For some right-of-center voters, like Lyle Darrah, the violence at the Capitol was simply the final straw. They described an increasingly strained relationship with the GOP, with some citing the rise of Sarah Palin more than a decade ago as the first sign that the party was focusing on culture wars instead of fiscal conservatism.
“As my husband said, it’s just become the party of mean people,” said Jo Swanson, 73, a retired school psychologist in Denver. She voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but didn’t register as a Democrat until this month. She had always considered herself more socially liberal, but her anti-abortion beliefs had held her back.
“I really found that hard to let go,” she said, adding that she’d still fight for abortion restrictions.