Fmr. Rep. Artur Davis: Why I Converted From Democrat to Republican

Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012 02:12 PM

By Henry J. Reske and Kathleen Walter

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It took two years of reflection to come to the conclusion that he was closer to the Republican Party than the Democratic Party and other African Americans may soon be in agreement, Artur Davis, a four-term Democratic member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Newsmax.TV.

Davis, who represented Alabama’s 7th congressional district from 2003 to 2011, stepped down after losing in a Democratic gubernatorial primary. He said his decision to switch parties was not “made overnight” or “made lightly” but one that took two years.

“I’ve been out of public office for two years now,” he said. “I’ve been on the sidelines and the good thing about being on the sidelines is you get a good chance to be a spectator and actually listen to what both sides are saying. To listen to what both sides are saying and decide what makes sense and what seems to be speaking to the challenges facing the country now. I just simply took inventory.

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“On most of the issues that face the country now, I lean closer to and feel more comfortable with the Republican side, with the Republican way of looking at the world than the Democratic way of looking at the world. There was no one issue, there was no two issues, it was a combination of things. But this feels more comfortable. It feels like the right place for me.”

Davis believes that other African Americans may make that same journey once President Barack Obama is off the scene, noting that blacks feel an “enormous loyalty” to the nation’s first black president.

“After President Obama leaves the scene of the candidate, I think you are going to see African Americans take stock of the political process and they are going to notice something that I’ve noticed, the Republican Party has done a much better job, a much more inclusive job of electing minorities to high office and electing them to positions in non-black environments,” he said.

Davis believes that African Americans can play a “significant” role in moving the Republican Party forward.

“What I would love to see in this country would be a politics where if you aspire to office or if you aspire to serve your community, the last question anyone asks you is what’s your skin color? And the last questions anyone asks you is are you just going to be a good advocate for your race and your community? Real progress in this country, being a truly colorblind society, being a truly post-racial society, will happen when any American has a chance to contend for office anywhere and to be judged on his or her qualifications and abilities.”

The Harvard and Harvard Law School graduate said that colorblindness can be found in the Republican Party that has elected Reps. Allen West, R-Fla., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Governors Bobby Jindal, R-La., and Nikki Haley, R-S.C.

Davis noted that President Obama had a huge opportunity to move the Democratic Party towards the center and to craft creative solutions that crossed party lines on a variety of issues including health car, climate change and the economy.

“Instead, the decision was made to more or less adopt a Democratic playbook and a liberal agenda that had building up for 10 or 15 or 20 years,” he said. “I understand the politics of that. The president was trying to solidify his base in many ways. The reality is so many people in this country four years ago voted to turn the page on the president’s word. They voted to get past the ideological log jam that we’d gotten so accustomed to in this country, and, instead, what they’ve seen is an administration that’s been more ideological, more determined to enact big change with small partisan majority than we’ve seen in a very, very long time.

“That’s the big unfulfilled promise that the Obama administration, and administration that talks to passionately about bringing the country together, now, what do we see instead, a more polarized, more fractured country than we had before.”

Davis said only a small portion of elected Democrats are conservative while some 25 to 30 percent of party members are conservative or moderate and that may cost Obama his re-election.

“There is a very big gap between the leadership of the Democratic Party and the rank and file of the Democratic Party and I do think that’s something that’s beginning to hurt this president,” he said. “It absolutely cost the Democrats the Congress in 2010 and it could very well cost Barack Obama the White House.

There are a lot of Democrats who are conservative, if you will, on a range of things. Social issues, even economic issues. It’s not that they don’t see the force of the argument on the other side; they don’t want their positions to be minimized. They don’t want people to say, if you don’t agree with me on abortion or if you don’t agree with me on same-sex marriage, that that means you’re someone who hates women or is bigoted or hates gays or someone who wants to turn the clock backward. People want to know that their opinions or their beliefs are respected.”

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