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What is the #ILeftTheGOP movement?

It's mostly about Trump.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Jan 27, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 4:53 pm CDT

Yesterday’s bombshell revelations about a leaked draft of John Bolton’s book, in which he wrote that President Donald Trump wanted to delay aid to Ukraine pending its investigation of the Bidens, has inspired the hashtag #ILeftTheGOP. Former Republicans are using it to share their reasons for leaving the party.

The phenomenon is similar to the 2018 #WalkAway movement that featured purported ex-Democrats detailing their reasons for leaving the party. The movement quickly attracted the Kremlin’s notice, who put its army of trolls to work boosting the hashtag.

Pundit Cheri Jacobus appears to have started the #ILeftTheGOP trend with a pair of Sunday night tweets, the first responding to USA Today’s Sophia A. Nelson’s comment wondering if Republican senators would step up or fall in line in light of Bolton’s allegations.

Jacobus’s call to action quickly caught on. Thousands flocked to Twitter to share their stories about leaving the Republican Party.

Common themes to the reasons given include realizing that the party caters to the wealthy, becoming disillusioned with it during the second Iraq War or over its handling of Trump’s impeachment, concerns about its embrace of white nationalism and other forms of bigotry, and other issues with Republican policies and the conduct of its elected representatives.

Some of the tweets are heartbreaking, a few are amusing, but most convey disgust and resolve.

It is, however, unclear if people posting are actually former Republicans, or just people using the hashtag to criticize the GOP.

By and large, however, the prevailing reason given for leaving the GOP is simple: Trump. In tweet after tweet, self-proclaimed former Republicans write that they left the party because of Donald Trump.

Trump’s presidency has inspired numerous Republican representatives to decide against seeking re-election and led others to switch parties.

Conservatives, meanwhile, pushed back against the hashtag, at times in questionable fashion.

“I just heard whoever started the on Twitter hashtag has a severe form of herpes,” wrote radio host Wayne Dupree.

It remains to be seen whether the alleged exodus of Republicans affects the upcoming election.

“I just hope everyone who says #ILeftTheGOP is registered to vote and ready to flip the script in November,” tweeted author John Pavlovitz.


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*First Published: Jan 27, 2020, 1:21 pm CST