Chris Vance, a former chair of the Washington State Republican Party, state representative and a Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center, reports on “A new movement to restore or replace the Republican party” at The Seattle Times:
The rise of Donald Trump and the transformation of the Republican party created a new American political movement as millions of formerly Republican leaning voters, and hundreds of prominent former Republican leaders, turned against Trump and his new authoritarian Republican party. Multiple organizations were formed to help defeat Trump and elect President Joe Biden and other Democrats in 2020, including the Lincoln Project, Republican Voters Against Trump and Stand Up Republic. Together, we were part of the coalition that won the 2020 election.
….This week, I joined with dozens of prominent current and former Republicans, including former U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, former Gov. Bill Weld, of Massachusetts, Ambassador Jim Glassman, former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, and many more, to announce our support for a manifesto, “A Call for American Renewal,” and to pledge ourselves to “either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative.” In other words, over time we seek to either restore or replace the current Republican party.
Vance, now a self-described ‘Independent’, explains further:
Millions of us are now politically homeless. We believe there is a demand for a third option, for a movement dedicated to core American principles. Specifically, a movement or party which:
· Supports a free, open society in which everyone can go as far as their efforts and talents will take them in a free-market economy, while maintaining a robust safety net for those who need assistance.
· Welcomes America’s growing diversity and stands for the protection of the rights of all Americans to live their lives as they choose, free from racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of hate and intolerance.
· Is committed to energetic American leadership around the world to protect democracy and human rights.
· Opposes voter suppression and supports common sense reforms to enhance democracy.
· And first and foremost, stands for truth, democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, and stands against nativist, isolationist authoritarianism.
Politically, we will work in partnership with others to elect candidates who share our goals, including moderate Democrats, courageous principled Republicans, or those running under a new party banner. As this movement takes shape, I will be working to explore the possibility of creating a Washington state chapter.
The elections of 2016 and 2020 blew up our political system. The Republican party is shrinking, as record numbers of voters now call themselves independents. The number of Americans identifying as Republican is the lowest it has been in a decade, according to a recent Gallup poll. As I have written in these pages, and elsewhere, we live in an era of political realignment and instability as our party system is changing.
Could such a centrist movement play a pivotal role in the 2022 midterm elections, helping moderate Democrats win in swing districts and states? Anything that further divides the GOP is likely to be good for Democrats in the longer run. But 2022 is next year, and this group will have to move fast to have a significant impact on the midterm elections. If Republicans win Senate control and a House majority, they may not matter much.