I n Wyoming, there is a growing schism between people on the same side of the political aisle. This divide focuses on the differences between self-described “traditional Republicans,” …
In Wyoming, there is a growing schism between people on the same side of the political aisle. This divide focuses on the differences between self-described “traditional Republicans,” often characterized as being more moderate, and “true conservatives,” who favor a more drastic approach. Both groups sling political mud back and forth adhering to the adage that when you wrestle a pig, you both get dirty, but only the pig likes it. Whether either side in this debacle is a bigger pig is up for debate, but the unfortunate side effect of this political mudslinging is that the rest of us are sitting directly in the splash zone, and most are not there by choice.
Now, some say, “Wyoming is a conservative state with conservative values, so if you don’t support the party and its platform completely, leave.” Others say, “Wyoming is undergoing a shift to the far right and restraint is needed.” To simply say that one position is correct and that the other lacks any merit misses any sense of genuine understanding or compromise that is necessary for Wyoming to thrive.
I do not believe it is fair to generalize Wyoming Republicans as being members of one group or the other as doing so disregards the unique circumstances and viewpoints that we all have. I would instead argue that many Wyoming Republicans likely find themselves somewhere in between the two camps.
Focusing on these differences is not what Wyomingites need. What the people of Wyoming need is for “traditional Republicans” and “true conservatives” to put off their differences and work together to find solutions to the most important issues. This is especially true for our Legislature.
From my observations, Wyomingites for the most part do not care if a legislator is in a particular ideological camp. Instead, it is preferred for legislators to work collaboratively in order to solve the pressing issues that affect all of us. I for one would rather have the Legislature pass 10 bills that make a meaningful difference for the state and its residents than 100 bills designed to satisfy special interests.
These issues which our Legislature needs to solve include ever-rising property taxes, out-of-control inflation, better access to mental health care, and supporting families.
I have been particularly concerned over the past months as various news outlets across the state have highlighted the exchange of barbs from competing political camps. One better-known source for stoking this division is WyoRINO.com; however, there are other similar sites which seem to be trending towards popularity including wyomingcap.com.
The concern I have with sites like these is that they often only portray the views of a select individual or small group of individuals. Often these sites will choose a small sampling of bills and then determine whether an “aye” or a “nay” vote aligns with the editor’s interpretation of the party planks. These websites provide no real insight into a legislator’s qualifications or beliefs and are therefore of limited value.
I caution against relying on websites like WyoRINO.com or wyomingcap.com as they tend to be harmful rather than helpful and only further the divide among Republicans. These sites often ignore the “80% rule” expressed by President Ronald Reagan when he stated, “The person who agrees with you 80% of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20% traitor.” The 80% rule does not apply to a small sampling of votes, it applies to the hundreds of votes our Legislature considers every year.
Instead of allowing websites to tell you who a qualified candidate may be, I would encourage voters to go out, conduct their own research, and come to their own conclusions. After you have done your due diligence, I would encourage you to support the candidate or candidates whose values align most with your own.
I believe that most Republicans in Wyoming have similar values and goals. And those values and goals should be what we focus on to develop a stronger state and community. With all of the division in the world and our country, now is a time to come together, not tear ourselves apart.