Liberty Buzz recently sat down with David Serenda, a leader of #GOPExodus to discuss the movement to leave the Republican Party.
LibertyBuzz: To start, can you give a brief explanation of what #GOPExodus is and what you are trying to accomplish?
David Serenda: #GOPexodus is a grassroots movement that was born out of the frustrations with the Republican Party. This is not about any candidate but rather a rebellion against a party that has forsaken its principles.
We are asking all Republicans that are tired of the GOP leadership in Washington to join us in exiting the GOP on September 15th between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. We believe a public rebuke of party leadership is the only way to have our voices heard.
LB: Could you speak a bit about the nature of those frustrations? Is this a direct response to the nomination of Donald Trump, or is there more to it? What exactly are your grievances?
DS: The core of the grievances is a party that no longer listens to the voters. In 2012 Republicans in the House of Representatives had historic victories, yet the leadership refused to stand up for conservative principles.
The grassroots have handed the GOP victory after victory only to watch them squander it away and advance the progressive agenda. For many conservatives it is not the enemy (progressivism) without the party that crushes us, it’s the enemy within our party.
From the bailouts under President Bush to the complete capitulation to the left under John Boehner, the establishment progressives have worked against the conservative movement. We now have a party that actively works to defeat conservatives and have abandoned their principles.
Republicans have expanded the federal government, violated privacy rights, wanted to restrict gun rights, funded abortion mills, and have allowed the lobbyist to control the agenda. They say all the right things in public than [sic] acquiesce to the donor class.
Donald Trump is not the issue. The Republican Party will be corrupt regardless of who wins in November. What took place in Cleveland was the manifestation of years and years of frustration. Donald Trump is a symptom, not the source if what’s wrong with the GOP.
What we witnessed in Cleveland was an assault by the GOP power brokers like Paul Manafort and Reince Priebus to shift power away from the grassroots and the empowerment of the donor class. This frustration crosses multiple areas because the progressives have embedded themselves in part of the GOP.
LB: Please describe the organizational structure of #GOPExodus. There seem to be a number of movements and groups involved. There are NeverTrump, Conservatives Unite, Reclaim DC, and probably many others. Can you explain the relationship of these groups to each other and to #GOPExodus? Who is in charge? Is there a board of directors with a presiding officer, or is it more of a grassroots organization with every member equal to every other member?
DS: We are in the process of creating and forming a formal structure and will be announcing it in the coming weeks. We have created a Conservative Council that is made up of grassroots activists. Currently, the conservative council is working together to guide and educate the grassroots. We hope to introduce the entire team on our upcoming call this Sunday.
[Editor’s Note: Here is a link to the groups that have joined. https://www.facebook.com/notes/johnathon-vigil/gopexodus-coalition-of-fb-groups-and-pages/299546217065136 ]
LB: Can you say a little bit about yourself, your background, what brought you to this point, and what exactly your role is within the movement?
DS: I am just an average guy with a passion for my country. I have never been this involved until Senator Cruz stood up to oppose Obamacare. When he announced, I immediately supported him and was honored to serve as his Maryland State Director.
Senator Cruz has made it clear that he is no longer a candidate and is not seeking or asking for a write-in campaign. Therefore like Senator Cruz, I too am looking for the person that will honor and defend the constitution.
My role with the organization is that of setting the vision and working with the council to achieve those goals. This is a journey and discussion about the future of the conservative movement. We need the input of those who join us, and we are developing processes to allow for that to take place.
LB: Speaking of Senator Cruz, would you say that most of the people involved were or are supporters of his? Is he personally aware of your efforts and if so, has he given any encouragement?
Presumably, he is not leaving the Republican Party. How do his supporters in the movement square his remaining with their leaving?
DS: There are supporters of all the presidential candidates in our movement. While many are Cruz supporters, we are uniting behind conservatism and understand that his campaign is over, and he has moved on to his re-election to the United States Senate.
I have not spoken to the senator directly since April of this year. Again, this is about the cause, not the candidate. Our long-term goal is to create a place for all those who love liberty, freedom, life, and the principles that our nation was founded upon.
If the grassroots united and joined with us, we could establish a new party with ballot access in every state and territory. I believe men like Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ben Sasse, and Congressman like Justin Amash, David Brat, and Alex Mooney would be welcomed with open arms.
LB: Does that mean the ultimate goal is to exit permanently the Republican Party rather than to reform it? How about joining forces with one of the other existing parties, like the Libertarian Party or the Constitution Party? Is that a possibility, or are you determined to form a new party?
DS: The ultimate goal is a permanent exit. Repairing the Republican Party is like trying to salvage a condemned barn that has been destroyed by termites. Our goal is to put all options on the table and have a discussion with those who want a future based on liberty and not tyranny.
We invited Mr. Castle from the Constitution Party this past Sunday and hope to have Mr. Johnson from the Libertarian Party on this week. Each member will need to decide where they go in 2016 and who they will support.
LB: Please elaborate on the Sunday phone conferences. What is their purpose? How do you think the first one went?
You have invited Governor Johnson and are waiting to hear if he will attend. If someone wishes to join in future calls, how should they go about it?
DS: This past Sunday we hosted our first national conference call to announce the date of the #GOPexodus. We also announced our future plans to explore a new party or merging with an existing one. Our calls are to focus on keeping people updated as to our progress, provide a voice to third party candidates, and educate people about conservative ideas and solutions. We had over 500 people on the call. We announced the call on Thursday and by Sunday we had over 500 people get on the call via phone or live feed.
We announce all our events and call in information on our Reclaim DC page.
LB: What about down ticket races? Does GOP Exodus mean severing all ties with the Republican Party, or might people still vote for Republicans they like in general elections and primaries in open states?
If Senator Cruz does not leave the Republican Party, would you vote for him if you lived in his state and he ran for reelection or ran again as a Republican candidate for President?
DS: We will vote and support those who honor the Constitution. Our vision is principle over party
LB: Are numbers important to you? If you are not attempting to repair the GOP, does it matter how many exit on September 15th? Have you set a goal as to how many Republicans you would like to see leave, and if so, is there any way to know how many did and if your goal was met?
DS: Numbers show strength but often times the greatest victories are won by the smallest groups. I will take a small, principled, passionate people over a large mass of apathetic complainers who is content to live in corruption.
We will be announcing a website to promote our movement and encourage people to signup and show up. Our goal is to have state and regional directors with Board of Elections identified in every state.
The reason this must be a public rebuke is to stop the GOP from dismissing its effectiveness. If the grassroots turns out and supports us regardless of candidate, there will be long lines out the door and around the corner of angry Republicans at those board of election sites. The image on the 6:00 news of hundreds of people participating in the #GOPExodus all across this country is one they can not ignore.
LB: Finally, if someone wants to participate, what exactly should they do now? How do they find you?
DS: They can go to Reclaim DC on Facebook and like our page. They can also join their state GOPexodus state group. We will be putting up a website at www.gopexodus.com in the near future.
Following this interview, David posted a video update which can be viewed at: