How to Be a Republican

For those unsure of their ideological leaning, here’s an easy way to determine whether or not you’re a Republican.

Fifty years ago, it was fairly easy to tell if you were a Republican or not. The typical Republican was a white businessman with a healthy investment portfolio who believed in lower taxes, a bigger military and a robust foreign policy. Back then, there was even room for so-called liberal Republicans who supported limited social welfare programs.

Republican LincolnToday, all that has changed. The political lines have blurred and one’s party affiliation is not so easy to determine. For those unsure of their ideological leaning, here’s an easy way to determine whether or not you’re a Republican.

To be a Republican, you must be a proud member of the party of Abraham Lincoln. You probably didn’t even know that Lincoln was a Republican, did you? Well he was and so are you. Just don’t compare your principles (if any) too closely with Honest Abe’s.

Some things don’t change; to be a Republican is to be for small government and big tax cuts. It’s your money, after all, and it should go to you. The only difference now is that “you” happen to be in the top income bracket. Not to worry since the benefits of those tax cuts will eventually trickle down to what’s left of the middle class.

As a modern Republican, you believe strongly in American democracy and the rule of law except, of course, when you don’t. Lying, cheating and contempt for the Constitution are strictly verboten, at least at any level below that of the nation’s Chief Executive.

When it comes to the American electoral system, you are a strong advocate of fairness with a few minor exceptions. A little manipulation in the form of gerrymandering, unrestricted corporate political donations and photo ID requirements for voter registration is no big deal, especially when it allows Republican incumbents to stay in office longer.

As a patriotic Republican, you support legal immigration since it helps strengthen American society. Technically, you also support refugee claimants so long as they don’t come here and actually make such a claim. However, you do not support illegal immigration unless restricting it would cut into your business’s profits. As for a border wall, sure, why not?

Healthcare is sacrosanct to modern Republicans. You want everyone to have medical coverage even those with pre-existing conditions so long as you don’t have to pay for it. Socialized medicine is anathema to you although you will not tolerate anyone trying to take away your Medicare coverage.

Republicans are big supporters of public education. After all, that’s what made America great. However, you’ve decided to make a few tweaks to the system in the form of school vouchers, charter schools and tax breaks for private schools. You also strongly support post-secondary education. You believe that everyone should have the right to go to university and incur a six-figure debt.

If you’re a Republican, you believe in lending a helping hand to others so long as it’s not a government handout. Leave such matters to the charitable instincts of our generous citizens as identified by the two Bush presidents. Papa Bush looked to “a thousand points of light” and his son declared himself unironically a “compassionate conservative.”

There, now that wasn’t so hard, was it? If some of these positions seem contradictory or a little hypocritical to you, maybe you’re not a real Republican. If you’re someone who needs to examine their principles or check their conscience, maybe the Republican Party is not for you. For the rest of you, however, welcome to the (P)arty! The first drink’s on us.

David Martin
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