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Parker Griffith: How Not to Switch Parties Essay (Biography)

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2022

Parker Griffith, a retired oncologist, businessman, and representative of Alabama’s fifth district switched from the ruling Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party on 22nd December last year. His switch attracted mixed reactions, with the Republicans celebrating the defection of a Democrat to join them and the Democrats displeased with the defection of one of their members. The Republicans need to win approximately forty seats from the Democrats in order to become the majority party. Therefore, the decision by Parker Griffith to switch parties was undoubtedly a welcome respite for the Republicans. Whether or not the decision Parker made was right has been as controversial as his motives for the switch. This switch has attracted a lot of attention in the political arena (Pergram 1).

Although he had many justifications for his switch, Parker’s move is seen as an opportunist’s strategy. He explained his move with his disapproval of an agenda by the Democrats that is allegedly focused on government extravagance, increased taxation, and bailouts. He also alleged that the healthcare system does not consider the patient and physician needs. Thus, his two main reasons for the switch were national debt and the health care reform bill. He says that he cannot support a party that does not uphold the values he believes in. Although Parker has a logical explanation of why he quit the Democrats tent, it is difficult to evaluate the performance of a government only months before it gets into power. Therefore, Parker’s explanation of his switch with his values should be considered as a scapegoat for opportunism. It is predicted that Parker is likely to lose the coming election in November (Stephen 1).

With the jeopardy posed by the move he made, Parker needs to strategize for the November elections. A majority of the electorate in North Alabama are Republicans. This is evidenced by the fact that former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain beat president Barrack Obama in North Alabama. The fact that the majority of the electorate are Republicans in Parker’s district was the chief reason for the thought that his move was opportunistic since we do not expect democratic ideas to be popular there. His move, therefore, placed him in a good position to campaign for the November elections. Despite the fact that they are mostly Republicans, the people of Tennessee Valley lost when he moved to join the Republicans. As a democrat, Parker had several seats in the house committee. These included seats on transportation and infrastructure. The latter was the most significant for the people of Tennessee Valley. Parker also sat on the Committees for Science and Technology. He was forced to leave these seats after his defection to join the Republicans. His position in the Committee for Transportation and infrastructure helped him secure aerospace contracts for his electorates. After giving up these positions, his people may not be affected immediately but in the long-term, they will miss someone to lobby for their interests. This could have a significant effect on his reelection campaign. The move to join the Republicans was, in a way, bad positioning since the Republicans do not seem to trust him. He betrayed the trust of the Democrats and now, the Republicans see him as an opportunist. As a result, they are yet to entrust him with any seats. This is bad positioning considering the fact that he was popular in the ruling party. This way, his Republican counterparts, Mo Brooks and Les Philip are more advantaged than him. It is evident that Parker needs to form an immaculate campaign strategy to win the November elections (Pergram 1).

Parker Griffith should consider these disadvantages and find a way of mitigating their effect on the November elections. He should counter opportunistic claims as much as he can to gain the confidence of the Republicans in the Tennessee Valley. He should also analyze important information about the electorate and strategize on how to win the electorate. This information includes the dynamic changes in the Democrat-Republican preference in Huntsville. As stated earlier, Huntsville has a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats. Party preferences change with time depending on the political climate. Parker should therefore ensure that he tracks these changes and the popular ideas and sensations that come with them in order to attract the attention of the Republicans since he is new in the party (Beam 1).

Parker should also consider the socio-economic factors that are significant to the November elections and use them in his campaigns. For example, he can use Huntsville’s potential for businesses and quality life to develop industrial and leisure policies that are attractive to the North Alabama electorate. The fact that North Alabama already has various industries including NASA and Cummings Research Park amongst others can be used to develop policies centered on the advantages that could be added to the electorate with his reelection as a Republican candidate. He should also use the demographic data to his advantage in his campaigns. North Alabama is 59.44 urban and the population there depends on public transportation and bikes for transport. He can therefore come up with an attractive policy to end these problems faced by the electorate. 19.96 percent of Tennessee Valley’s population is non-white. He can embark on a campaign that considers the problems faced by the non-whites in order to win their votes too. He should also find a way to make the electorate believe that he is not still in possession of Democrat’s campaign funds because this issue could have a significant effect on the trust that the electorate may have in him (Stephen 1).

Like most of the States in the Southern U.S. Alabama was dominated by Democratic ideas in the first half of the twentieth century. However, tables were turned in the 1960s by the conflict between conservatism and liberalism. Starting from 1964, North Alabama became a Republican stronghold. The last ten presidential elections in the U.S. have evidenced Republican preference over Democracy (Beam p. 1).

Parker has the best sources of campaign funds compared with his counterparts. Due to his popular rejection of the health reform bill, Parker has received substantial campaign contributions from health professionals. He also receives numerous contributions from lawyers, individuals, and PACs. Parker also has considerable wealth and he is expected to contribute to the financing of his campaigns. He may also receive some funding from the Republican Party that he recently defected to (Stephen 1).

Conclusively, the decision that Parker made to switch parties has both positive and negative effects on his candidacy for North Alabama representation. As described above, he should try to minimize the mistrust begotten by his switch and maximize the advantages he has as a Republican. Either way, his success on the ballot is not guaranteed.

References

Beam, Christopher. “How not to switch parties”, Slate Magazine.2010. Web.

Pergram, Chad. “Freshman Alabama Congressman Switches Parties to join GOP,” Fox News 2009. Web.

Stephen, Challen. “Parker Griffith still awaiting word on committee assignments,” Huntsville News. 2010. Web.

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