“Coming Out Liberal”: Why Some Conservatives Fear Renouncing Their Republicanism

republican-democratI’ve stated numerous times before that I don’t really view most Republicans as members of a political party.  I view most conservatives more as members of a faith-based political cult.  I call it “Republicanity.”  It’s a mixture of some form of political ideology blended with a handful of excerpts from the Bible.  Facts, science, math, history—none of it matters.  They follow their party like a faith more than a political ideology.

And faith is much more difficult to reason with.  Faith doesn’t need facts, science or math—it just needs people who believe in it.  In fact, faith often defines the term “illogical” because faith often lacks concrete evidence supporting its beliefs.

So what we see with Republicans is a devotion to their political party much in the same way we see devotion to faith.  Reality, facts, science, math or even rational thought doesn’t matter because they’ve simply “been brought up” to be a Republican.

Much in the same way people are raised to be Christians, many Republicans are raised to be conservatives.  For many of these people if they were to decide to no longer be a Republican it would be similar to someone who was raised in a staunch religious family deciding that they were an atheist.

You see this with homosexuals who fear coming out to their families.  Those who were raised with families who firmly believe homosexuality is a sin punishable by an eternity in hell, having to worry about “coming out” to their family and what backlash they might experience.

And unfortunately for many, that backlash often includes scornful judgement and rejection.

Well, there are many who were raised Republican that face slightly similar fears if they were to “come out as a liberal.”  Granted, political ideology is a choice whereas homosexuality is not — but the fear of family backlash is very real with many in both instances.

Because trust me, being raised in Texas, there are many Republicans that believe liberals are just as big of an enemy as any radical terrorist.  So for quite a few “born and raised conservatives” to “come out” to their family as no longer supporting the Republican party, it can often mean they face similar rejections by their family members as if they had just stood up in the middle of church on a Sunday and declared themselves to be an atheist.

Just take a look at the mind-numbing back and forth I recently had with a Republican acquaintance.  From the onset it’s clear that she was raised to be a Republican, and that theory is confirmed later in the debate as she makes a comment about “being disowned” if she were to no longer be a Republican.

Was she kidding?  Maybe exaggerating a bit, but kidding?  I don’t think she was.

I deal with Republican family members constantly (though thankfully none of them immediate family members) who really view me and my system of beliefs as an attack on God and country.  They see my support of the LGBT community as a slight against God and the fact I’m pro-choice is tantamount to me supporting the murdering of babies.

Then while I make it a point to avoid debating with these people (I might as well just try and convince a rock to become a tree) they often seek me out to make it very clear to me what they think about my choice to be a Democrat.

And don’t forget, these aren’t relatives I see often or were raised by.  If the brief moments I deal with them I experience that level of scorn and grief, I could only imagine if one of their children shared the same political views.  I really do believe they would be ostracized from their family.

Which I think keeps many Republicans from “denouncing” their Republicanism.  It’s the fear that by doing so, they’ll face a hateful, spiteful backlash from many of their friends and family.  After all, they were “raised” to be a Republican.

But that’s the problem.  Political ideology shouldn’t be treated like faith or family.  It should be fluid and evolve.  Simply being “raised” in a home which identifies itself as conservative, or liberal for that matter, shouldn’t be the basis for which facts and reality are determined.

Our political identities should always be up for debate.  And while for many of us we’ll always inherently have some kind of bias towards how we were raised, it’s ridiculous that there are some who fear being ostracized or disowned by their families if they were ever to “come out as liberal.”

A political system of beliefs shouldn’t be treated like a religion or its information supported like faith.  It should be based on reality, history, facts, science, math and common sense.  Then if any of those seem to contradict the way in which you were raised, you shouldn’t question their validity—you should start questioning your political parties.

But it’s a dangerous precedent to set in this country when millions of people are being “raised” to believe in a political ideology that’s treated more like a faith than a system of beliefs that are supposed to be based on facts.  Then many of these same people are afraid of “coming out” as anything but a conservative for fear that their family might disown them.

Because when your “party” has reached that level of extremism,  you cease being considered a political party and instead you’ve become a faith-based cult with political initiatives.

And that’s the very thing our First Amendment was written to prevent.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Christopher


    I live in rural Missouri and am confronted by these types of people constantly. They honestly can’t comprehend the facts of reality and instead choose to put their fingers in their ears and shut out the conversation.

