Monday, January 26, 2015


Switching parties, cool or not cool?  The question that always comes up when someone switches parties to run for office WHY?  Change is the one thing we can count on in life and as we age we become more and more aware of the changes going on around us.

Did you know that most of the currently elected officials in Milam County were at one time Democrats?  Even Judge Barkemeyer was a Democrat.  He was a Democratic Precinct Chair at one time.  Of course he switched parties before he ran for Milam County Judge.

Did those that changed change because they were running for office, or because the parties changed to the point that they switched to the one that more closely represented their views?  Knowing most of the county officials as well as I do I have to say that most of them are conservatives and therefore the change came because the Republican Party is the more conservative party.

Yes, I do believe that there are still some conservative Democrats somewhere in the universe.  But as one person told me recently, "You cannot be conservative and be a real Democrat these days."

So why do candidates switch  parties?  There are a number of reasons that an elected official, or someone seeking office, might choose to switch parties. One reason is ethical obligation: the person has views that are no longer aligned with those of the current party.

A second reason is to gain power and influence. The incumbent may be a member of the minority party in a legislature and would like to gain the advantages of being in the majority party, such as the potential to chair a committee.

A disaffected incumbent who might not hold a leadership position or feels ignored or mistreated by the majority party might join the minority party with the expectation of holding a leadership position in the minority party and if currently elected, having the complete support of the minority party for re-election, who would certainly want to have more elected officials in their ranks.

Another reason is simply to get elected. This may be the primary reason when the opposing party's base in a constituency is reaching a size that threatens the safe reelection of the incumbent or the elected official fears being defeated in the primary.

Personally, my switch came about because of reason number one; my views are no longer aligned with the Democratic party and have not been for a long long time.  As for others that have changed I can not tell you their reasons. 

What I found on the internet about party switching pretty much indicates to me that our country is moving to more conservative voters even though the liberals seem to be in control at this point in time.  From my count more D's have switched parties than R's.  One author even surmised that as we age we get more conservative.  Perhaps it's just that as we age we get more life experience and therefore are more intelligent.

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