It’s understandable that a political party wouldn’t be thrilled when one of its politicians endorses someone from the opposing party. Political parties don’t exist just for fun, games, or fundraising. They seek to have some ideological coherence, after all.
But when Georgia Democrat Vernon Jones, state representative for District 91 (in DeKalb County southeast of Atlanta), voiced support for President Trump last week, he wasn’t, in theory, straying from the Democratic Party’s core beliefs. Jones spoke of how Trump’s handling of the economy had empowered black Americans, and of supporting Trump’s outreach to historically black colleges and his efforts in criminal justice reform. Democrats have proclaimed these as party priorities for years.
Jones told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he had no intention of switching parties. Evidently he thought these priorities were compatible with remaining a Democrat.
But the Georgia state Democrats thought otherwise, and made no bones about their plan to retaliate against Vernon Jones. (There’s a lot of that going around. We headlined another story earlier on Thursday about Michigan Democrats planning to censure one of their own because she credited hydroxychloroquine and Trump’s support for it in her recovery from the COVID-19 virus.)
The pressure mounted so quickly and intensely that on Wednesday, Jones announced he was resigning his seat in the Georgia House.
LU contributor Jeff Dunetz reported this quote from Jones:
I’m sick and tired of me and my family being attacked and harassed by the Democrat Party for putting my country before my party. I take pride in being an independent thinker. My first amendment right to freedom of speech is under siege. I intend to help the Democrat Party get rid of its bigotry against Black people that are independent and conservative.
I endorsed the White guy (Donald J. Trump) that let Blacks out of jail, and they endorsed the White guy (Joe Biden) that put Blacks in jail. Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation.
Our colleague Jeff, noting that Jones planned to stay active in politics but wouldn’t actually be leaving the Democratic Party, lamented: “That’s disappointing. The GOP could use more people like Vernon Jones.”
And now it looks like the Democrats will still have Jones to kick around, if that’s how they want to spend their time. In late-breaking news on Thursday, Jones announced he has changed his mind and will not resign his seat in the statehouse.
“Yesterday, I announced my intentions to resign from my office,” he said in a tweet. “But shortly thereafter, the outpour of support I received was too great for me to ignore.
“I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win.”
Yesterday, I announced my intentions to resign from my office. But shortly thereafter, the outpour of support I received was too great for me to ignore.
I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win.
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 23, 2020
If he got an outpouring of support after his initial announcement, Jones is certainly getting another one after his Thursday tweet. There are over 13,000 replies so far, the overwhelming majority of the first several pages of them being positive.
Don’t you dare resign. I’m loving this!!!!
— Kambree (@KamVTV) April 23, 2020
Good for u Rep! Never let the left bully you into submission
They fear free thinking black pple like us because we have been the fodder for their political power for so long
When a black person is no longer of any use to their agenda, how quick they turn on u & try to destroy u
— Melissa A. (@TheRightMelissa) April 23, 2020
Young Man … DO NOT RESIGN ! Stay the course; consider being an Independent …
— JudgeJoeBrown (@JudgeJoeBrownTV) April 23, 2020
Many tweets include the #WalkAway hashtag, used to signify solidarity with voter groups who are tired of being taken for granted by the Democratic Party.
— Giacomo K. Proud member of Black Voices for Trump (@giacoknox) April 23, 2020
— Audrey Russo 🎙 (@audrey_russo) April 23, 2020
As a former Democrat, who is now a Republican, this makes me happy. I'm a conservative, and being a conservative Democrat was just pointless. The party of my grandparents was hijacked by the far-left some time ago. I hope you #WalkAway away some day too.
— Snidely Whiplashes Ghost (@MikaelYaron) April 23, 2020
Appreciation for independent thinking seems to be alive and well with a lot of Americans.