An Open Letter to Jaime Harrison: Reaching Out to Republicans

4 mins read

Dear Jaime Harrison,

First off, I would like to thank you for our exchange on Twitter showing that you care about the voices that do not belong to the Democratic Party. 

I don’t know if you are aware of my background, but I am a former Tea Party/MAGA Republican who voted for Trump in 2016. After supporting him for a couple of years, I realized my mistake and eventually became a Democrat in 2019. In the process, I learned some things about outreach and how to communicate with people who disagree with me. What I am proposing here is something unique, something that I do not believe happens in red districts and states. What I am suggesting does not negate or take away from the wonderful work that Stacey Abrams has done to register Democratic voters in hard-to-reach places. Instead, I’d like to build on her strategies but reach out to a different kind of voter. 

My proposal is that the DNC create a special kind of outreach program made up of elected officials or known Democratic activists going out and having tough conversations with conservatives, Trump supporters, and maybe even those in QAnon. I say this because that’s what happened to me to help bring me out of the toxic MAGA movement. The objective would not be for Democrats to convert conservatives but to open up a dialogue and help these Republicans understand what it really means to be a liberal, a progressive, a Democrat. Help them understand what white privilege means or what gun safety is actually about compared to what they are told. Help them understand that transgender people have a unique biology that poses no threat to them despite the rhetoric. Show them what the Constitution is really about and that it can be changed. Democrats can go to places like churches or schools, or hold inter-party events, just to talk with Republicans during the election off-season without needing to pressure anyone to change parties. This outreach can build up the relationship between the two groups without necessarily asking for something, like a vote.

Conservative media and today’s Republicans are spreading propaganda about liberal values and Democratic politicians, which is something that they have done for years. That’s why I originally hated President Obama and Hillary Clinton, because I trusted conservative pundits. I believe that we need to go around conservative media and straight to the people because I remember what it was like when I was a conservative — I didn’t feel like I was heard by the Democratic Party. I didn’t realize at the time that Democrats are fighting for the rights of others, and as a white man, I already have my rights. Most Americans are not on Twitter to have this exchange with well-intentioned Democrats as I did but instead encounter a lot of misinformation on Facebook and conservative talk radio and clickbait articles. I am more than happy to reach out to you to discuss ways to help promote President Biden’s message of unity and lead with you in this outreach initiative. Thank you for your time. 

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