If you’re familiar with conservative politics, more specifically Ronald Reagan, you’re familiar with one of his many famous quotes “My 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.” Through this mantra, Ronald Reagan was able to unite people all over the political spectrum. He became one of the most popular and celebrated presidents in American history. Reagan also spoke about the “11th Commandment,” where he discouraged party members from attacking their own and to unite so we can win.

It’s no secret that this country that this country is extremely divided when it comes to politics. I’m not just talking about the divide between the left and the right, but inter-party division as well. According to a Pew Research Poll, more than half of party members view those on the other side of the aisle unfavorably. Both parties are shifting further to the right and left. If you don’t align with someone in your party on every little issue, you’re suddenly not “Republican enough” or a “true Conservative.” We see it all the time at the national level: You support military intervention “neocon,” work across the aisle on legislation “Rino” or “establishment,” I could go on. These names are thrown around so much that they’re beginning to lose their effect. To some voters out there, if a candidate doesn’t support every single issue that they do, it’s almost as if they might as well belong in a different party.

No candidate is going to be perfect. No one is going to see eye to eye on every issue under the sun. You may be passionate about an issue that isn’t specifically a “Republican issue,” such as environmental issues, criminal justice issues, or certain social issues. These are all nonpartisan issues that neither party should have a monopoly over. You’re not any less of a Republican if you support one issue that isn’t supported by the majority of your party. You aren’t a hack or ‘establishment,’ or any other name that might be thrown at you. Minor disagreements like this could lead to unnecessary infighting and possible primary challenges that could cost us seats in the general election.  By basing your candidate choice around how they stand on one issue, you’re ignoring the rest of their platform that you could possibly support and want to advocate for. By having this attitude, you’re likely forfeiting the chance to win in November.

Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on every single issue does not make them any less of a Republican. The Grand Old Party is a Big Tent Party, and there is plenty of room for healthy debate and discussion regarding certain issues. We may disagree and debate at club meetings and in the primaries, but at the end of the day we all should come together and remember what we’re fighting for, and what we’ve accomplished so far. We can accomplish so much more as a united party. A lot is on the line in 2018 as we defend and expand on our majorities, so look at the bigger picture.

Melissa B
Melissa is a young conservative navigating the world of post-grad one cup of coffee (or glass of wine) at a time. When she isn't volunteering on campaigns up and down the ballot in deep blue Maryland or trying to get selfies with politicians, you can find her reading, cheering on the Ravens, or hanging out with friends.

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