Time To End The RINOs

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/03/19/time-to-end-the-rinos/

“A house divided amongst itself cannot stand” -Abraham Lincoln

My first run for public office came in 2010—an ill-fated race for the Republican nomination for state representative. I lost to Korey Welch handily, not even winning a single precinct in the Fifth Plymouth District. Now many people have lost primaries before. But usually, the two candidates don’t become friends. And yet Korey and I have been friends for the last ten plus years and counting.

Fast forward to 2014. My dad, Lou Valanzola, seeks the Republican nomination for state representative in the same district. He lost to then-Norwell Selectman David DeCoste by only a handful of votes. We didn’t wait long to support the nominee—just as we did four years prior in my run—and successfully united to defeat a Democrat State Representative whose family held the seat for nearly 20 years.

Far too often primaries end with the party divided with no coalescing around the nominee. Of course, we all want to win. In my case, it began a journey that has now led to my position as Plymouth County Commissioner. I have, in one capacity or another, served in every campaign Rep. David DeCoste (R-Norwell) has had since his election in 2014—up to and including campaign manager in 2016 and 2018. We accomplished our goal of electing a Republican State Representative for the first time since the 1970s. 

Unity is the only way forward, and the only way the GOP can have a prayer of surviving and reviving in Massachusetts. When I was growing up, I remember putting C-SPAN on and always paying attention to anyone speaking who had an (R) next to their name. I never for a moment contemplated if they were conservative or moderate, or “establishment”. I knew they were a Republican, and therefore I was inherently predisposed to agree with them at least in some form or another. 

We need to stop attempting to dwindle our ranks. We can’t divide the party in half and still think we can beat Democrats. Former President Donald Trump alluded to this during his speech at CPAC. Ultimately, politics and elections come down to simple math: you need to get more votes than the other person. Shutting out close to 50% of the people within your party will not get you closer to defeating the Democrats; it will actually push you further away.

Never once have I ever uttered the word RINO—Republican In Name Only. To me, it serves no purpose and does nothing to advance our cause of winning elections and demonstrating to our communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation that Republican ideals are common sense solutions that work. Do I agree in principle with every Republican? Absolutely not. And do we need to hold each other accountable so we can be the very best party and candidates we can be? Of course. But I have seen both sides—conservative and establishment—working way too hard at purging the GOP of those who they feel do not meet their ideological litmus test. And in case you haven’t noticed, while we are busy fighting intra-party wars, the Democrats are racking up victory after victory after victory. It needs to end. The time for unity is now.

In this age of cancel culture, the irony isn’t lost on me that those who are most comfortable throwing the term RINO around are also the ones vehemently opposed to cancel culture. Yet they are working constantly at trying to cancel voices within the party they don’t agree with. 

We cannot win if we are constantly fighting these battles. I have always prided myself on working together with all Republicans to advance our causes. We need to remember we have much more in common than we think, and the areas we disagree in do not always need to be deal breakers. I have been very enriched by the friendships I have formed from both my and my dad’s run for office. I occasionally think about how different my life would be if I chose to take the usual tact most defeated primary candidates do. 

2022 will be a very promising year for Republicans both here and nationally. President Joe Biden’s policies are already costing hard-working families at the pump and in the supermarket. But we won’t be able to advance our causes and win elections if we are constantly calling each other RINOs. Unite, win, and let’s take our state back.

Jared L. Valanzola, a Rockland resident, is a Plymouth County Commissioner. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Plymouth County Republican Club, Chairman of the Rockland Republican Town Committee, Massachusetts Young Republicans National Committeeman, and host of The JV Team with Jared Valanzola from 6:15 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays on 95.9 WATD-FM