College Republican Who Switched Parties Once Scorned 'Damn Liberals'

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., addresses supporters and volunteers at his runoff election victory party Tuesday, June 24, 2
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., addresses supporters and volunteers at his runoff election victory party Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at the Mississippi Children's Museum in Jackson, Miss. Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, in a primary runoff for the GOP nomination for senate. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

WASHINGTON -- On his social media accounts, Evan Alvarez was a model conservative. He called for President Barack Obama's impeachment, decried government "handouts," enthused about Republican candidates, and said there was nothing he hated more "than a damn liberal."

But Alvarez said he's now one of those "damn liberals" after resigning last month as chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, citing disagreement with the party's direction. He said he changed his party affiliation the same day.

Alvarez's party switch has since attracted local and national media attention, and he will appear Wednesday night on MSNBC's "The Last Word," with Lawrence O'Donnell. His resignation came amid infighting over last month's contentious Mississippi Republican Senate primary runoff between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R).

Years of Alvarez' social media posts show no trace of his new political philosophy -- only enthusiasm for the Republican Party and its positions. He said Wednesday that he now regrets some of the posts. And he explained his sudden transformation: it wasn't so sudden.

"All the way through, I was just playing the good Republican. And then eventually I had disagreement enough that I had to come out against that," said Alvarez, a rising senior at Mississippi State University.

In January 2013, Alvarez wrote on Facebook: "Congress needs to begin the impeachment process as soon as possible, things have gone too far." A year after Obama's 2012 re-election, he said that that was "the stupidest decision in our nation's history."

When the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate in Obama's signature health care law was constitutional, Alvarez called for its repeal.

"Government shut down = NO MORE HANDOUTS," he posted when the government almost shut down in 2011, with the hashtag #hellyeah.

But Alvarez said that after classes in constitutional law, and a close relationship with someone who depends on food stamps, he began to look at public policy from another side. He said he believes government sometimes needs to help Americans and Republicans have painted an unfair picture of many welfare recipients.

"There are a lot of people out there who truly need the help," he said.

Alvarez, son of a man who fled Fidel Castro's Cuba for America, said he believes in the necessity of immigration reform and agrees with Obama's decision to address immigration with executive orders.

"He is the leader of the country, he has to do something," Alvarez said.

And as for impeachment?

"Of course not. I think both sides need to sit down and work together," he said.

Alvarez said he began in December to reconsider positions he embraced as early as age 8. But leaving the party wasn't easy, he said. Many of his friends were involved in the College Republicans, and he worried about fallout from leaving s the dominant political party in Mississippi.

"I had to do what I thought was right before it got to me," he said.

Some have said that Alvarez's conversion isn't genuine.

“As chair of the CRNC, some would expect I would be disappointed by today’s news. I am not,” College Republican National Committee Chairwoman Alex Smith told the Daily Caller in June. “This defection was based on self-interest, not principle.”

Alvarez denied that.

"At the end of the day, I said to myself that's OK. Because I know what I'm doing and my heart was right," he said.



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