Democrats to the GOP(15): Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, 1995. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, 1994. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, 1983: He joined the GOP while in the House, was re-elected to the House, then elected to the Senate Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, 1964. Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas, 2004. Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia, 2000: He first became an independent, later became a Republican. Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia, 1995. Rep. Greg Laughlin of Texas, 1995. He lost in GOP primary in the following election. Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, 1995. Rep. Mike Parker of Mississippi, 1995, Rep. Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana, 1995. In the next election, he lost a bid for the Senate. Rep. Tommy Robinson of Arkansas, 1989. Rep. Bill Grant of Florida, 1989. He was not re-elected in 1990. Rep. Andy Ireland of Florida, 1984. Rep. Eugene Atkinson of Pennsylvania, 1981. He was not re-elected in 1982.
Democrat to Independent(1): Sen. Harry Byrd Jr. of Virginia, 1971.
Republican to Democrat(1): Rep. Michael Forbes of New York, 1999. He was not re-elected in 2000.
Republican to Independent(2): Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, 2001. Sen. Wayne Morse of Oregon, 1952. Became a Democrat in 1955.
Switch back(1): Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, became independent in 1999 during a failed run for the presidency, then returned to the Republican Party.
"When you go into the lion's den, you don't tippy-toe in. You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee and say, 'Where's the son of a bitch?' If you go in any other way, you're going to lose."- Ravens coach Brian Billick, 1/7/2001
Good riddance. There are way too many Republicans who walk around as Democrats in name only.
As for how the GOP dominates party switching, that list is surprising, but I'm not surprised the GOP has an edge. Not to say both parties don't have a lot of conflicting view points between the moderates and extremists, but the Democrats seem to have the more difficult situation. The Republicans, generally speaking, usually know what's for the good of the party and are able to put their differences aside for (what they think is) a positive cause. People on the left side of the political spectrum are way too stubborn. They are no stronger in their beliefs than their right counterparts, but they are more willing to go in conflict amongst themselves and wear themselves out when the time actually comes to go against a conservative. Yes..I've somehow drifted into talking about the current Democratic nomination process. Goddamnit.
You should really include John Lindsay in there, who was elected Mayor of New York as a Republican and later ran for the Democratic nomination for President.
A few other notes:
First, it's not so much that the GOP dominated the party switchers, it's that the South dominates the party switchers. Taking out the south, both parties have what might be expected - one or two party switchers a decade.
And in the south, it simply makes sence. These conservative democrats don't become liberal republicans, they become conservative republicans. It's not a matter of hopping a little bit over to the right, just enough to be considered a republican. It's a matter of formalizing the relationship already - mostly due to political expediency.
The Democrats have been losing their conservative wing, and the Republicans their liberal wing, consistently for the last 40 years. What the difference is that the Democratic Machine was stongest in the South and Northeast, and these two regions have dominated Congress for almost the entire post-civil war era. For the longest time Congress was essentially Massachusettes and Texas splitting up the pork.
In the south, these conservative party switchers would come up through the Democratic organization, because there was no other way to get elected to lower local office. Once they had enough name recognition they could switch to the party that was ideologically closer. Post 1994 this became much easier, as the GOP, in addition to becoming the ideological party of the south, became competitive (if not dominant) in terms of grassroots, machine style politics.
In the Northeast, you had no such dilemna. In all but a few areas (Nassau County is the best example), there has been no advantage for a Liberal to try to start a political career as a Republican, since the Grassroots apparatus is Democratic. Once liberals felt more comfortable ideologically as Democrats, they became Democrats, almost always in college or before running for elective office.
I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
Originally posted by GrimisThis is really not an earth-shattering story that Ralph Hall left for the GOP, but it says something when a lifelong conservative Democrat bolts to the other side at the tender age of 80.
And why did he make the switch? From the story:
Hall said he's always said he'd switch parties or resign if being a Democrat hurt his district.
He said that happened when GOP leaders recently refused to place money for his district in a spending bill.
He said the only reason they gave him for the refusal was that he was a Democrat.
Nice to see that the bipartisan spirit has returned to Texas politics...
"As far as my lack of professional courtesy and my obvious immature humor in referring to using your head as a pickle jar, well, I reserve my courtesy for those whom I respect. Your lack of personal integrity has given me much grief, and I find that thinking of your hollowed-out head sitting on top of my fridge and providing a safe haven for pickles is a comforting thought." -- the immortal Bill Mattocks