In Pennsylvania – an important swing state – thousands have quit the GOP since the US Capitol riot

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A crowd cheers as ex-President Donald Trump speaks during a ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign rally at Williamsport Regional Airport, May 20, 2019 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

  • Almost 19,000 people have quit the Pennsylvania GOP this year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
  • Nearly twice as many Republicans have become Democrats as compared to vice versa.
  • That is a marked shift from previous years.
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Thousands of people have quit the Republican Party in Pennsylvania since the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday.

Of the 30,000 Pennsylvanians who have changed their party registration, nearly two-thirds – 19,000 – have been Republicans. Most have elected to become independents, but nearly 29% of party changes been members of the GOP switching their affiliation to Democrat, a reversal from the years 2008 to 2020. By contrast, just 14.5% of registration changes have been Democrats switching over to the Republican Party.

“Many Republicans are aggrieved and embarrassed by the angry mob that stormed the US Capitol,” Kimberly S. Adams, a political science professor at East Stroudsburg University, told the Inquirer.

Pennsylvania is a crucial battleground state. Since 2008, the winner has gone on to the White House, Donald Trump flipping it in 2016 and Joe Biden flipping it back in 2020.

One effect could be shifting the Pennsylvania GOP, which largely backed Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, even further to the right. A leading figure in the party, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, for example, helped bus people from Pennsylvania to DC on the day of the US Capitol riot; a possible candidate for governor in 2022, he has campaigned against mask mandates and recently introduced legislation that seeks to prohibit mandatory vaccination.

Not all who have quit the party are necessarily opposed to Trump and his brand of politics, however. According to a report earlier this year, the former president is toying with the idea of launching a party of his own, which could attract support from Republicans who think the GOP – typified by US Sen. Pat Toomey, a conservative Republican who backed impeachment – did not go far enough in supporting efforts to overturn President Biden’s victory.

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