Artur Davis: Why I Left the Democratic Party

In Part 1 of their interview, the newly minted Republican addresses speculation on his big switch.

Posted: 06/06/2012 11:40 AM EDT

It didn't exactly come as a shock last week when Artur Davis announced his switch to the Republican Party. Although the former U.S. congressman from Alabama served as a top surrogate to Barack Obama in 2008 and was once widely anticipated to become a Democratic power player, he frequently walked out of step with fellow Democrats in the House. He was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the Affordable Care Act, for example, as well as the 2007 Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which outlawed employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

By the time Davis left his seat in Congress in 2010 to run for governor of Alabama -- a bid in which he suffered a crushing Democratic-primary defeat -- he'd stepped up his criticism of the Obama administration. However, it wasn't until last month that he finally made the decision to switch parties. "At the end of the day, being in the Republican Party feels like a more comfortable ideological home for me," Davis told The Root in an interview. In Part 1 of that exchange, he also explained his political evolution and why, despite sharp ideological differences with Democrats, it was hard to say goodbye.

The Root: I understand that this was a decision you made cumulatively over time, not based on one policy issue. But was there a breaking point, or moment of clarity, that motivated your switch to the Republican Party?

Artur Davis: Over the last two years -- not being in elective office, and not being a candidate for elective office -- I've had a chance to be a spectator. When you're a spectator, you can listen to what the sides are saying and weigh the arguments.

I concluded over that two-year period that the things Democrats were saying don't match what I think and what I feel. The things that Republicans were saying come closer to matching what I think and feel. It doesn't mean that either party is a perfect fit. It doesn't mean that there aren't some positions I hold that would be compatible with either party.

 Cynthia Gordy is The Root's senior political correspondent.

 Read the full story at theroot.com.



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(Photo: Birmingham News/Landov)


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