The longest-serving Republican member of the Iowa legislature, state Rep. Andy McKean, left the GOP on Tuesday and became a Democrat. Like other recent party switchers, he cited President Donald Trump as the reason he could no longer identify as a Republican.
“I believe that it is just a matter of time before our party pays a heavy price for President Trump’s reckless spending and shortsighted financial policies; his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy; and his disregard for environmental concerns.” McKean warned at a press conference. He said he would leave the House Republican majority caucus and join the House Democratic minority.
McKean also said he believes Trump sets “a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children, by personally insulting — often in a crude and juvenile fashion — those who disagree with him; being a bully at a time we’re attempting to discourage bullying; his frequent disregard for the truth; and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity, or disability.”
“If this is the new normal, I want no part of it,” he concluded.
Since the blue wave in the November 2018 midterms cost Republicans hundreds of state legislative seats, seven Republican state lawmakers have abandoned their former party. Most cited Trump and the GOP’s lurch to the far-right as the reason for their departures.
In January, Dawn Marie Addiego, the New Jersey Senate Republicans’ then-deputy whip, became a Democrat while lamenting that the “party which once echoed the vision of Ronald Reagan no longer exists.” California Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein did the same, saying that Trump’s conduct has been “reprehensible, immature, counterproductive to what I believed was best for the country.” Three Kansas state legislators also switched from the GOP to the Democratic Party in December. Maine state Rep. Don Marean announced in January that he was leaving the GOP and became an independent, telling the Bangor Daily News that he would let the move speak for itself.
Just four Democrats have switched parties in the same time frame — all in states Trump carried by double-digit margins in 2016.