Support Local News.

Please support our work by subscribing today.

Moderate Connecticut Republicans should head for the lifeboats

There may be no better example of the disintegration of the Connecticut Republican Party than the reaction party-endorsed candidates for governor and U.S. Senate got this month to their very bland, happy Gay Pride Month tweets.

You would think, from some of the blistering criticism they heard in response tweets, from the hardcore within their own party, that they had suggested sex with donkeys.

If moderate Republicans aren't allowed by party regulars to acknowledge Gay Pride Month in Connecticut in 2022, how can they ever find common ground with Connecticut's moderate voters on thornier issues like gun control and abortion?

It's been a long time now since any Republican has been able to win statewide office in Connecticut.

The odds for that ever happening are getting a lot longer, as the Trumpists and their followers become more entrenched in the party both nationally and in Connecticut.

Republicans, in their reckless embrace of extremists, from religious zealots against reasonable abortion to gun crazies advocating access to military weapons by young people and, now, election-denying insurrectionists, have made themselves pretty unelectable in blue Connecticut.

I've met gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, and he seems to me to be a socially moderate, reasonable, small-government advocate who, in the past, might have been able to cobble together enough votes from his own party, conservative Democrats and independents to win.

I think in this polarized environment, when independents realize that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court is pushing crucial social/cultural issues to states to decide, that there's no wiggle room in who you elect.

I am not going to give my vote to someone like Stefanowski, who may seem like an acceptable candidate in his own right, but who is going to have to cater to the crazies in his party that want to arm young people with military weaponry and deny women the right to abortion.

The stakes are now too high, and that tightrope that moderates have always had to walk here is now way too treacherous.

I believe there is no taming the unhinged in the Connecticut Republican Party — like the ones who send me long rambling emails equating the Jan. 6 attempted coup in the Capitol with protests about the police killing of a Black man on a public street.

I might suggest those moderate, straight-thinking Connecticut Republicans instead find a new political home.

It's really no longer enough to simply say you don't like Donald Trump and you believe he lost the 2020 election. At this point, to be taken seriously by Connecticut moderates, you need to unequivocally repudiate Trump and his efforts to undermine our democracy.

Maybe some of those moderate Republicans can find refuge in the conservative wing of the Democratic Party in Connecticut. There is a rich tradition of that, even before Trump pushed the Republican Party to such intolerable extremes.

Maybe they can launch a new party. There is a tradition for that, too.

Lowell Weicker, a liberal Republican, managed to start his own party and defeat his Republican and Democratic rivals to be elected governor.

When liberal Democrats chose Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman in a primary for U.S. Senate, Lieberman put his name on the ballot with a new party and defeated Democrat Lamont in the general election.

There is a rich history in Connecticut for politicians to reject the hardcore of their bases to win elections on their own terms, selling their own policies and ideology.

Moderates, including many mainstream Republicans, have a lot to offer the people of Connecticut, mostly a balance to the monolithic Democratic Party and its tight-fisted control of government.

Given the sad state of the Republican Party and its new embrace of authoritarianism, those independent-thinking moderates might better find a new political home than try to live with what seems to be irreparable damage to the state's once Grand Old Party.

Let the crazies who have taken over keep it. And let's all fight them hard in defending democracy.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

TRENDING

PODCASTS