Mary Anna Mancuso: \u2018Why I Left The Republican Party This Year\u2019

I’m a political strategist and lifelong Republican living in south Florida. Ever since I was able to vote, I cast my ballot for a Republican president: Bush (twice), McCain, and Romney.

Back in 2008, I truly believed the Republican party was all about inclusion.

Yet I struggled with the party for the next decade because I believe in marriage equality, I believe in climate change, and I believe a woman has the right to make decisions about her body.

In 2016, I felt neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump was right for America. I even wrote about being an undecided voter for Women’s Health ahead of voting day that year.

I eventually ended up writing in the independent third-party presidential candidates Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn in 2016, a decision I stand by today.

After publicly discussing my hesitation to vote Republican in the 2016 presidential election, I was told I couldn’t work in politics anymore.

But I’m not afraid to stand by my principles.

When Donald Trump took office, I was cautiously optimistic.

Everyone said he’d become presidential. Sadly, things only got worse. Even I couldn’t have imagined President Trump’s America in my wildest of nightmares.

Over the last three and a half years, the Republican party has embraced President Trump and allowed him to take over. It’s no longer the party of my parents, or even the party it was when I was 18. I feel that the Republican party has abandoned its core principles and is no longer built upon conservative ideals or family values.

Since Trump took office, I’ve become a staunch proponent for putting country over party. But today’s GOP agenda is all about winning, no matter the cost.

That’s why, at the beginning of this year, I officially left the Republican party.

My intention is to vote Biden-Harris. This will be first time I’ve ever voted for a Democrat for president.

People came to America for the American dream, but that dream doesn’t exist in Trump’s America. He thinks about what’s best for him but not for America. I don’t want any part of it.

As a lifelong Republican, I no longer recognize my party. It’s not inclusive, and it doesn’t believe in science. I’m American by birth, conservative by choice, but I will always put my country over party.

Many of us are frustrated with our current leaders, especially those in the Republican party.

I’m currently working for the pro-democracy group Stand Up Republic, and was part of the digital communications team for this year’s Convention on Founding Principles (CFP2020). Held at the end of August, CFP2020 featured more than 400 delegates who, like me, are fed up with the lack of principled leadership in the White House.

It featured speeches from people like former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and former FBI director James Comey. It’s too early to know the long-term impact CFP2020 will have on partisan politics—a lot will depend on what happens this November.

But the energy is real, and we’re fired up to elected principled leaders who aren’t afraid to put country over party. For so many Republicans, conservatives, and independents, the GOP is a disappointment. They have abandoned the principles on which our nation was built.

I’m excited to vote this year.

I’m realistic about politics: I know that there will never be a perfect candidate. I’ll always be fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and right now there isn’t a party that fully represents me. But our country is looking for unity to bring light to the darkness.

There’s a lot of opportunity to make change, and I’m excited to see what Joe Biden can do. And Kamala Harris is the future of the Democratic party. She’s ambitious, spunky, and energetic—the perfect balance to Biden.

This is a ticket of truth and decency, and they are bringing optimism to a very grim season in American history. We need more of that. I need more days when I wake up hopeful than nights when I go to bed fearful.

Mary Anna Mancuso is a political strategist living in West Palm Beach, FL.

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