    I would say it’s sad, but I’m a firm believer of stupidity being painful, so no, I have absolutely no sympathy for the willfully ignorant.

    • Kim Ferrari

      I used to live in rural MO, also. I’ve experienced, firsthand, the kind of willful ignorance and stubbornness for stubbornness’ sake, smashing straight into “stupid” that you describe. Clare McCaskill was basically demonized where I lived, simply because she was a woman. I was regarded with great suspicion, also, because I had all of my teeth, and “didn’t look like anyone we [they] knew”. (I’m assuming that translates into, “Your DNA is not connected to ours. You are going to pollute our gene pool with depth!”)
      I did, however, meet a few very intellectual, educated, critically-thinking people while I was there. (Also not of the local genetic pancake…) They are out there! You just have to be careful with how you “root them out”! Hang in there! MO does have pockets of “smart”!

      • Christopher

        In my area chlorine is needed for their gene pools!

      • Kim Ferrari


  • Dillon

    My family is ALL conservative. I have yet to meet a member of my family who doesn’t hold conservative beliefs. Now unlike Allen, I do not avoid debates with these people. I will often argue them with facts and logic only to be dismissed as a socialist or a hippie. It sickens me how often I will counter the argument with a basic fact only to be insulted because they can’t seem to understand facts or outright ignore them.

    • gemma liar

      Diogenes would be proud of what U attempt and that’s showing who U actually are,BRAVO

    • J.D.

      It is frustrating how they follow with blind faith. Many of them cannot provide facts or sources other than Fox news to support their beliefs. I also cannot stand how they always want to label and dismiss someone if their beliefs do not align with theirs.

  • anarchitek

    Most people, in America, don’t want to have to “think” about their beliefs. The example of the woman the author had a back-and-forth with is a great example. She went to schools with state-subsidized tuitions, and got state-subsidized loans, but she insisted she “did it all by herself”. That is the same kind of thinking we saw during the election, when idiots were claiming they’d built their businesses, “without help from anyone”, even though many of them lived in areas that were ELECTRIFIED by the REA, during the ’30s, or they lived in areas served by one of the hydroelectric dams BUILT by taxpayers, like Southern California, or the entire state of Washington, and most of Oregon, Idaho, and others.

    These people don’t care to think about the consequences of their having accepted government “help” of any kind, and fool themselves with mental gymnastics to avoid having to face the fact of their being no different than those they put down. It’s typical of the times, where some insist they are somehow “purer” than others, because they did this, or didn’t get that, but the fact is, we ALL benefit from our association with the whole, and this was NOT always something to be scorned. Many “farmers’ enjoy 7-figure incomes, because they get money to NOT grow certain crops, even though they’ve got the field planted with something else. The initial INTENT of the program was to REST the land, but they’ve found ways to get around the intent, and double dip, taking the money for not growing, PLUS the income off the crop they did plant. Then, they look down their noses at some poor indigent who needs $200 a month in Food Stamps, as if they are not WORSE “abusers” of the public trust! The truth of the matter is, the farmer is getting something like 400+ TIMES the Food Stamp receiver’s benefit, but they gloss over it, believing, incorrectly, they DESERVE this money, and EARN it. Nothing could be further from the truth, but GETTING them to confront their hypocrisy is nearly impossible. It’s NO different from the thief, who’s successfully got away with the money–they convince themselves it is “theirs” and no one has the right to say anything. Often, they resort to violence against anyone who suggests they’ve done something wrong, even though there is no question they’ve broken the law. The exact same set of mental gymnastics go on in the average person’s mind, when they are confronted by accusations they somehow are no different from those who get Public Aid, or Food Stamps. Yet, they are. It’s just impossible to get them to face up to the hypocrisy.

    • Barbara Harrison

      Thank you so much for your extraordinarily well put post. You are so very correct, and yet, as you mention, just trying to discuss these issues with Republicans is like running into a brick wall at full speed…on a motorcylcle (and no helmet)!

