The world of politics is a game. More accurately, it’s a series of games played between Congress and the White House, between DC and the states, and most horribly between the Republicans and Democrats. It’s horrible because the two-party system is an abomination of what the founders intended. They general opposed parties in general and a two-party system in particular because they knew what would come from it. We’re experiencing that today.
Part of the game is winning or maintaining majorities in the House and Senate. Representatives and Senators are forced to balance between what they need to do to get reelected and what the party needs to push forward their agenda. The most glaring example of this attempt at balance was in play today as the House voted on the tax bill. Twelve Republicans voted against the bill and are now being called traitors by many in the GOP. They aren’t traitors. They were doing what they thought they needed to do in order to survive the midterm elections.
Matthew K Burke over at Politistick is a good Christian conservative. He noted that 12 Republicans didn’t vote for the bill. Here’s his list:
- Dana Rohrabacher of California
- Darrell Issa of California
- Walter B. Jones of North Carolina
- Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey
- Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey
- Leonard Lance of New Jersey
- Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey
- Lee Zeldin of New York
- Peter King of New York
- Dan Donovan of New York
- John J. Faso of New York
- Elise Stefanik of New York
Are these representatives traitors to the Republican cause or President Trump’s agenda? No. They are representatives in states whose citizens will be impacted negatively by the tax cuts. 80% of taxpayers will benefit from the cuts, but those in high-tax states such as the ones where the 12 Republicans voted against the bill will likely end up paying a little more come tax time. This is why they needed to vote against the bill. For them to keep their seats and help the GOP keep its majority, they needed to be on record against the bill that would hurt their constituents.
If the vote was close, I would suspect some of them would have voted for the bill. It wasn’t. The bill passed 227-203 with no Democrats voting for it.
We shouldn’t vilify these Representatives as traitors. It’s actually very likely they coordinated with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to make sure their votes wouldn’t be needed to make the bill pass. I’m not suggesting these representatives are good (Peter King is exceptionally heinous) but their vote on the tax bill does not make them Democrats.
Politicians do what they have to do in order to survive. The tax bill passed the House with room to spare, so the representatives in blue states who voted against it weren’t required to sacrifice themselves in order to have it go through. By voting against it, they’re trying to preserve the GOP’s majority. We can vilify them for many reasons, but voting against the tax bill isn’t one of them.