Ex-liberal who started #Walkaway campaign says ‘oppressive’ Left has drowned out ‘common sense’

Ex-liberal who started #Walkaway campaign says ‘oppressive’ Left has drowned out ‘common sense’
The #Walkaway campaign has helped thousands of disillusioned Democrats regain their own voices and push back against “oppression” and incivility from the Left, the movement’s founder told RT in an interview.

The #Walkaway hashtag went viral after New York-based stylist Brandon Straka, an openly gay man, created a short video explaining why he felt alienated by the Democratic Party and had to “walk away” – despite being a “lifelong liberal.” Thousands of other wary Democrats have since joined Straka, posting videos explaining why they too felt compelled to leave the party. 

“I think the expectation for a lot of minority groups is that we’re supposed to vote Democrat, and that we’re supposed to be liberals. So I found myself sort of in that tribe on the Left most of my life,” Straka told RT. “What I wanted to do is get people back in touch with their voices and push back against the narrative on the Left.”

In the video that kicked off his campaign, Straka said that he had watched with grave concern as “the Left devolved into intolerant, inflexible, illogical, hateful, misguided, ill-informed, un-American, hypocritical, menacing, callous, ignorant, narrow-minded, and at times blatantly fascistic behavior and rhetoric.”

Accusing Democrats of cultivating a victim mentality among the party’s minority supporters, Straka argues that its attempt to portray a person of color, a woman, an LGTB person, a migrant as a “victim of systemic oppression” is the party’s “greatest and most insidious lie” – which is needed so minorities will see their saviors to be Democrats, who in fact do nothing to improve their situations.

The video has since been watched over 420,000 times, receiving over 16,300 likes and fewer than 300 dislikes. People have been posting their own testimonies across all social media networks under the #Walkaway hashtag on what triggered them to leave the party.

The momentum generated by the campaign has caused some to suspect that it is the product of conservative spin masters, and Straka is nothing more than an actor, chosen to read the lines. The activist himself dismisses the allegations of “being hired by the Koch brothers” or conservative news site Breitbart as laughable, saying that he was behind the script “100 percent” and drew inspiration “from the passion that I feel in my heart for what I was saying.”

While Straka has received massive positive feedback, critics argue that those who joined the movement are not Democrats who have suddenly awakened to the truth, but conservatives. Some long-time conservative supporters have indeed tweeted their own videos with the #Walkaway hashtag, like young black activist C.J. Pearson. He didn’t attempt to portray his address as an ex-liberal’s “walkaway” moment, but simply to give a boost to the campaign.

“My campaign is not mostly comprised of people who are conservative. And in fact, anybody who is saying that, I encourage them to go into the page,” Straka said.

Despite hours of video testimonies shot by real people, some commenters invoked the old ‘blame Russia’ narrative, alleging that the activists might as well be ‘Russian trolls’.

“The video testimonials don’t lie, those are not Russian bots, if you will, and these aren’t manufactured stories, these are real people telling real stories,” Straka told RT.

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