Lifelong Horry County Republican: Done with the GOP
Pictured (L-R): HCDP’s Bob Gatty interviews former lifelong Republican Bart Collins.
By Bob Gatty
Bart Collins, a 45-year-old lifelong Myrtle Beach resident and Republican has had enough of President Trump and the Republican Party, which he believes has irresponsibly followed and supported a president that Collins says should be impeached.
In fact, Collins is so committed to seeing an end to the Trump administration that is now a Horry County Democratic Party volunteer determined to help elect Democratic candidates and defeat President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tom Rice.
“I’m not just opposing President Trump,” he said in an interview with HCDP News. “The Republican party has lost me for good.”
Noting that until the last presidential election he had always voted a straight GOP ticket, Collins said, “I was happy worrying about what was going on in my life. I’m busy enough, but this has rocked American politics, I think, to our foundation. The Republicans, I can never get behind them again.”
Collins said he wants to see President Trump impeached on charges of obstruction of justice.
“I think it’s important for our Constitution, for our government, for our way of life that this man is held accountable for the awful things that he’s done. There are 10 obvious instances of obstruction of justice and that’s a pretty big deal”.
But failing impeachment, Collins says he is determined to help in the effort to defeat he president in the November 2020 election.
Those Damned Democrats
A Horry County firefighter/emergency medical technician (EMT), Collins grew up in a family that only ever referred to Democrats as “those damned Democrats,” and most of his lifelong friends are determined supporters of President Trump, despite his attacks on health care, the environment, the truth, and his coziness with dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un.
In fact, Collins believes that “being a conservative Republican got comingled with the identify of being a southern man, or southerner – more specifically, a white southerner. I think there are people who feel like they would be betraying their heritage by not supporting the Republican Party.”
He added, “We see so many otherwise good, moral, intelligent, ethical people that are following the incredibly, obviously unethical, immoral person in the White House. They’re not just saying, ‘OK, I’m going to go along with this guy.’ They’re dug in, with venom.”
He experiences this in his own home, with his own family, Collins said, noting that his older brother, who phone banked for the Reagan-Bush campaign when he was 14, tells him he should move to California and live with all the other left-wing wackos.
Collins is especially concerned about healthcare and the efforts by President Trump and the Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. In South Carolina, the refusal of the GOP administration in Columbia and the state legislature to accept Medicaid expansion has “left a big hole” in coverage for low-income South Carolinians.
“It’s not uncommon whatsoever for us to be called out in an ambulance for a 911 call to a patient who’s experiencing exacerbated symptoms because they’re non-compliant with the medication due to the cost of that medication,” he explained.
Collins pointed out that people who have health insurance and the financial resources to properly manage their healthcare are far less likely to face an emergency than “people who don’t have much because they can’t afford to go to the doctor on a regular basis; they can’t afford their medication and it ends up causing great strain on EMS services nationwide.”
When patients delay medical treatment because they lack the money to pay for it, illnesses worsen to the point that it becomes an emergency, thus taxing ambulance and EMT services, tying up equipment and personnel that should be available for true life-threatening emergencies.
“There is only a finite number of ambulances in Horry County,” Collins said, adding that if they are out on non-emergency hospital trips, then emergency care for patients suffering a true emergency will be delayed.
President Trump’s constant lying – over 12,000 since his election, according to the Washington Post – was cited by Collins as a key reason why he cannot support the president, although he said he didn’t vote for him in 2016 having already been turned off by candidate Trump, his demand for a wall, his promise that Mexico would pay for it, and on and on.
“Did anyone believe Mexico would pay for that wall?” Collins asked. “I guess some people did.”
Collins is angry with the GOP for not having the courage to oppose Trump when he makes his racist statements and pushes for policies that actually hurt working people, despite his false promises and claims to the contrary.
The environment and Trump’s policies to exploit our national parks and resources for oil drilling and exploitation angers Collins, including such policies as the recent plan to rescind Obama-era regulations designed to promote clean energy and curtail the use of coal.
“Since when is the need for clean air a partisan issue?” Collins said. “We’re all in this together.”