Crist: “I’m A True Blue Reagan Conservative”

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It’s hard to leave a political party.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist bolted the GOP to run for the Senate as an independent when it looked as if former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, would clean his clock in the Republican primary. Of course, Crist couldn’t say he was doing so to save his political career. Instead, he contended that the system was to blame—and that “the people” needed leaders who would break out of partisan molds.

During the April 29 announcement of his decision to run for the Senate without party affiliation, Crist declared, “I haven’t supported an idea because it’s a Republican idea or it’s a Democratic idea.” In a subsequent campaign video he exclaimed, “The parties don’t work anymore.” And his campaign even dropped the word “conservative” from its website, as the newly-independent Crist started making a play for Democratic voters.

But it wasn’t that long ago that Crist was bragging about his conservative and GOP credentials. On February 9, his campaign issued a press release headlined, “Crist: I’m a True Blue Reagan Conservative.” The campaign was touting an interview Crist had done with Newsmax.com, a conservative site, in which he had proclaimed himself a conservative GOPer, repeatedly citing Ronald Reagan and noting, “I’m an anti-tax, pro-life, pro-gun Republican.”

This is a trap that Crist cannot escape. Any pol who switches party or dumps one to run as an independent will leave behind a trail of inconvenient utterances. Still, next time a reporter questions Crist, he or she ought to ask, “Are you still a True Blue Reagan conservative?” And, if not, what happened to your core beliefs between since February?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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