The expected announcement came today of a group of Republicans and independents announcing an intention to abandon the Republican Party if, as Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin put it, “the GOP does not abandon the MAGA mentality.”

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A news release from the group puts it this way:

A coalition of 150 prominent Republican and independent leaders have released A Call for American Renewal, a principles-based vision for American leadership, as an alternative to the current direction of the Republican Party and growing extremism in the nation. Their call for a return to principles (available at: www.acallforamericanrenewal.com) follows a February summit and subsequent organizing.

This link includes principles of the group and those who signed on.

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They include five Arkansans: Sen. Jim Hendren, the former Republican who’s now an independent;  former Republican state Rep. Nate Bell, who’s also now an independent; Davy Carter, the former Republican House Speaker who, if he’s not an independent, has lately voiced opinions that separate him from the Trump-dominated party, and former Democratic Sen. Bruce Maloch, a conservative by most definitions who was defeated by a newcomer Republican with a past that included wearing KKK regalia on a Mississippi Halloween outing that terrorized Black students at his high school. UPDATE: I initially overlooked former GOP Rep. David Meeks

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The document describes the effort as a “rallying cry for pragmatists.”

Our nation’s future should not be dictated by a single person but by principles that bind us together. That’s why we believe in pushing for the Republican Party to rededicate itself to founding ideals—or else hasten the creation of an alternative.

The recent Arkansas legislative session, particularly if it fairly represented the mood of the electorate, is not a hopeful indicator that the movement will draw broad support in Arkansas. Nor was the cowardly silence of three Republican lambs in the Arkansas House delegation — French Hill, Bruce Westerman and Steve Womack — to the ouster of Liz Cheney from a leadership position for speaking the truth about the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election. Rep. Rick Crawford was happy to announce his opposition to Cheney, no surprise for a dedicated member of the insurrection.

Hendren has begun a similar organization, Common Ground, seeking to build support from those weary of extremism of any stripe. For his trouble, he caught plenty of grief during the legislative session from the MAGA members.

 

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