Why I left the Republican Party

By Bailey VanNatta | Contributor

I grew up in a very conservative Republican home. I considered myself a Republican until the 2016 election when I realized something fundamental: The Republican Party, since being overtaken by Trump in 2016, seems to not care about the needs of others. It is a very “me”-driven party.

You can go on and on about how the Republican Party is pro-life and how the Democratic Party is Pro-choice to try and prove that the Republican Party cares for others. To quote Ted Cruz, “every human life is a precious gift from God.”

I completely agree with that, but it is just as Trump said in 2016, Ted Cruz is all talk and no action. The Republican Party wants to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade, but once women are not allowed to have abortions anymore, the Republican Party has no significant plan for these mothers and their children.

I have heard over and over how evil Obamacare is — even from my parents. But in fact, Obamacare is the only reason that I have health insurance and can afford the prescriptions that are vital to my physical and mental health. Growing up, I never had health insurance because we simply could not afford it. Anytime it was absolutely necessary for me to go to the doctor, we would have to pay insane out-of-pocket costs because we could not afford a month-to-month insurance policy. Of course, Obamacare is not perfect, but at least the government is trying to acquire affordable healthcare for those who could not afford it in the past.

Republicans keep claiming that all of the policies that Democrats want to implement will raise taxes. This could be true — your taxes could go up. I am not qualified enough to say whether they will or will not if Democrats are elected. But what I can question is, why Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz are constantly giving tax breaks to corporations and the rich? Cruz gave tax breaks to two major Texas corporations, in particular, AT&T and American Airlines. After these tax breaks, these companies gave their employees one-time bonuses. Cruz looks at this as a win. But in reality, after these bonuses, AT&T laid off hundreds of their Texas employees, right before Christmas.

So, if these tax breaks are supposed to create more jobs, then why were more than 7,000 jobs eliminated afterward? Donald Trump himself has avoided certain taxes he should have been paying for years. In the early 1990s, Trump used a tax loophole to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in federal personal income taxes.

The Republican Party has also made it abundantly clear that it puts white straight men first ahead of everyone else. It is not as willing to represent other races, other sexualities, and women in the government. For years, it combatted gay marriage on the grounds of religion. But if I’m not mistaken, is there not a separation between Church and State? I myself am a Christian, but I fundamentally believe that the separation of Church and State is good for both. I do not want the government telling me what to do in my religion and vice versa.

Also, the Republican Party continues to ignore the epidemic of unarmed black men being killed in our country. And last but not least, Cruz voted against the Violence Against Women Act.

Finally, Republicans have shown they are a “me” party when it comes to immigration.

The first thing that makes me sick is the Republican Party constantly refers to immigrants in our country illegally as “illegal aliens.” I get it, they are not following the law, but these people are humans just like you and me and should be treated as such. We are a country that was created by immigrants, and all of a sudden, we are no longer welcoming to others that are looking to build better lives for themselves and their families. It brings tears to my eyes to think, what if that were my mom and me? What if she was bringing me to America to get away from violence and persecution to give me a better life, just for me to be ripped from her arms and separated from her for an indefinite amount of time? Some of these children may never be reunited with their parents.

For a long time now, God has been putting it on my heart to take up my Cross and care for those less fortunate than I — no matter the consequences. This is why I chose to leave the Republican Party and support a Democratic candidate — Beto O’Rourke — that I genuinely believe cares for those who cannot help themselves. This does not mean that I will never vote Republican again. When I voted this time around, I did not vote Democrat down the ticket. But this does mean I will refuse to support any politician who has a “me” attitude and does not care about the well-being of those whom they have been elected to represent.

Bailey VanNatta is a senior history major from Mineral Wells.