      • anarchitek

        Ah, a breath of fresh air! I get so tired of childish remarks from tea baggers who do NOT understand the Constitution OR basic sentence construction! I know what you mean–I’ve had the unhappy experience of running into a “brick wall” (a doctor told me I was “exaggerating” when I termed it that)–the side of a GMC Suburban whose driver had run a red light, at the last possible moment (I was more concerned the light would turn red ON ME!)–on my motorcycle, although I did have a helmet, AND a face shield, on, at the time, If I hadn’t, I probably would not BE here, to pester republikkkans and enjoy my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” (a tea bagger once told me the “Constitution guaranteed those freedoms”–and damn near went apoplectic when I told him the Constitution did no such thing! When I finally got him to admit those words were found in the Declaration of Independence, he growled “Same thing!” and stomped off. That is the problem with most of them–they slept through high school (and whatever college those who CLAIM to have degrees, actually went to), never bothering to pay attention to their teachers. Now, they want to be political savants, experts on any topic of governance or the rightness of any law. It’s difficult to keep from bursting out laughing in their faces, most times, because they remind me of Lou Costello, in the routine “Who’s on first?” They have so many ideas misidentified, and misunderstand most of them. Sadly, it makes me feel like Bud Abbott, trying to make sense of the mishmash of ideas and information they assert is “simple to understand”, but is in reality, a bad version of “Telephone”, as far as accuracy and coherence.

      • J.D.

        Here is a simple example of how many Republicans support things in our country that contradict many of their own belief systems. Ask any repub about their stance on the speaking of the “Pledge of Intelligence” at school, and they will probably argue for it because of the God argument that surrounds it. However, ask one of them if they knew the ORIGINAL Pledge was written by a socialist, and then enjoy the spectacle of their brains short circuiting.

    • J.D.

      Great points. No different than them looking down their noses at people who work at corporate giants like Wal-mart who receive food stamps and medi-care because the company is too cheap to provide for their own employees. All the while supporting the policies that enable these companies to exploit this type of corporate welfare. Lets blame these people who are trying to do what’s right and work for a living, but exonerate the company that is abusing and taking advantage of them. It is all part of the false belief that so many in this country have that there is an EQUAL opportunity to achieve success for all. While this has been the dream of many, such as Horace Mann, unfortunately our educational system fails to provide this equal opportunity for success. From under funded public schools to ridiculous tuition for under-grad and graduate school, education in this country fails to provide an equal platform from which all can begin. A child born to a poor family in the ghetto attending a run down school does not have the same opportunity for success as a child born in an upper class neighborhood and who attends a nice school or private school. The only commonality is there opportunity for failure. Descending the socioeconomic ladder is always easier than ascending it.

  • gemma liar

    “rock to become a tree”…………………. says it all eloquently yet powerfully simple!!!

  • Jennifer Birch

    Both my parents are Conservative. I didn’t realize just how conservative until Obama was elected. Suddenly, anything he does (including the ACA that was actually invented by a Republican) is just downright shameful. When it comes to gay rights, I always ask them what impact a man (or woman) marrying their partner has on THEIR marriage, I get blank stares. The first President I voted for was Clinton. I found him to be an inspirational speaker w/a good plan for this country. Turns out I was right. When I told a co-worker that I’d found him to be inspirational, he said “You must have grown up since then.” My response? “Nope. I still like him.” My dad actually liked Rick Santorum. To which I replied, “REALLY!? He’s worse than Mitt! And that’s saying a lot.” I have found I just don’t talk about politics or the job our POTUS is doing w/my parents. I have two aunts that are liberal. And I can talk to them about my views. They get it.

    • J.D.

      You also have to wonder how much of that disdain to Obama is political bias, or racial bias. And I am not just speaking about your parents but also about the entire country. This country has shown its true colors and its lack of progress in racism with us having a “black” president.

    • anarchitek

      It is ironic that two Presidents have been elected, and re-elected by majorities of American voters, yet a small, very loud, minority persists in hating them, spreading lies, innuendos and half-truths about them, with the self-assurance of snake-oil salesmen, while putting forth candidates who have ACTIVELY pursued goals inimical to the continued existence of these United States. I suppose when things do fall apart, these self-proclaimed critics, and arbiters of what is “politically correct”, will blame it on those who TRIED to right the ship of state, BEFORE it foundered on the rocks the republiKKKan’ts, and closet racists, steered it toward! They are the most misguided people ever to exist in the long sad tale of humanity. I have too much self-respect to EVER vote for a republiKKKan’t!

