Since the start of the pandemic that's killed over 600 thousand Americans, the Republican party has repeatedly embraced lies regarding its severity, its treatment, and the need for public safety guidelines to slow the spread.
Sadly, the party has only doubled down on those lies with the widespread availability of free vaccines, which have repeatedly proven to be safe and effective.
Right-wing media has encouraged conspiracy theories that the vaccines are magnetized or contain microchips for government tracking purposes. Republican party officials have lambasted the vaccines as the "mark of the beast." Conservative networks like Fox News repeatedly paint any effort to prompt vaccinations as federal overreach. Republican governors across a number of states have banned businesses from requiring vaccinations for customers, despite the centuries-long precedent of mandatory vaccinations that began with George Washington himself.
One Republican in New Hampshire is fed up.
State Representative William Marsh, a four-time incumbent, announced in a letter that he'd left the Republican party, writing:
"I have come to realize a majority of Republicans, both locally and in the NH House, hold values which no longer reflect traditional Republican values. 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 impetus for his decision was a rally held by the state's top Republicans against President Joe Biden's recently announced vaccine regulations. The rally was heckled by anti-vaccine protesters who accused the GOP of not doing enough to oppose vaccinations.
"I cannot in good conscience support this selfish refusal to take reasonable precautions. So far, NH has done remarkably well with Covid by taking all reasonable precautions while carefully reopening our economy. I was proud to be part of the Governor's Economic Reopening Taskforce that made that happen. I cannot stand idly by while extremists reject the reasonable precautions of vaccinations and masks which made that happen."
More surprisingly, Marsh didn't switch to an Independent, but now considers himself a Democrat.
People commended Marsh for his decision.
Others skewered the continued disinformation against vaccines.
With a recent special election, this is the second seat gained by New Hampshire state Dems in less than a month.