This post is basically my political autobiography and will chronicle how I came to align myself with the Republican Party.
At the age of 18, I registered to vote. At the time, I lived in a state where you had to declare a party when you registered. My parents were both Democrats. My father, in fact, was a delegate for Presidential hopeful Gary Hart in 1984. This being my only real knowledge of politics at the time, other than what I was taught in Civics class and the fact that the only President I knew anything about was President Reagan, I chose to register as a Republican.
I remained a Republican up until after the Presidential primaries in 1992. I voted as a Republican in the Presidential primary. I do not remember who I voted for in that primary but I know that it is was the current President at the time, George H.W. Bush.
I would also like to mention that at this point in time I was a little bit more involved with educating myself in the political process. In fact, I was a member of the Student Senate at the college I was attending.
After the primaries were over, and Bush won the nomination, I felt myself very unimpressed with the Republican Party. I was also not too terribly impressed with the Democratic Party either, however, after having looked at both candidates, including H. Ross Perot, I felt more in tune with the Democratic nominee, Bill Clinton. At this point, I decided to re-register as a Democrat, even going so far as to ascend to the Vice Presidency of the Young Democrats.
After Clinton won the election, I of course, remained a Democrat. I remained a Democrat until toward the end of Clinton's 2nd term. I never did like Al Gore (I still don't). I did not really want to see him become President. But I also at the time did not want to see the son of the President I despised back in the early 90s become President either. By the time the primaries came around for this election, I registered as an Independent because I was completely disenfranchised with both parties and began to really hate the two-party system. Registering as an independent in the state I was living in however made me not eligible to vote in either primary.
Not knowing who to vote for, I began looking at all of the options for Independent candidates and began to feel more in tune with the Libertarian Party. So I supported, campaigned and voted for the Libertarian Party's candidate, Harry S. Browne. I also campaigned and voted for an Independent candidate for that state's gubernatorial election. Neither one of them won, of course, but I began to realize that I was not in tune at all with either political party and remained an Independent for a very long time after that.
Fast forwarding to 2008, the Presidential primaries were in full swing and I of course was registered as an Independent which meant I could not vote in the primaries. Oddly, I re-registered as a Republican just in time to be able to vote in those primaries and voted for Mike Huckabee. Shortly after the primary, I switched back to Independent. I did this switcharoo because I genuinely like Huckabee as a person and had not quite decided at that point in time which Independent I was going to support in that Presidential election. I did not re-register before the primaries as a Democrat because I did not like any of the choices.
With the general election going on, I briefly supported Obama (very very briefly) until I came to my senses and realized how much I truly did not (and still don't) trust the guy. I was not a fan of Senator McCain either and did not support him either. In the end, in the last few weeks of the campaign, I decided to throw my support behind Ralph Nader. Not necessarily because I believed in his policies (although I did agree with some of them) but because I felt like he was the best chance an Independent had of making a strong showing.
Immediately following the election, I realized that being an Independent was truly a lesson in futility. There was no way, especially not in the state in which I was living at the time and currently still live in, an independent candidate in any elected office will ever make enough of a showing to make any kind of difference. I realized that the entire time I remained staunchly Independent I was in fact kidding myself.
So I began a sort of political soul-search to figure out where I belonged.
I began to think about which Party I truly was more in tune with.
At first, I realized that there were a lot of issues that I agreed with the Republican Party platform on but there were some I disagreed with so there was little chance that other Republicans would warm up to me being in their party.
On the other side of the coin, I had little desire to join the Democratic Party. This was the Party that put the current administration into office and that was something that I could never support. On top of the fact that I had very little in common with this party and it's stand on the issues.
So after much thought and discussion with members of both parties (and discussions among other fellow Independents), I decided that since I agreed with the ideals of the Republican Party more often than I disagreed with them and that I truly did feel more in tune with their conservative principles, I decided to throw my hat into the GOP ring.
In some ways, I still consider myself to be an independent voter. I am not a blind partisan and there are still a couple of things that I disagree with the party on but I believe it was Reagan who once said if you are with me 80% of the time, you are with me and that is my take on this because I am sure that I agree with the GOP more than 80% of the time.
In any case, I am conservative and for now, the Republican Party is the party that espouses conservative ideals. So unless the GOP does a complete shift to the left at some point in time, the Republican Party is where my loyalty lies.
And that, my friends, is how I became an Elephant.