Steve Schmidt adds his name to the "Independent" category

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Steve Schmidt made national headlines last week when he announced he was quitting the Republican Party. The GOP strategist and now MSNBC analyst - who ran John McCain’s Presidential campaign and notoriously lobbied for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be the VP nominee - tweeted:

Schmidt likened the separation of immigrant children and parents to, “the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families” He quoted Ronald Reagan’s tombstone: “there are purpose and worth to each and every life” and wrote that Reagan would “be ashamed of McConnell and Ryan and all the rest.”

Schmidt concluded, “This Independent voter will be aligned with the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies. That party is the Democratic Party.”

In later interviews, he also cited Trump's recent friendliness with Kim Jong Un while criticizing allies like Canada. Schmidt was following in the footsteps of other prominent GOP media figures who have fled the party in the past few years, including George Will, Mary Matalin, and Joe Scarborough. Will just wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that went so far as to advocate voting against the GOP this fall to “quarantine trump.”

Yours truly was ahead of the party-switching curve.

It was back in 2010 that I switched from an R to an I and published this piece in the Huffington Post. “For me, the party is over,” as I wrote then, “The national GOP is a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on social issues by the religious right, with zero discernible outreach by the national party to anyone who doesn't fit neatly within its parameters. Instead, the GOP has extended itself to its fringe while throwing under the bus long-standing members.”

Schmidt now joins the 45% of us who don't ID as Rs or Ds. It's time our voices are represented in closed primary states, on debate stages, and in the media.

Watch as I discuss this issue with Kansas Gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman, who also wrote a piece on instituting a “primary for independents” for Smerconish.com.