Longtime Conservative Actor Robert Duvall Is Abandoning The GOP ‘Mess’


Hollywood is often portrayed by conservatives as a liberal paradise. Even though it’s true that many actors and actresses have liberal views, there are a few who are right at home in the GOP. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, Robert Duvall is no longer one of them.

Actor Robert Duvall exits the Republican Party, stage left

During an interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern last week, Stern asked Duvall if it was tough to be a Republican in Hollywood. In response, the legendary actor called the GOP “a mess,” declared his support of a woman’s right to choose, and said he’ll “probably vote independent.” In short, the longtime conservative seems to have ditched the Republican Party.

STERN: “Republicans in Hollywood seem to get a lot of flack and be a bit marginalized. Has it ever been tough, for you, to be a Republican in Hollywood?”

DUVALL: “Let me say it this way: my wife’s from Argentina, she’s been here for a while, and she’s very smart. She calls herself a “tree-hugging Republican,” but she might even vote Democrat next time because the Republican Party is a mess. I’ll probably vote Independent next time. I think it was Jack Kerouac who said something like, “Don’t run down my country. My people are immigrants, so I believe in this country with all its faults. To me, it’s a big country that’s made mistakes… Some of these very conservative Republicans… I don’t know, man. I believe in a woman’s choice. I believe in certain things.”

Duvall also blamed Democrats for all the “atrocities committed in the South” against African-Americans. On this point, Duvall is only partially correct. While it is true that Southern Democrats supported slavery, Jim Crow laws, and segregation, those particular Democrats were conservatives. Republicans were the liberals until they began their rightward turn after the days of Teddy Roosevelt. Democrats started turning liberal around the same time and are now the champions of civil rights while Republicans are now the staunch conservatives who seek to repeal them. The shift, of course, took some time but it did happen. Even Duvall admits that “everything’s been turned around in a strange way.” So Duvall really can’t blame today’s Democratic Party for terrible events that a totally different Democratic Party committed in the past. It would be like crediting today’s GOP for ending slavery.

This is a high profile loss for the GOP

This is a major loss for the GOP at a time when they need all the big names they can get. The 83-year-old actor had been a huge presence at GOP events in recent years. In 2008, Duvall reportedly narrated videos shown during the Republican National Convention and personally appeared on stage during a rally for John McCain and Sarah Palin. And in 2012, Duvall endorsed Mitt Romney. Losing the support of such an iconic and popular actor is a real blow as the 2014 midterm election approaches. Robert Duvall is yet another example of a Republican who can no longer stand to call themselves one. Other examples include a Texas judge and a House candidate in North Carolina.