Many traditionalists or “paleo-conservatives” in the United States are ex-Republicans. Or they are disaffected Republicans who still tend to vote for Republicans as a least-bad option but who also have a sour taste when doing so, given what the Republican party has come to stand for (i.e. heavy doses of liberalism dressed up in the rhetoric of the free market).
(Anyone who is A-OK with mainstream Republicans is not a serious conservative.)
I, on the other hand, have never been a Republican. As soon as I became vaguely politically aware (about the time of the Bush-Dukakis election, and more certainly during the Clinton-Dole election), I had been on the Left. I voted Nader, Nader, and Kerry in the three elections I voted in.
[Incidentally, the moment I stopped voting on the Left was the Obama-McCain election of 2008. I was voting absentee, living in New York City. An old friend and I, Bush-haters both, filled out our ballots together over a bottle of white wine at my Brooklyn apartment about a month before the election day. It was a little celebration. She was so happy to fill in the bubble for Obama, giggling and bubbly. I knew I hated McCain, and my long-standing Leftist stance had me on the Obama side of things. She took her ballot with her at the end of the night, and I set mine at the door-side table, wanting only a stamp. As the days passed by, the ballot kept sitting there, first for want of a stamp, but then more and more out of a vague reluctance. The day of the election, I picked up my ballot and looked at it, and threw it in the trash.]
My rejection of Leftist politics came first as a rejection of Obama, and of Democrats (and Greens and Communists) to which I had previously been sympathetic. I still considered the Republicans to be vile (and I still do, with a few hesitant exceptions). So in a sense my rejection of Leftism has been rather clean. I was never suckered into Republican-style Leftism. I was very, very far Left. And in a short time I became so far Right that I was clean off the map!
If you can imagine a circle of modern politics, where west is Left and east is Right, then north would be standard American political centrism (Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John McCain). But I went south, into no-man’s-land. Left of Ralph Nader and Right of Michelle Bachmann. This is the murky land where you find anarchists, monarchists, and assorted other unsavory characters.
I might try and define my politics a little better in the future. As I said in an earlier post, it’s not totally unimportant. But, in another sense, it is unimportant. The circle I described exists on two dimensions. Life is three-dimensional.