Why Kim Davis switched to the Republican Party

Kim Davis is part of a larger trend in political shifts; both the Republican and Democratic field is composed of candidates who have switched allegiances.

Chris Tilley/REUTERS
Kim Davis addresses the media just before the doors are opened to the Rowan County Clerk's Office in Morehead, Kentucky, September 14, 2015.

In the latest chapter of the story of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, the embattled Kentucky town official has chosen to switch her political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. She says that she made the move because she felt the Democratic Party had abandoned her. 

"My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?" She told Reuters

Kim Davis’s mother, Jean W. Bailey, was also a Democrat. Davis replaced her mother as county clerk following a successful bid for the position in 2014; she ran as a Democrat in that election. Davis was jailed in early September for citing “God’s authority” in her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Davis continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses herself, although her deputy clerks have been issuing them on her behalf, as per the court order that allowed her release from jail.

During the legal battle, Republicans and some conservative Christians rose to Davis’s defense. On the other side, the liberal Human Rights Campaign, which works for the equal rights of lesbian, gay, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals, decried Davis’s actions as a “needless ordeal.”

At a rally held in honor of Davis’ release from jail earlier this month, Republican Party presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz were both in attendance. Senator Cruz said in a statement, “I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.”

The switch by Davis is one that's been made by many famous politicians, past and present. Both the Republican and Democratic field is composed of 2016 presidential candidates who have switched allegiances. These include Hillary Clinton, who was president of the Wellesley College Republicans during her freshman year at the college. She became a Democrat after that year; according to her autobiography “Living History,” her views changed on the Vietnam War and Civil Rights.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump has come under fire from his fellow candidates for his liberal positions. In the past, the real estate mogul has backed an assault weapons ban, argued for tax hikes on the wealthy, and registered as a Democrat. Attack ads from other candidates have shown footage of Trump describing Ms. Clinton as a “terrific woman.”

Ben Carson once described himself as "pretty left-wing Democrat," has also been criticized for his previous liberal positions, which include backing universal healthcare and praising Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts. Senator Warren, too, was once a Republican.

In an interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, Trump explained: "Ronald Reagan was a Democrat, and he was sort of liberal. And he became a great conservative, in my opinion, and a great president and a great leader.”

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