In Political Parties, Betrayal is a Good Thing

Party loyalty has become extreme as members of the Republican party take their views too far. A handful of Republicans have defected from the GOP in response to this. Their defections make a statement about the inner state of the party.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton ran for office because of a lack of stable funding for public education. However, now that the leaders in the Kansas House and Senate are considering scrapping the bipartisan education plan that has been in development for the last two years and is close to ending the cycle of school litigation, Clayton has decided to defect from her party. She has stated that the Republican Party seems to no longer represent or serve the interest of their people.

California Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has also given up her Republican Party affiliation. She stated that she did so because of concerns about increasing political polarization and incivility in the U.S., as well as the rhetoric against immigrants, as she herself was the product of “tremendous opportunity and inclusiveness.”

David Adkins, a former Republican state senator from Johnson County, reports that his father, who had been a devoted Republican his entire life, had told the family he had become a Democrat because of the present political turmoil. Adkins expressed that he never would’ve thought that his dad would die a Democrat and how his father’s actions “affirmed for me that values always trump party” affiliation.

Florida Republican Tom Rooney criticized his party by saying, “I’ve been in this job eight years and I’m racking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening. We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.”

For the past few years in Trump’s term, the Republican Party has tried to repeal healthcare, defund Planned Parenthood, dispel unions, create tax cuts for the rich to shove them onto the poor, and much more legislations along that same theme. They haven’t proposed any legislation to help the people, or give back to the people. They work to benefit themselves and their richest supporters.

The party should be put in check if this is how they function. The Republican Party has shown that they do not represent nor work for the people. Many of their legislative actions do not have the people’s best interest in mind. Defecting from a party in response to and in criticism of the movements of said party shows how disappointed government officials are with how things are running. These members of the Republican Party saw it was not serving the people and therefore did not want to support or be affiliated with it.

The term groupthink explains that for the sake of group unity, the people within a group conform and fail to make rational decisions as a result of this conformity. The Republican party appears to have developed something along these lines. The majority acts and creates legislation that many in their own party do not agree with, but, because their political identity was founded in the party, it is hard for many members to speak up. Many people blind themselves with party loyalty and fail to comprehend how the actions of their party could be detrimental. As Democratic Gov. of Kansas Laura Kelly has stated, “Party affiliation is often like a religion and it’s very, very difficult to go through that process to decide, ‘OK, it’s time to make a change.’”

Therefore, the action of defection, or betrayal, is necessary to make a statement. In any situation, it is required to make a stand to show how the direction a party is heading is not for the people.  

Instead of being loyal to a party, loyalty should be toward the nation as a whole. Instead of thinking of how to improve a party’s status to benefit themselves financially and personally, the party should go back to thinking of how to improve the lives of the people of the nation.

Joanne Kim is a second-year English major. She can be reached at joannjk4@uci.edu.