The Democrats are having a field day with this one. From a DPW press release this morning:
This morning, on the eve of the RPW Convention in Milwaukee, outgoing Wisconsin College Republican Chair Lora Rae Anderson announced that she is joining the Democratic Party. As Lora said in her remarks, while she spent the last year working to build the GOP, they spent the last year trying to take her health care away.
Here's the youtube video of her announcement. The speech is somewhat mechanic, and does not come off as particularly genuine, given the rather apparent insertion of Democratic talking points. She provided Blogging Blue some insight on her departure:
One thing Lora Rae did make clear is that she considers herself to be center-left in her beliefs, so she hasn't shifted her beliefs too dramatically.
Huh? What was she doing chez les Republicains? Well, before I get an answer from her, I will guess that she grew up in a Republican family and associated the party with the values of...I don't know...God, country, guns. Almost all of us make conscious or subconscious political affiliations and shape stances on issues to fit that affiliation. That is even more true of people who get involved in partisan politics.
Nevertheless, it's still a great piece of news for the Dems. Even though many Republicans are already spinning it, saying Anderson was "never really a conservative," her departure is emblematic of a generation of college students who feel estranged from the cultural conservatism that the GOP relies on to woo older voters. In fact, Anderson first left the GOP after the chair of the Eau Claire GOP used racial slurs to describe some of Anderson's friends on facebook. She likely understood that the us vs. them division of the Republican message is often drawn on cultural, ethnic and religious lines.
And then from that point, it seems, she asked herself if the GOP was really looking after people like her. Was it doing what it could to provide education? Health care? Staunch conservatives would say "No, that's not the role of government." But that's not what the GOP stands for. As Anderson pointed out, the party has no problem subsidizing big banks for student loans, but it reacts hysterically as soon as directly lending money to students is proposed. What does the party stand for? It's one side of a cultural war that she doesn't want to fight for anymore.