I’m living proof that others can leave MAGA. Skip to content

I’m living proof that others can leave MAGA.

There are likely more of us than we realize.

For many years, I voted Republican. I was an Ultra-MAGA, four-time Donald Trump voter (twice in the primaries, and twice in the general elections). I voted for Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial primary and general elections. I was a right-wing pundit, whose writings were read by millions. I wrote, pro bono, text for Trump’s voter outreach call scripts. I made volunteer calls to voters, on behalf of the Trump and DeSantis campaigns. I owned a dozen Trump hats and shirts, and sent money to his campaign that could have been spent on my family’s needs.

And I am here to show you that I was wrong about all of it. 

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, my personal and political epiphany occurred gradually, and then suddenly, all at once. It started in Summer 2021. Children and young adults began falling ill more frequently to COVID's Delta surge. Governor DeSantis handled the pandemic as well as he could have, in its first 18 months. Abruptly, however, he pivoted from advocating the life-saving, hospitalization-reducing COVID vaccine, to virulently opposing it for young Floridians and those under 65. Once reports of kids dying from COVID increased in frequency, I had fully expected DeSantis to effectively lead by forcefully encouraging vaccination for our youth; rather, his persona seemingly changed overnight, and it was then that I began to question my support for him. 

Simultaneous to this, Trump's continued traumatic rhetoric about a “stolen” 2020 presidential election stirred in me an intense curiosity to better understand what fueled those who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. I had thought that QAnon, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys were mostly fringe hobbyist groups whose influence was minimal, at best. After immersing myself in the aforementioned's conspiracies and mythologies, I came to realize that these groups’ propaganda was, very much, part of the MAGA ethos. It was then that I acknowledged my error in supporting MAGA. 

I never believed the election was stolen, or that the COVID vaccine was a bioweapon the federal government was using against its own people. Over the next several months, I intentionally went through the process of politically de-traumatizing myself. I mandated a challenging of my beliefs. Undergoing this was personally and existentially tumultuous; mind, spirit and emotions warred with each other. It was many quiet nights of just myself and my thoughts. 

I sincerely believed in “Make America Great Again.” I traumatically convinced myself that a Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden victory was the end of the United States, as we knew her. It strained my marriage and my relationships with my children. I severed ties with some who were amongst the most important mentors and influences in my life, all because I believed Democrats were malignant and nefarious. 

Does this sound like a mentally, spiritually and emotionally salubrious life? In many ways, that man who so nonchalantly dehumanized others is now unrecognizable to me. And that is for the better; if one can make it through the tumult, one will find an emancipation that is only experienced, not explained. 

To be clear: I have agency, and was fully responsible for my choices and votes; though I cannot reverse time, I can control how I make amends in the future. Now, I refer to myself as a “born-again human being.” Some have labeled my own transformation miraculous; I just consider it a good fortune of infinite value. I have since sought to repair some of the damage I caused to friends; thankfully, they have mostly welcomed me back. Oh, and my wife? I cannot conceive of a more supportive spouse; I truly married up!

I want to emphasize that I am registered to vote, although not with any party. But I cannot support the GOP in its current form; irrespective of my ambivalence toward the Democratic Party, I cannot — will not — support a party who formally declared as “legitimate political discourse” the January 6 insurrection. I will solely vote Democrat not because I want one-party rule, but because the GOP, in its current form, cannot be saved. A healthy, highly-functional democracy necessitates that both parties concur on basic sets of facts. I’m fine with mild partisanship, but I am unconvinced that many Republican leaders believe the politically traumatic mythologies about socialism, communism and Marxism, amongst others, they utilize to exploit millions of Americans. The official GOP party platform has deemed acceptable avoidable death and suffering; and defends politically-motivated violence and coups d'état against We the People, our Constitution, and our government.

MAGA supporters are mostly, good decent people, who had valid reasons for voting how they (I) did. Eventually, as a country, we will need to develop strategies to usher in a national political reconciliation, to continue the pursuit of perfecting our Union. First, though, MAGA must be electorally repudiated; the worst-case outcomes of a second MAGA/Trump presidency must be named and avoided. Those outcomes could include a federal government and bureaucracies who serve at the retaliatory behest of a democratically-elected monarch; additional right-wing activist federal judges, and Supreme Court justices; increased acceptance of avoidable deaths and suffering; alliances between MAGA and the politically-motivated violent; and, perhaps, the coup de grâce for our democracy: overtures by Trump to Republican elected officials fearful for their and their families’ lives, to ensure his permanent presidency.

As someone who was deep in the MAGA world, these worst-case scenarios are not hyperbolic.

My purpose is not to change anyone’s mind; trying to change minds is one of the more futile, Sisyphean delusions of humankind. My purpose, rather, is to implore you to think inward – to candidly ask yourself: 

What if some of my non-negotiable conclusions are factually wrong, or incomplete, or too black and white in a complex world of gray? Healing is not a painless endeavor, but it is liberating. To err is human; apologizing for mistakes shows fortitude and intrepidity, not feeble weakness.

There are likely many remorseful MAGA voters than we realize. As the Book of Romans instructs: be patient in affliction. I will continue to help others leave MAGA, to the best of my abilities — to bring good news to the afflicted, as the Book of Isaiah encourages.

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Written by Rich Logis, the founder of Perfect Our Union, an organization dedicated to healing political traumatization; building diverse, pro-democracy alliances; and perfecting our Union. Cross-posted from Daily Kos.



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