Arlene Violet: Where did my Republican Party go?

By Arlene Violet
Posted 5/21/21

I don’t like Congressional Republican Liz Cheney. She is a bit too conservative for my liking, having voted 86 percent of the time in line with Trump’s dastardly policies. She threw her …

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Arlene Violet: Where did my Republican Party go?


I don’t like Congressional Republican Liz Cheney. She is a bit too conservative for my liking, having voted 86 percent of the time in line with Trump’s dastardly policies. She threw her gay sister under the bus by opposing civil rights for same sex couples. In short, she just had too much of her father’s influence in her.

Yet, I salute her for standing her ground. The Congressional Republicans proved themselves gutless wonders. As a lifelong Republican with a family legacy of Republican office holders and runners, it pains me to see that the Republican Party has lost its soul.

Troubling for the country are the Republican representatives who punished Representative Cheney for telling the truth. Thinking only of their political survival, they aped the tactics of totalitarians by delegitimizing the election. There is not a shred of evidence of widespread voter fraud. Dozens of courts repudiated the fantastical assertions of a stolen election. Yet, in order to pander to the Loser-In-Chief and buttress their respective holds on power, they perpetuated the Big Lie. These Republicans whom I consider RINOs promoted false conspiracy theories which undermined our democracy whose very essence is that when you lose, you make way for the next administration. Instead, the Republicans seem hell-bent on changing the rules so they stay in power.

Typically, when a party was shown the door after an election, they would think about their platform and what ideas might change that brought about their defeat. Instead, Republicans are prospectively rigging elections themselves by trying to keep people from voting. Exhibit Number 1 is the limiting of drop boxes in Georgia’s black neighborhoods. Exhibit Number 2 is the surrender of election oversight to Republican-dominated state legislatures, making it easier for politicians to reject an election result. I could just imagine what the reaction would be if Rhode Island’s democrat-controlled legislature were given the power to thumbs up or thumbs down elections statewide or local.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times the writer noted that it would have been unfathomable a few years ago to see a major party taking these preemptive steps to overturn the outcome of a future election. This trajectory coupled with the falsehoods they baptized and the ouster of a truth teller portends a troublesome future for this country.

The moral crisis now for Republicans is whether they are willing to criticize the Republican Party for the sake of democracy. Some were so compromised that they minimized the attack on the Capitol. The example of the Republican Caucus of U.S. House is dangerously anti-democratic.

I speak up in protest of this undermining of our republic. I know some Republicans will excoriate me and call me a RINO. I stand proudly with the tradition of my father who was the only Republican in Providence re-elected time and time again as an alderman. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my brother who ran for town council as a Republican. I was proud to run as a Republican for attorney general with such Republican luminaries as Lila Sapinsley, Susan Farmer, Claudine Schneider, Ron Machtley, Lincoln Almond, etc. Like them, I believe that truth mattered even if it led to a defeat in office.
Is this kind of Republican still around?

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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