Another Top Republican Abandons The Sinking Ship Of Trump’s GOP

Greg Mankiw, an economist who served as a top adviser to Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, is officially no longer a Republican

Greg Mankiw, who is currently the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University and previously served as Chairman of the Board of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush and later served as a chief economic adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is the latest person to leave the Republican Party:

I just came back from city hall, where I switched my voter registration from Republican to unenrolled (aka independent). Two reasons:

First, the Republican Party has largely become the Party of Trump. Too many Republicans in Congress are willing, in the interest of protecting their jobs, to overlook Trump’s misdeeds (just as too many Democrats were for Clinton during his impeachment). I have no interest in associating myself with that behavior. Maybe someday, the party will return to having honorable leaders like Bush, McCain, and Romney. Until then, count me out.

As I’ve explained several times in the past, most recently in a post earlier this month explaining why the post -Trump Republican Party is unlikely to return to “normal”, what Mankiw is talking about here is hardly a revelation. The argument that the GOP is now Trump’s Party has been made repeatedly here at OTB and elsewhere, James Joyner came to the same conclusion more than a year ago, and I had done so myself just a few months earlier. Indeed, the signs of that change are blindingly obvious.

Throughout the course of his time as a Presidential candidate, nominee, and as President, Donald Trump has lashed out against MexicansMuslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim.  In response to N.F.L. players who were peacefully kneeling to protest racially biased police violence, he responded by calling the largely African-American players “sons of bitches.” He responded to the racist rally that resulted in a murder in Charlottesville by essentially excusing the rhetoric of the white supremacists who organized the rally. And, of course, most recently he has spent two weeks in the summer engaged in racist attacks on four minority Congresswomen and on House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. Shortly thereafter, that target list expanded to include CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is African-American and who Trump once against described earlier today as “one of the dumbest men on television,” something he has said about the CNN host in the past.

Additionally, long before he became a candidate for President, Trump engaged in housing discrimination in the 1970s. In the 1990s, he took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for the so-called Central Park Five, a group of five African-American teens who were falsely convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park. Even to this day, Trump refuses to apologize for that position and refuses to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of their innocence. Finally, and perhaps most infamously, he first dipped his toes in 21st Century national politics by embracing the racist birther conspiracy.

As I’ve said before, Republicans knew exactly what they were getting when they nominated Donald Trump three years ago. If they did so somehow hoping he’d change, then they obviously weren’t paying attention over the thirty or more years that he has been in the public eye, because he hasn’t really changed one bit. Despite that, and despite the rhetoric and the actions he’s taken since he became President, most Republicans have stood by and said nothing publicly even while many of them will admit, in private, that the man as a boorish, narcissistic, xenophobic racist who is dragging their party down the drain further and further every day he remains in power This is why sticking around and hoping beyond hope that the party will change is utterly pointless.

The second reason for changing his registration that Mankiw cites is the fact that having been previously registered as a Republican meant that he could not cast a vote in the Massachusetts Democratic Primary, which will take place on March 3, 2020. On that issue he states the following:

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads, where it has to choose either a center-left candidate (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Yang) or a far-left populist (Warren, Sanders) as their nominee for president. I intend to help them choose the former. The latter propose to move the country too far in the direction of heavy-handed state control. And in doing so, they tempt those in the center and center-right to hold their noses and vote for Trump’s reelection.

I tend to agree with Mankiw here.

Speaking solely for myself as a libertarian-oriented #NeverTrump independent, Biden would be my preferred candidate for several reasons. First, he strikes me as the candidate best situated to beat Donald Trump on Election Day 2020, which in my opinion should be the most important criterion for anyone trying to decide to vote for in a primary next year. Second, as a center-left candidate, he is at least somewhat close to where I am on the issues, roughly to the extent that President Obama was. I anticipate I’d disagree with his policies at times, but it would be at a far lesser rate than a hypothetical President Warren, Sanders, or Harris. Third, he has the kind of foreign policy experience that I believe will be necessary for the next President to repair the damage that this President has done in just his first term in office. Indeed, I think this issue should be getting far more play in the primary than it is right now.

As for the other candidates that Mankiw lists, I find them mostly acceptable, but with accompanying flaws that make them bad General Election candidates. In Buttigieg’s case, while he comes across as likable and earnest I think he’s too young and too inexperienced to go straight from being the Mayor of a city of 100,000 the President of a nation of 320,000,000. Perhaps he would have a place as a running mate or Cabinet Secretary that would help give him some of that experience, but right now it’s just too early for him. Klobuchar has the experience, but I’m not sure she has the kind of personality that is needed to push back against Trump and is perhaps not yet fully ready to be President. Perhaps she’d also make a good running mate but that depends on who the nominee might be. Finally, Andrew Yang is both likable and interesting but I think the last three years have shown us the dangers of electing someone with no government experience whatsoever. I would like to see him as a Cabinet Secretary, though, and perhaps that will lead to some further political advancement in the future.

