In a piece titled "Why I Soured on the Democrats" published in the left-leaning The Atlantic on Friday, an ardent Democratic supporter explained how the pivotal issue of closing schools during the pandemic is pushing her away from the party.
"Until recently, I was a loyal, left-leaning Democrat, and I had been my entire adult life," wrote author Angie Schmitt. "I was the kind of partisan who registered voters before midterm elections and went to protests. I hated Donald Trump so much that I struggled to be civil to relatives on the other side of the aisle. But because of what my family has gone through during the pandemic, I can’t muster the same enthusiasm. I feel adrift from my tribe and, to a certain degree, disgusted with both parties."
Schmitt noted that she wasn't able to work full-time when the Cleveland school system went to remote learning only, forcing her two young children to be at home. Schmidt not only lost wages, but her children suffered during the remote learning experiment.
Democrats continued to disappoint Schmidt in their handling of schools during the pandemic.
I kept hoping that someone in our all-Democratic political leadership would take a stand on behalf of Cleveland’s 37,000 public-school children or seem to care about what was happening. Weren’t Democrats supposed to stick up for low-income kids? Instead, our veteran Democratic mayor avoided remarking on the crisis facing the city’s public-school families. Our all-Democratic city council was similarly disengaged. The same thing was happening in other blue cities and blue states across the country, as the needs of children were simply swept aside. Cleveland went so far as to close playgrounds for an entire year. That felt almost mean-spirited, given the research suggesting the negligible risk of outdoor transmission—an additional slap in the face.
After the schools failed to fully open for months, Schmidt enrolled her child in a charter school that was open for full-time in-person instruction. She said her trust was "broken" with public schools.
"Compounding my fury was a complete lack of sympathy or outright hostility from my own 'team,'" Schmidt wrote of Democrats.
Schmidt said that when she spoke out against school closures on social media she was "shouted down and abused, accused of being a Trumper who didn’t care if teachers died."
She accused the Democratic Party of "exaggerating the risks of COVID-19 to children," and not acknowledging the negatives of children wearing face masks.
Schmidt admitted that she lost her "trust that the party is truly motivated to act in the interests of those they claim to serve." Despite all of her grievances toward Democrats, she proclaimed, "None of this has shaken my support for the Democratic agenda, which I still endorse wholesale."
Schmidt did say that more and more, she feels "politically homeless."