I disagree with the GOP. But with the GOP, we can sit down and have civil conversations like adults. We can challenge each other without name-calling. We can both learn from each other. The GOP is NOT the enemy. The Adam Kinzingers of this world vote vastly different than we do, and we’ll always object, but we can work in a bipartisan manner and get things done with a dose of compromise on both sides. The GOP is not participating in The Big Lie or spreading conspiracy theories. They see the blatant bias and ridiculousness of the audit in Maricopa County. They are the ones who want to investigate January 6 — and there are more of them than are willing to speak out because they’re afraid of the next group in the Republican Party.

It’s the GQP we need to worry about. Because we can’t have civil discourse with somebody like Marjorie Taylor Greene. We can’t work with somebody like Michael Flynn, who suggests coups like in Myanmar. We can’t reason with people like Mike Lindell, who continues to claim without evidence that the military will reinstate Trump in August. The GQP doesn’t understand civility. All I’ll learn from them if I sit down with them is another far-fetched, extremist conspiracy theory. And they won’t be willing to listen to a word I say.

There is a vast difference between the GOP and the GQP.

The problem is, the Republican Party is no longer the GOP. It’s the GQP. They need to get their house in order and fix the predicament. And if Democrats can, we need to help them.

Somebody on Twitter proposed the Republican campaign could come down to Ron DeSantis and Paul Ryan. Personally, I don’t believe the current Republican Party is reasonable enough to elect somebody like Paul Ryan, and I think Ron DeSantis will decline in popularity, but let’s imagine those are the last two candidates left in the Republican Primary.

We have Ron DeSantis, a member of the GQP, a man who would function as Trump 2.0. Moreover, if we look at the legislation he’s signed into law in Florida, we see a radical politician who could utterly endanger America. Like Trump, he wouldn’t have much in the way of policy, but his extremist views could leave a perpetual stain on America.

Paul Ryan, who would represent the GOP, however, is intelligent and rational. Therefore, he would also have plenty of policy ideas. Ryan is quite far-right, but he does not spread falsehoods or conspiracy theories. In addition, he would be willing to work with the other side. Do I believe his policies would damage America? Unquestionably. And they would be more likely to be instated through legislation, not Executive Orders, like Ron DeSantis would probably sign, so they would be more challenging to undo. But these are policy disputes. So while I believe Paul Ryan would harm America, and I could never vote for him, he would not destroy the United States or its Constitution. Consequently, I would seriously recommend voting for him over a man like Ron DeSantis, who may very well come close to bringing an end to our Democratic Republic, just like his mentor, President Donald Trump.

We have to remember that when we speak badly about Republicans, we’re clear we’re not harshly judging everybody on the right. We don’t have to agree with those in the GOP. We don’t have to understand how they can still be members of the Republican Party with the GQP running the show. I know I can’t comprehend why anybody could still consider themselves a Republican anymore. (And it’s worth noting that GOP affiliation is down and now nine points lower than Democratic affiliation — the largest gap since 2012.) But there legitimately are members in the GOP that are just trying to get their Party back.

We need to clarify that we’re not talking about the logical, sound, and rational members of the Republican Party. We’re not talking about the GOP, the right-leaning politicians who are trying to do the right things for our country despite the consequences to their political careers. Sure, we condemn their policies and have many conflicts, but we can manage to work in a bipartisan manner on the significant pieces of legislation. The members of the GOP, even if we can’t grasp what they’re still doing there, aren’t the problem. Some of these people are our family and friends, and they probably feel like we’ve gathered them in with a group of personalities to whom they don’t even relate. Maybe we feel disappointed that they still consider themselves members of the Republican Party, especially after The Big Lie and the insurrection, but they probably feel betrayed that we associate them with the GQP.

We need to be clear we’re speaking about the GQP, the members who have transformed the Republican Party into the Party of QAnon, Neo-Nazis, militia members, and at the very worst, domestic terrorists. We’re discussing the members who called January 6 a regular tourist day at the Capitol, the members who incited January 6, the members who voted against certifying the election, the members who perpetuate The Big Lie, the members who encourage violence, the members who lie to their supporters’ faces, the members who call for division and hatred, and the members who spread conspiracy theories like dandelion seeds.

These are the members of the Republican Party that we take issue with. Unfortunately, I know some of these people are our family and friends, too. And that feels hopeless. (You’re not alone. Check out Reddit’s sub, QAnon Casualties, to find people who are going through the same thing as you.)

There is a difference between the two branches of the Republican Party. And we have to clarify it — if for no other reason than to save our relationships with our family and friends. You may be wondering to yourself why you should when they demonize you just as much for being liberal. They assume you’re the same as every other liberal, that you believe all of the buzzwords they’ve overheard and don’t completely grasp. I feel the same way often. 

However, a wise woman once said, “When they go low, we go high.” So let’s heed her words — even when we don’t want to.

Let’s hope the GQP hasn’t taken over forever…

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