Eric Johnson, the mayor of Dallas, Texas, recently announced his decision to switch his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal titled “America’s Cities Need Republicans, and I’m Becoming One.” A seasoned politician, Johnson served nine years representing a Dallas district in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat before he became mayor in 2019.
In his op-ed, Johnson expressed his discontent with the Democratic Party, citing his feeling of distance from his party colleagues even during his time in the Texas House. He also criticized the Democrats for treating cities as “laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise,” and for their preference for “virtue signaling” over meaningful governance.
Johnson accused Democrats of proposing “half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill” but often lead to exacerbating homelessness, coddling criminals, and making it harder for ordinary people to make a living. He also believes that Democrats care more about scoring points against Republicans than serving their constituents, which has resulted in a loss of public safety and trust.
The mayor argued that his switch to the Republican Party is not only due to personal conviction but also because it will benefit Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States, and its residents. Johnson insisted that “American cities need Republicans — and Republicans need American cities,” and argued that urban leaders should prioritize “law and order” and “fiscal conservatism.”
The mayor criticized some urban leaders for implementing policies such as defunding the police, which he believes discourages businesses from establishing roots and offering high-paying jobs to local residents. He emphasized the need for real choices at city hall, instead of progressive echo chambers.
Johnson, who won 98.7 percent of the vote in his re-election race in May, is extremely popular among Dallas voters. His term as mayor will end no later than 2027 due to term limits.
With this switch, Johnson becomes the second black elected official in the South to switch from Democrat to Republican in recent months, following state Rep. Mesha Mainor of Atlanta, Georgia. Mainor cited her support for school choice and refusal to defund the police as reasons for her decision to become a Republican.