The Seattle Times: A new movement to restore or replace the Republican party

By Chris Vance

The rise of Donald Trump and the transformation of the Republican party created a new American political movement as millions of formerly Republican leaning voters, and hundreds of prominent former Republican leaders, turned against Trump and his new authoritarian Republican party. Multiple organizations were formed to help defeat Trump and elect President Joe Biden and other Democrats in 2020, including the Lincoln ProjectRepublican Voters Against Trump and Stand Up Republic. Together, we were part of the coalition that won the 2020 election.

With that mission accomplished, discussions and planning began in February regarding how to advocate for common sense moderate or center-right policies and candidates. That effort is now taking shape.

This week, I joined with dozens of prominent current and former Republicans, including former U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, former Gov. Bill Weld, of Massachusetts, Ambassador Jim Glassman, former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, and many more, to announce our support for a manifesto, “A Call for American Renewal,” and to pledge ourselves to “either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative.” In other words, over time we seek to either restore or replace the current Republican party.

Millions of us are now politically homeless. We believe there is a demand for a third option, for a movement dedicated to core American principles. Specifically, a movement or party which:

·  Supports a free, open society in which everyone can go as far as their efforts and talents will take them in a free-market economy, while maintaining a robust safety net for those who need assistance.

·  Welcomes America’s growing diversity and stands for the protection of the rights of all Americans to live their lives as they choose, free from racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of hate and intolerance.ADVERTISINGSkip AdSkip AdSkip Ad

·  Is committed to energetic American leadership around the world to protect democracy and human rights.

·  Opposes voter suppression and supports common sense reforms to enhance democracy.

·  And first and foremost, stands for truth, democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, and stands against nativist, isolationist authoritarianism.

Politically, we will work in partnership with others to elect candidates who share our goals, including moderate Democrats, courageous principled Republicans, or those running under a new party banner. As this movement takes shape, I will be working to explore the possibility of creating a Washington state chapter.

The elections of 2016 and 2020 blew up our political system. The Republican party is shrinking, as record numbers of voters now call themselves independents. The number of Americans identifying as Republican is the lowest it has been in a decade, according to a recent Gallup poll. As I have written in these pages, and elsewhere, we live in an era of political realignment and instability as our party system is changing.

Some Republicans have made their choice; they support Trumpism. Going forward, much will depend on the future direction of the Democratic Party. It is undeniable that there is an ongoing struggle for the future of the Democratic Party. Today, moderate, establishment Democrats are in control, but what will happen when relatively moderate veteran leaders like President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, here at home, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray eventually leave the stage? America needs a third way. We need a movement expressly dedicated to traditional, moderate, one-nation principles.

It is extraordinary for a group of leaders to attempt to create a new political movement. How successful we will be remains to be seen, but we must make the effort. We live in dangerous times. Trumpism is, unfortunately, still a threat. The next battle for American democracy is around the corner — and moderates must be in the fight. If enough Americans want it to happen, we can remake our politics. If you agree that it is time to renew America, join us.Chris Vance of Sumner is a former chair of the Washington State Republican Party, and a former Metropolitan King County Council member and state representative. Vance is now a political independent, and a Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center.