  • Matthew Reece

    Being raised in a conservative Republican family and coming out as an anti-political market anarchist is about as difficult, but things do get easier as time goes on. It is best to go ahead and tell family members about your position, discuss your position as civilly as possible, and let the chips fall where they may.

  • getSMART

    There is and will always be extremism in all things political and religious. It would be ignorant to create such a compelling argument about the extreme Republican families without the realization there are also extreme Democrat families. I think we can all come to agree that everyone sins. Yet the articles on this website seem to conveniently convey the opinion that the only ones capable of sin are Republicans.

    The logic (or lack there of) brought to you by the authors here is that 1) Extreme Republicans exist – 2) Extreme Republicans wont let their family members become Democrats – 3) This does not apply to Democrats because everyone wants to be a Democrat. I’m sorry but regardless of your political view point, you cannot be so ignorant as to think that is a logical argument.

    I am not by definition a forward progressive. Many of my close friends are however I do not hold any political affiliations nor do I vote. My friends always tell me one thing, that being a forward progressive is all about thinking for oneself. It would seem to me that this website and its articles does a lot of the thinking for you, and does so with many logical and factual fallacies.

    • melloe

      getSMART …Strange handle considering your stance.. If you do not vote, who cares what you think, you have not acted on it. Our republic depends on the citizens interacting. I do agree the article is rather simplistic about extremest.

    • Ton_Chrysoprase

      It’s funny for somebody who apparently builds his worldview on a false equivalency to accuse others o logical fallacies.

    • enkelin

      To know and not to do (vote) is not to know.

    • brownp51

      Not voting would be one of those things I would keep to myself and hope nobody figured out. It is certainly nothing to be proud of, and is a part of our national problem.

    • anarchitek

      Amazing that you can swallow that nonsense as if it were chocolate sauce on a pile of ice cream “smart”! You need to pull your enormous head out of your gigantic a** and take a look around you! The world is headed for disaster, thanks to the efforts of a small number of political absolutists, and greedy a**holes who believe everything is here for them to gouge out however they can, so they can have a few extra million dollars to stash away with the billions they’ve already piled up! How much money does ANYONE actually need?

  • ForwardProgressive

    I’m just wondering how many Democrats are itching to “come out” and become Republican these days? For some reason, I don’t think the numbers are high. How god awful it must be to be an extreme Democrat as stated below! It’s quite interesting why the definition is seen as so negative by those on the right. Extreme Democrats are those who are quite accepting of others, believe in taking care of the collective, and view protecting our environment for future generations as paramount. It’s tragic that these loving people exist! After all, Jesus preached the same. People like Getsmart must feel such pride to admit to the world that he does not vote at all. Thank you for your abstinence!

  • fairness_rules

    This article is the solid truth! I see it a lot and I live in Missouri.

  • VA_Mom

    I’m a republican in Virginia and it is damned scary here! I don’t even recognize my own party anymore. It is all about religion, guns, and take care of yourself. Good Christian attitudes, not. It is like the pod people came down and possessed everyone!

    • v2787

      So why do you remain a republican? Come over from the dark side and support people who operate in the reality-based community. You’re more than welcome to join us?

      • Wayne Bassett

        No, stay a republican and do your best to take back your party in what ever way you can.

      • Barbara Harrison

        Well said Wayne…I actually miss Republicans from the old school who knew what they were talking about, whether you agreed with them or not.

      • anarchitek

        I’ve never understood the need to “belong” to ANY party! I prefer to make up my OWN mind, without anyone EXPECTING me to vote JUST BECAUSE. I have voted for republikkkans, in the distant past, democrats, peace & freedom, green, independents, whomever I thought was BEST for the job! That is FAR MORE important than just voting the “party line”! I guess, to me, voting “party” is FINE for communists, and those poor people stuck in a dictatorship, but for Americans, FREE-BORN and raised? No, vote for the RIGHT person, regardless of party, sex, race, religion or ANY other reason! The MESS we are in can EASILY be traced back to LEVER-PULLERS! The “party” would be MUCH MORE responsive to YOUR interests IF you did NOT vote AUTOMATICALLY for them! Try it, see if that isn’t the case! And the SAD quality of recent republikkkan candidates, HOW could you vote for them? YUCK! And do NOT think for a MOMENT that I am telling you to vote democrat–I AM telling you, that OUT of 300 Million CITIZENS, we SHOULD be able to COME UP with a LOT of BETTER candidates! If NOT, then we are in EVEN WORSE shape than I thought!

