Why I Choose to Remain With the Republican Party

It’s the one question I’m asked more than anything else: “Why do you stay with the Republican Party? You seem like more of a Libertarian to me.”

It’s a fair question, I suppose. There are a lot of issues where I don’t agree with many of my Republican friends: I think we should end the war on drugs; I think we should cut way back on the military aggression we show the world; I think government revenue should exceed government expenses; I think the federal government should be strictly limited to the powers expressly given to it in the Constitution.

There’s some common ground to be found with my fellow Republicans, for sure. And it’s those days that being a Republican is easy. When we’re on the same side of the talking points, it’s all good. But when we disagree, the name calling starts, the rumors start working their way through the rumor mill, and idiocy abounds. It’s those days I have to remind myself why I choose to remain in the Republican Party.

I have good friends in the Libertarian Party who offer constant reminders that they welcome my views of limited government and increased individual responsibility. When you look at the Libertarian platform, you’ll see that somebody like me lines up really well with the vast majority of a Libertarian’s beliefs about the role of government.

But even though I know I’d be welcomed enthusiastically into the Libertarian Party, and even though certain people who I used to think were friends have resorted to juvenile behavior when they disagree with me, I choose to remain in the company of these people. Here are a few reasons I have decided to stay with the GOP:

We have a two-party system. A lot of people say this like it’s a good thing. I disagree. It’s terrible that two groups of people have shared control of who gets to play the political game. The free market is a good thing, that competition makes all competitors better, and that competition will work just as well with political parties as it will with economic competitors. The problem, however, is that until the Democrats and Republicans truly embrace the free market, the inferior two-party system will remain, and working outside of that would be a disadvantage for me.

We have to choose our battles. Much like my Libertarian friends, I want to find good people to run for office so I can vote for someone of principle. The problem, however, is that while Republicans can actually fight that battle, Libertarians are left fighting the battle for access to the ballot. Here in Georgia, ballot access laws are some of the worst in the nation. While I respect (and support) the effort Libertarians put into fighting for ballot access, that’s not the battle I want to be fighting right now, so it makes more sense for me to stay in the Republican Party.

I want to be taken seriously. I hope my Libertarian friends will understand that I mean no disrespect on this point. The sad truth is that because voters are so brainwashed in the two-party mindset (and, yes, also because some Libertarians really are crazy), people who say they are Libertarians are often immediately dismissed from serious political discussion. I have found that people in the GOP will listen to what I have to say if I can get them to take me seriously. And I’m not convinced they will take me seriously with an “L” behind my name.

I believe change must come from within. There is a lot that needs to change in the Republican Party, and I believe effecting that change from outside the GOP will be impossible. Some tell me the Republican Party has passed the point of being salvaged. I’m not ready to accept that analysis. I still believe that the necessary change can come to the GOP, but that the much-needed change will have to come from within the party.

These are my reasons. I have some others, but these are the primary reasons I choose to stay with the GOP. Hopefully I can help be a part of a movement that takes the Party away from its liberal tendencies and toward the concept of individual freedom.

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