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There is a Distinction Between Political Parties and Their Ideologies

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Back in January, Former Vice President Mike Pence had to confirm the electoral college results in a joint session of Congress, which would announce Biden and Harris as the official winners of the 2020 presidential election. In the days leading up to the congressional confirmation, Trump told Pence, “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a p****y.”

Trump implied that Pence would be a coward if he did not decertify the electoral college results. To be clear, the US vice president does not have the power to decertify any presidential election results. Yet, Trump strongly believed Pence somehow had that power. On a side note, if the vice president had the power to overturn the results of a presidential election, then every vice president would win reelection.

In any case, Pence certified the results and announced Biden as the next president of the United States after a deadly insurrection on the Capital took place, where rioters yelled, “Hang Mike Pence.” When Pence left office, Trump supporters genuinely believed Pence betrayed Trump, which prompted them to call Pence “Judas” and RINO, which stands for “Republican in Name Only.”

If any person were to go on Instagram right now on April 7th, 2021, the former vice president’s recent post is about Easter. Open the comments, and you will see numerous people calling Pence “Judas,” which obviously refers to the person that betrayed Jesus. The irony in calling Pence Judas is that you are calling Trump Jesus, which is the most inaccurate analogy in the history of analogies.

However, the more important phrase Pence is being called by Trump supporters is “RINO” because the phrase itself does not even make sense.

To understand why the phrase does not make any sense, you have to understand the distinction between political parties and ideologies. A political party is just a group of lawmakers and voters, while a political ideology is a set of beliefs that determine policy, governance, and rhetoric. Simply, political ideologies drive political parties and not the other way around.

For a long time now, the Republican party’s political identity predicated on fiscal conservatism, foreign interventionism, and social individualism. Republicans like Senator John McCain and President Ronald Reagan championed these ideas, and a Republican majority Congress passed legislation that fit this identity. Essentially, if a congressman is Republican, then he is most likely a conservative. However, it is technically possible to be a liberal Republican because the only objective metric of being a Republican is if you vote Republican.

The point being political parties change while ideologies do not. For example, in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” Seven years later, Obama and his Supreme Court nominees supported legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Like Obama, Democrats shifted their position on same-sex marriage as time passed, which shows that even though Obama was still a Democrat when he was against and in favor of gay marriage, his ideological approach to the issue evidently changed.

The fact of the matter is the Republican and Democratic party today is drastically different from five decades ago and will be drastically different five decades in the future. It all depends on the driving ideology of each party.

This brings us back full circle to Mike Pence, who is as Republican and conservative as any politician can get. By the aforementioned objective metric of being a Republican, Pence has voted for Republicans and openly supported Republican bills. To go out on a limb here, Pence probably voted for Trump in the past two elections. He is not a RINO, and calling him one because he did his vice-presidential obligation in certifying the electoral college is illogical.

Secondly, let’s say he is, in fact, a RINO because he hypothetically endorsed Democratic politicians or he supported the most liberal bill to ever grace the Senate floors. This incessant name-calling is not constructive for any debate.

A few days ago, Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw made this point on Joe Rogan’s podcast, “Name-calling is a way to bypass debate,” which is exactly correct. If you disagreed with Pence’s decision to certify the electoral college, do not just hide behind a computer screen and call him Judas on his most recent Instagram post; try to engage in a rational conversation about the constitutional interpretation or election integrity. This was a problem I saw with Trump when he called Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” or when Democrats called Mitch McConnell “Moscow Mitch.” None of this playground banter will uphold the pillars of debate and only increase polarization on a ridiculous scale.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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