      • J.D.

        Wow, you are a rare find. It is hard to find others who believe this simple concept that we share. There are members of all parties that I will support, and members that I won’t. I say no to Hillary and Bush and yes to people like Warren and Sanders who are courageous enough to go against the grain of their own party. Unfortunately people are more like sheep or ants following in a line. You ever erase the scent trail of a line of ants and watch what happens?. They scurry around like lost souls without a clue of what to do, with many of them backtracking to where they came from, much like our political system. But there are always those brave ants that will venture off on their own to find the trail again and their way back home.

      • Tracy Lund

        “FINE for communists”? WTF? Lost me THERE chief, but I know what your trying to say.

      • J.D.

        Or better yet, just become an independent thinker and develop your own opinions based on actual facts research. This country needs to get away from the political party system and stop following around bigger idiots like sheep.

    • buricco

      Funny thing is I see Republicans like that up here…in upstate New York.

    • Kaye Whitmer

      Why are you still a republican? I’m honestly curious.Why not an Independent. Seriously. Until there is a mass migration out of today’s republican party, they will continue in their freefall to insanity.

    • miketothad

      Then why the F are you still a Republican?
      Man, you people really ARE Slow.

  • Linda Jenkins


  • Jason

    The problem I have here is that you are for some reason equating liberal with left. Liberal is neither left nor right. It is humanist. The terms have been bastardized by people with dubious ulterior motives for decades now, and it needs to stop.

    Simply put, being a conservative does not preclude you from being a liberal, and being a progressive does not exclude you from being a fascist. Until we stop trying to divide our countrymen from us by berating them for associating with ill-defined dogma, we will continue to be ruled by the moneyed power elite.

  • Lyola M Roeske Shafer

    Is it possible to convince people that “belief” is separate from truth.?
    They believe that if they believe “hard enough” the lie will magically become true. Belief does not create truth and , unfortunately, Truth has a hard time creating belief. Many people are actually proud that their belief system is not based on ANYTHING but myths sold as fearsome truth. They call it “Their Truth.”
    HELP, please…It is becoming an emergency.

  • Sadly, neither side is completely guilt free in this matter. I’ve met plenty of fellow Dems who regard all members of the GOP as fascists, rednecks, bigots and worse. We’re all guilty of demonizing the other side, to the point where we can’t even see each other as people anymore. IMO, it’s only a matter of time before a second civil war breaks out and this one the country may not survive.

  • Goober

    And the Democrats aren’t like that? Please.

    • miketothad

      WOw… YOu are slow.

  • Clematis

    That’s why I fled the Republican Party after being a member for my entire adult life. The fact that I no longer consider myself a Republican didn’t sit well with my father, but I loathe to be associated with what this party has become.

    • Kaye Whitmer

      Good for you!

  • Barbara Harrison

    So very well said Allen!! And as true as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

  • larryc4ny

    This is all well and good… my question is “What happened to Moderate to Progressive Republicans?” I was one of them until the republican mad dash to the far, extreme right. Conservatives have always fought science, reason and enlightenment. Hopefully, the republican party can distance themselves from the crazies soon.

  • motorfingaz

    Just like I’ve been saying….the republican party has morphed into a cult

  • Eruanion Nolaquen

    Yeah, I used to talk with these republicans I knew through work, who’d always try telling me how bad Obama is, and they’d repeat the same lines over and over, no matter the subject. They would always finish with a very angry remark about “that muslim socialist whatever”

  • Keith

    I am still Conservative, but I am no longer Republican. It is clear to me that they do not represent me. The party left me.

    • anarchitek

      I’ve been a Conservative all my adult life, almost 48 years now, and I have NEVER voted for a republiKKKan’t! The lowest of the low are not interested in ANYTHING related to what made this country great! ALL they care about it ripping off anyone stupid enough to stand still while they do it!

  • Jean Blais

    I’m a registered Republican. It’s fun to go to the caucus and vote in primaries trying to see if there are any signs of intellectual life. In the general, I vote for the Democrat. While many conservatives like to accuse other conservatives of being a RINO if they stray from the purity test it is me who is the actual Republican In Name Only.