There is some bad news coming out of California for the Republican Party.
The chief justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, has left the Republican Party because she doesn’t like the direction in which the party has headed since Trump took over its leadership as the president of the United States. Although Cantil-Sakauye stopped short of directly blaming Trump for her decision to abandon GOP and re-register as a no-party-preference voter, as reported by Cal Matters, it was quite evident that the president had a big role to play.
But it was with the confirmation of Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by Palo Alto professor Christine Blasey Ford, that Cantil-Sakauye decided to leave the party for good. It was the moment, she said, that actually sowed a seed of discontent in her mind and she had been asking the opinion of her husband and friends about quitting the party ever since.
“You didn’t leave the party. The party left you,” her friends told her.
Cantil-Sakauye became a judge 28 years ago and was appointed the California Supreme Court chief justice in 2011, and while her leaving the Republican Party will have no effect on her judicial duties, it is quite a setback for the GOP, which has seen a few high-profile members leave in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Steve Schmidt, late Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign chief, as well as former congressman Joe Scarborough, have left the party citing the change in GOP’s priorities under Trump.
An almost equally important fact, though, is that Tani Cantil-Sakauye’s decision to quit the Republican Party points to the party’s decline in California. The party’s membership has decreased massively with less than a quarter of the electorate now being registered GOP voters, which is less than the number of state’s no-party-preference voters.
Moreover, the Republican Party’s support among women has suffered since the Kavanaugh hearings and his subsequent confirmation. An Associated Press poll showed that 56 percent of American women are now Democrats, while only 41 percent are Republicans.
“I felt compelled to make a choice now,” said Cantil-Sakauye, admitting that the Republican Party’s views do not align with hers anymore. “[Not being a party voter] better suits what I do and how I approach issues,” she added.
It is unlikely that Cantil-Sakauye’s quiet abandonment of the Republican Party will concern its leaders in Washington or even the conservative media too much, but it is proof of a simmering rebellion among moderate Republicans, who are now feeling increasingly distanced from the party they once called their own.