Jimmy LaSalvia has always identified himself as a conservative, but in 2014, the influential consultant and party activist officially left the Republican Party. His memoir, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too) recounts his history with the party, his frustration with its outmoded cultural attitudes and reflexive partisanship, and his fateful decision to finally switch his voter registration to “No Party.”
In an interview for IVN, LaSalvia explained that the purpose of his book, which is being released in stores and online Tuesday, is to provide a personal account of his experience of “trying to fit into our two-party system” so that others can relate to it.
Like many independents, LaSalvia started his political journey by joining one of the major parties. As a 21-year-old, he writes in his book, he attended the 1992 Republican National Convention. Despite knowing he was gay, he recalls cheering, “Family rights forever, gay rights never!” when Pat Buchanan delivered his famous culture war speech, because “that’s what everyone else was doing.”
GOProud supported Mitt Romney for president in 2012, hoping to have a working relationship with Romney if he had taken the White House. Yet, as LaSalvia writes, the Romney team was not a requiting partner: the campaign kept GOProud at a distance, and LaSalvia watched with dismay as Romney addressed a crowd at the late Jerry Falwell’s evangelical Liberty University – “the mother ship of the anti-gay industry.”
“I watched the speech on television and it was clear that he was with his people there at Liberty,” LaSalvia writes, “and his people didn’t like my people.”
By that November, LaSalvia had enough. Instead of supporting Mitt Romney, he voted for the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson.