Almost 19,000 Pennsylvania Voters Have Left Republican Party Since Capitol Riot

Almost 19,000 Pennsylvania Voters Have Left Republican Party Since Capitol RiotPA Images

Almost 19,000 voters in Pennsylvania have left the Republican party since Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building. 

Rioters descended on the Capitol on January 6, after the then-president and leader of the Republican party encouraged the crowd at his Save America rally to march and ‘make [their] voices heard’.

The insurrection led to numerous deaths and the second impeachment of Donald Trump, while also prompting thousands of Republicans to distance themselves from the party.

Officers fighting off rioters at the CapitolPA Images

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, around 19,000 Pennsylvanians have stopped supporting the Republican party since January 6. There is still a high number of supporters in the state, making up 3.5 million of the 8.8 million registered voters, though the number of defections is still unusually high.

Almost two-thirds of the voters who have switched parties this year left the Republican party, compared with a third or less typically, with an Inquirer analysis of voter registration data indicating they are often longtime party loyalists – engaged voters who cast Republican primary ballots even in low-profile, off-year elections.

In spite of their decisions to leave the party, interviews with voters indicate those who have defected haven’t changed their political ideologies. Rather, they believe their political ‘home’ has changed around them due to Trump’s leadership, and so feel more comfortable registering as third-party or independent voters.

Donald TrumpPA Images

Speaking about his decision to leave the party, 70-year-old Yardley resident Tom Mack, a Republican since the late 1970s, commented: ‘It’s not the Republican Party I know. It’s drifted far away from my beliefs… The only way I can be heard at this point is to join those who have decided to leave.’

Michael Kocher, 38, said: ‘Trumpism was a total turnoff to me. The cult of personality, the tribalism, it poisoned the Republican Party.’

Daniel Mullen, 75, voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, but grew increasingly frustrated by the former president’s claims about election fraud and the way he handled the Capitol riots.

One of the reasons Mullen defected from the party is due to local Republican parties’ efforts to censure senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial.

TrumpPA Images

He commented: ‘It really, really bothered me that two distinguished senators are being censured and reprimanded for voting their conscience, and I don’t want to be associated with a party that does that.’

Kimberly S. Adams, political science professor at East Stroudsburg University, noted that many members of the GOP are ‘aggrieved and embarrassed by the angry mob that stormed the US Capitol.’

She added they ‘are disheartened by the persistent and unabated promotion of conspiracy theories by the GOP’.

Pennsylvanians’ decision to leave the party indicates a broader political shift, while also raising the prospect of a Republican primary electorate who is even friendlier to Trump and his allies.

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