change (one's) stripes

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change (one's) stripes

To radically or fundamentally shift one's opinion, ideology, or allegiance, especially in relation to politics. Often used in negative constructions. Derived from the phrase "a tiger cannot change its stripes," meaning that people are incapable of changing their essential nature. The former governor has changed her stripes regarding social welfare since leaving office. You're never going to convince Tom about this. A guy so set in his beliefs like Tom can't change his stripes.
See also: change, stripe
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

change one's stripes

See also: change, stripe
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

change one's stripes/spots, cannot

One cannot alter one’s essential nature. The cliché refers to the tiger, who obviously cannot change its stripes. This in turn is an alteration of a much older saying, an ancient Greek proverb also found in the Bible (“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:23). The phrase appears in numerous places until the end of the seventeenth century.
See also: cannot, change, stripe
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
He dismissed any threat from Sidhu, billed to change stripes from the BJP to the AAP.
TIGER CAN'T CHANGE STRIPES: This was meant to mark Woods' Major comeback, but his swing looked as wonky as a drunken giraffe on stilts.
Now the Real Struggle Begins for Egypt [Guardian] Mubarak Loyalists Change Stripes To Fit Into the New Egypt [WP] Now What?
Horowitz's solution is to change stripes and adopt a traditional liberal tactic: Bring in big government.