Republican,’ and ‘Democrat,’ just don’t mean what they used to mean.  We all had a sense that we all shared a common vision of government as fiscally responsible, culturally modern voters.

I asked the group, “What do you call people like us?”  My friend responded, “Normal people!”  That’s it!  Normal people.

Most normal Americans aren’t hyper-partisan.  We are just trying to make it and provide for our families, but the two parties have rigged the system to keep us out and preserve their power.  That’s because their power is more important to them than good government.  They value politics and winning in their ‘us versus them’ system more than our country.

That’s why it’s so important for all of us normal people to leave the two major parties and join the new majority of Americans who identify as politically independent.  The Republicans and Democrats only have power as long as we stay signed up!

Then, let’s advocate free-market reforms to elections and government, so that we don’t have to be a part of a party to participate in the political process.  Moving beyond our party-based system is the best way for us to be able to come together to work to make our country better.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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