I was done with the party when Trump was formally nominated by the RNC, says Dan Angell in an interview
INTERVIEW - Cracks in the Republican Party seem to be getting bigger. While President Donald Trump is still strong with his base, his disengagement with some Republicans and swing voters has started to take its toll. Former Republican Dan Angell, who has previously worked on two Republican campaigns, explained why he decided to leave the Republican Party in an interview.
Dan, let’s start with what drew you to the Republican Party in the first place?
Sure. I became a Republican because I believed in a smaller government and free trade, and I still do believe that these are keys to a strong economy that creates good jobs and allows Americans to make decisions about their own lives for themselves. I believe that I know better for my own life than the government does, and that has only strengthened with Donald Trump in office as I consider him the most incompetent president in my lifetime.
You mentioned that back in 2016 you worked on two Republican campaigns, so if you could briefly talk about that?
In January 2016, I lost my job and needed to find something to do, and I wanted to be part of proving that the Republican Party was better than Donald Trump, so I joined Carly Florina’s campaign as a canvasser and spent the month knocking on doors in Iowa to try to convince voters to come out to the caucuses. After that campaign was over, I received an offer to canvass for Virginia Foxx in North Carolina’s Fifth District for her primary election, and at the time, I still thought that someone would beat Donald Trump for the nomination. I had already made up my mind that I would not support him under any circumstances, and I made clear to voters that I interacted with that while I still believed in Republican candidates such as Rep. Foxx, I would not be backing Donald Trump. Most voters understood that, although a few thought I should stick with the party. That wasn’t an option for me, and I officially decided I was done with the party when Trump was formally nominated by the RNC.
In the 2020 presidential primaries you supported former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. His message seemed to resonate with Independents; he also had a pretty strong base in key states. Among other Democrats on stage, what made him stand out to you as to a former Republican believing in limited government and economic liberties?
I thought that Pete Buttigieg had an impressive set of experiences as a veteran and as a Democratic mayor in a red state. I believe that one of the biggest problems with our nation is that Congress cares more about who gets the credit than it does about actually solving problems, and I saw Pete as someone who viewed himself as a problem solver rather than someone who was in it for ego.
Clearly, you wouldn’t identify yourself as a Democrat, yet you continue to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Still, there are Republicans as well as Independents who, even though they have their doubts, find it difficult to cross the party lines and vote democratic. Some talk about the Supreme Court, others raise the pro-life issue. In your opinion, what issue is for the moderate Republicans most difficult to reconcile?
Probably the size of government and the possibility of Democrats controlling all three branches of government. There’s also tribalism at play here. In this day and age, politics has become so polarized that many people now don’t really care what Congress and the president actually do as long as their “team” wins. I know many on the right bring up this boogeyman of socialism, despite the fact that they really don’t even know what socialism is. All they know is they’ve been conditioned to be against it, so they’re against it, even though they have no idea what it entails.
Let’s talk about the toxic environment in Congress then. Joe Biden hopes to restore bipartisanship to Washington if elected president, however, some former as well as current members of the GOP suggest “Trump’s enablers need to go”. From your perspective, is it healthy for a democratic republic to have one party in charge of all branches of government? Doesn’t it, in fact, violate the system of checks and balances?
It’s usually not preferable to have one party in charge of all branches of government, but in this political environment, it’s probably a necessary evil. Today’s Republican Party has become completely unserious about governing and only seems to care about whether they can block whatever the Democrats are for, regardless of whether it will help people or not. What we need is a new center-right party that cares about governing and can find common ground with liberals so they can actually start solving problems.
Do you think that the Biden/Harris Administration can navigate America in that direction?
I do. I think Joe Biden is the kind of decent, moral man who respects the Constitution and can work with liberals, moderates and conservatives alike to find genuine solutions. Whether the Republicans are willing to work with him is less certain.
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