The lone remaining Republican statewide elected official on the Left Coast is openly pondering severing ties with the party, NPR reported today.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, shaken by Donald Trump’s attacks on democracy and our cherished tradition of free and fair elections, acknowledged in a statement that the Republican Party is no longer a party that believes in republicanism.
I think every Republican elected official right now in the country is really having to do some soul searching about why they’re Republican, and what it means to them, and why they are a part of the the party. I know I have been doing that.
Before a ballot was printed, before any election official even knew who was going to be on the ballot, the President of the United States was talking about rigged elections, and that it was the only explanation that was plausible for him losing.
Reflecting on the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, Wyman added:
If that’s what my party stands for now, I don’t know that I can continue being a Republican, because that’s not what republicanism is about.
Last autumn, we published a lengthy and carefully researched report detailing Wyman’s involvement in the Republican Party, including the Republican Party at the national level. We put that post together because we felt that voters deserved access to that information before the election concluded.
It ended up as one of the Cascadia Advocate’s most read posts of 2020.
By that point in the campaign, Wyman had spent months telling editorial boards, civic groups, and voters that the position she was running for should be “nonpartisan” while seeking reelection as a Republican.
I pointed out that this was disingenuous:
Wyman could have modeled the very behavior she says she wants to see by declaring no party preference in her bid for a third term and running as an unaffiliated candidate.
But she didn’t. Instead, she filed as a Republican.
And she has been campaigning, with gusto, as a Republican, on the (mostly virtual) campaign trail.
Because she is a Republican, through and through. Even despite neofascist Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party.
Occasionally, Wyman has put out a public statement softly disagreeing with something that Trump has said, but that has pretty much been the extent of her divergence from Trump.
I don’t doubt Wyman’s sincerity when she says she isn’t voting for Trump. But she has not joined the opposition to Trump, or done anything to hold her own party accountable for the incredible damage that it has inflicted upon our country’s democratic institutions.
Since that post was written and published, Wyman has become more critical of Donald Trump, and more open about the anguish she feels about the direction of the Republican Party. These latest comments are very encouraging.
By openly talking about her political identity and revealing that she’s doing some soul searching, Wyman is moving closer towards being the role model we’d like to see her be. Kudos to her for being willing to discuss her feelings of pain and disappointment openly. It takes courage to go on the record like that.
As mentioned, Wyman has talked about making her job nonpartisan. If she were to disaffiliate from the Republican Party and make outreach to groups across the ideological spectrum a priority, then she would be practicing more of what she preached during her campaign. It would be a well-received move.
We are always interested at NPI in working with people of all political persuasions to find agreement and advance worthy causes.
We have appreciated the opportunity to engage with Kim Wyman and her staff on issues like getting the Democratic Party to adopt a presidential primary for delegate allocation, modernizing the Corporations & Charities Filing System (CCFS), and fixing issues with VoteWA and vote.wa.gov. From 2013 to the present, Wyman’s office has always been approachable, and we appreciate that.
It can be hard to leave behind an institution you’ve been part of for a long time and have fond memories of. But when an institution has become as broken and destructive as the Republican Party has, it’s the right thing to do.