In any case, will the last sane Republican leaving that sinking ship please remember to turn out the lights? Thanks!

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    As I have commented more than a few times, IT AIN’T JUST TRUMP.

  2. reid says:

    He established his Republican bona fides by mentioning Clinton, as if that’s a similar situation.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    As @Doug Mataconis rightly points out, these people knew what they were getting. Some were so full of themselves they thought they could manipulate this psychopath. Rather like the big money boys in Berlin thought they could manipulate Hitler. And they believed this because they are arrogant, entitled mediocrities who had convinced themselves they were something more. I’m starting to see this as White Man’s Syndrome, a sort of variant of Dunning-Kruger, in which any random white male exaggerates his own abilities by orders of magnitude based on nothing but his possession of a caucasian penis.

    Of course in this case it’s particularly hard to manipulate a man who is little more than Vladimir Putin’s favorite wind-up toy.

  4. DrDaveT says:

    the man as a boorish, narcissistic, xenophobic racist

    True but irrelevant. The man is a major national security threat if not an outright traitor, and the GOP doesn’t care. THAT is the necessary and sufficient reason to leave the party.

  5. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, but jaw-dropping: Donald Junior told Sean Hannity that he wished his name were Hunter Biden so he could go abroad and make millions of dollars off his father’s presidency.

    I know Junior is a low-grade moron, but…words fail me.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I haven’t been able to find the quote, but recall it asKrugman talking about Mankiw.

    He’s a good economist, an honest man, and a loyal Republican. Sometimes he has to settle for two out of three.

  7. al Ameda says:


    I know Junior is a low-grade moron, but…words fail me.

    Donald Trump Jr. practically defines the term ‘Fredo’ and I do not mean to insult Fredo Corleone. Fredo was simply hapless, Junior is well beyond that.

  8. Tyrell says:

    Switching to independent: as I have stated before, time for a third party. It would get a lot of Republicans and certainly over half of the Democrats. Many long time Democrats are disenchanted and dismayed over it’s leftward, socialist direction.
    Some new party names could be: Patriots Party, American Party, Freedom Party.

  9. charon says:


    Delusional, assumes facts not in evidence.

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tyrell:..time for a third party.

    There are already THE “BIG THREE” THIRD PARTIES.
    In alphabetical order they are the Constitution Party, the Green Party of the United States and the Libertarian Party.
    See Politics1 web site.
    The American Party already exists.
    Politics1 also lists 30 other political parties that have apparently entered candidates in elections and seven other political parties that have not fielded any candidates.

  11. KM says:

    @Mister Bluster :
    As long as he’s not pushing for the New Founding Fathers, Jeffersonian Party or Sons of Jacob…..

  12. Kit says:

    At this late date, is it more embarrassing to remain a Republican, or to admit that only now, in the long, steady descent that started with Gingrich, that your conscience can no longer take it?

  13. al Ameda says:


    Many long time Democrats are disenchanted and dismayed over it’s leftward, socialist direction.

    Well then, what’s the plan?
    Are you ready to disavow your social security and medicare in order to stand tall with those who dissent from socialist programs? Perhaps refuse to drive on highways that are supported with redistributed tax dollars? Maybe refuse to fly at airports where air traffic control is funded with redistributed federal tax dollars?

  14. Joe says:


    He established his Republican bona fides by mentioning Clinton, as if that’s a similar situation.

    While I don’t disagree, I suspect he might have had a different purpose than you are attributing when establishing his Republican bona fides. If he wants to make an impact on others similarly situated, he helps his case with this, whether or not he comprehends the difference in these situations.

  15. Shanno says:

    From this side of the pond there seem to be two types of citizen in the USA, the decent and the full blown barmpot. I should say that also applies here. Maybe it’s a universal truth!

  16. CSK says:

    If anyone cares, Don Junior’s net worth is, as of 2019, 300 million. It was 200 million in 2016. So, yes, I’d say he’s profited quite nicely from Daddy’s name.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Well sure, but is that $300 million in actual money or in Trump accounting money? It’s a big difference.

    ETA: For example, if the $300 mil is in real money, he may already be richer than his father, who claims nearly $10 billion, but it’s in Trump accounting money so it includes ludicrous stuff like $5 billion in branding value.

  18. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, the figures didn’t come from any Trump affiliate. But Ivanka’s the one who’s really cashed in. Daddy’s girl.

  19. Hannah Smith says:

    Tactical voting is more important than ever, as in the UK at the moment.