Vaccine policies lead a NH legislator to leave the Republican Party

A GOP New Hampshire legislator this week switched to the Democratic Party over vaccine policies. It's a piece of a larger puzzle.

9/16/2021 6:01:00 PM

.MaddowBlog: A GOP New Hampshire legislator this week switched to the Democratic Party over vaccine policies. It's a piece of a larger puzzle.

A GOP New Hampshire legislator this week switched to the Democratic Party over vaccine policies. It's a piece of a larger puzzle.

ByIn New Hampshire, William Marsh, a retired physician, has served as his community's health officer for 20 years. He's also an elected state representative and part of the legislature's Republican majority.At least, he was. The NBC affiliate in Boston

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reportedthis week that Marsh decided to switch parties.A New Hampshire lawmaker on Tuesday switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat due what he says is the Republican House leadership's anti-vaccine stance. "I cannot stand idly by while extremists reject the reasonable precautions of vaccinations and masks," Rep. Bill Marsh of Brookfield said in a statement.

"I have come to realize a majority of Republicans, both locally and in the New Hampshire House, hold values which no longer reflect traditional Republican values," his statement added."And so I am recognizing the reality that today's Republican Party is no longer the party I first joined when campaigning for President Reagan many years ago."

The lawmaker told the local NBC affiliate that the last straw was a Republican event in New Hampshire this week in which GOP leaders denounced President Joe Biden's new vaccine initiative.Marshalso toldThe Washington Post that he believes Republican radicals are pushing remaining moderates out of the party, a point that was driven home by the party's hostility toward health precautions during the pandemic.

"It's not in the interest of the public to allow Covid to spread in New Hampshire as it has in Florida," he told the newspaper."I'm a doctor first, so I stood up for my patients and said, 'I'm done with this.' And I left."

To be sure, it's generally unwise to inflate the significance of a story like this one too much. Marsh was not a member of the legislature's leadership; his shift in partisan allegiance did not flip control of the chamber; and before this week, it's fair to say he did not have a national public profile.

That said, I think this is a piece of a larger puzzle. Republican leaders nationwide have decided to position the party as one that's overtly hostile to policies that would help end the pandemic. They've done so in large part because the GOP base has left the party with little choice.

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The results extend well beyond rhetoric. Republicans in California, for example, launched a gubernatorial recall election that was based largely on Covid-19 safeguards and protections. GOP officials who assumed they could capitalize on public frustrations eventually learned that there are

a whole lot of voterswho care far more about ending the pandemic than Republican activists do. Read more: MSNBC »

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'People Are Dying’: New Hampshire State Rep. Quits GOP Over Vaccine Policies'We all know what’s happened in states that have followed that path,' said William Marsh, who has switched to the Democratic Party. this is terrible news Let them go gracefully, if that’s what they choose. Messing with nature is never a good idea. You can be pro-vax and pro-freedom at the same time. This 🐱 is looking for clout. Probably needs more funds to keep his pornhub account current

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