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Op-Ed: George Will's Deceleration

Of Independence

Greg Orman

July 1, 2016

George Will’s decision to leave the GOP should be a wake-up call for the leaders of both Democrats and Republicans. For years now, I have been asking voters of all stripes to declare their independence from the two major political parties.

As an Independent, I’ve come to view both parties as nothing more than aggregation points for special interests. In my recently published book, “A Declaration of Independents,” I assert that the most powerful act a voter can commit is to leave the major parties. This is what it will take to send politicians the message that they can’t go to Washington and hide behind their party labels. They actually have to start solving problems.

For someone like George Will, however, the act of re-registering as an unaffiliated voter runs contrary to decades of personal investment on his part. A conservative icon, he risks losing his standing – and his audience – by encouraging mutiny within the Republican ranks. Like the kid on the playground who stands up to a bully, Will’s resolve should be applauded. 

His break with the GOP appears to be primarily about the problematic temperament of the party’s presumed nominee, not Donald Trump’s malleable ideology. In that sense, he is on firm footing. I would argue that if he were leaving over an ideological divide, he should have left the party 10 years ago after Republicans led us through the most fiscally irresponsible period of time in our country’s history.

The resulting federal debt all but guaranteed that future generations of Americans would not be afforded the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents, but instead would face mountains of red ink and unfunded entitlements. To any true conservative making a purely ideological decision, this should have been a tipping point.

Millions of Americans have already taken the step that George Will recently took. In fact, 42 percent of Americans now self-identify as politically independent – more than Democrats or Republicans for the seventh year in a row.  Someone of Will’s stature publicly joining the ranks of political independents will hopefully lead millions more Americans to rethink their reflexive support for a political party.

Will was such a skillful advocate for the Republican Party that it was even hard for me, someone who was on the receiving end of his sharp wit, not to admire him. In 2014, when I was running as an Independent to unseat a three-term Republican senator, Will visited one of our field offices and spent just over an hour with me. While the words leading up to... Continue Reading.

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