Specter to Switch Parties! | The Nation

Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes

Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

Specter to Switch Parties!

That's the word from CNN. Specter, of course, has had to bend further and further right to protect his right flank from primary challenger Pat Toomey. Apparently he realized that was a dead end. The GOP base, which makes up primary voters, is getting more and more right-wing. So he's decided to switch parties and become a Democrat, hoping to preserve his political future. He stresses in his statement that:

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

It's possible, indeed likely, that this is merely a semantic shift. Specter will retain his own politics, vote the way he was before and have a D in front of his name instead of an R. He's hoping he'll have a clear path to re-election as a Democrat in a blue state.

But, it's also hard not to think that Democrats are in a much better position than they were 24 hours ago. It also occurs to me that the increasingly right-wing, out of step GOP base really is on its way to further destroying what's left of its party.

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