What to Do about the Dilemma of Voting for the “Less Bad” Candidate vs. the 3rd party “Protest Vote”
1 – I would never myself, nor ask someone else, to violate their core principles. Some things are absolute, and we cannot support things that are outright evil. For many, the issue that meets this criterion is abortion. I will never vote for someone who is so pro-abortion that they promote using my tax dollars to kill babies. If both candidates were this extreme, then I would have to cast a 3rd party protest vote, even though I knew that one of these bad politicians would then become my “representative” in government. But there are very few issues that meet this absolute test, and very few cases when both candidates are equally bad on that issue. Sometimes you have to vote for someone who is squishy moderate on your issue to prevent the more extreme candidate from obtaining power.
2 – On the sum of all of the other issues, there is a sliding scale between the Conservative / Constitutional position and the Liberal / Socialist position. Requiring a candidate to agree with me 99% of the time is a losing proposition. A candidate that is more conservative than 80% of the voters will always lose to the opponent that appeals to the majority of that 80%. Voting for a “pure” candidate who only appeals to 20% of the public is a recipe for failure. So refusing to vote for a politician who disagrees with you 30% of the time will likely leave you with a “representative” who disagrees with you 70% of the time. You are worse off, and the country continues to slouch toward socialism.
Note: This is an over-simplification. The scale between conservative and socialist is not linear, different issues are multi-dimensional, and facts/opinions/emotions/priorities complicate the equation. But the point remains valid. Sometimes you have to vote for the “less bad” candidate who is electable to prevent the worse choice.
3 – This does NOT mean that we must always settle for squishy-moderate representatives that sell out on our principles. We want to create a future where conservative candidates are not only electable, but are available to run in the first place. That requires a long-term strategy that will eventually give you better short-term choices in the voting booth. There are three ways to do this:
a) The short game: ACCOUNTABILITY:
In the short term, you have to work with what you’ve got. There are times and locations where you may have to vote for the “less bad” politician. You may even lose an election and have the “very bad” representative. That does not mean you give up and start stocking beans and rice in your cave. Call and write your representative to let them know when they pass bills that are good or bad. Attend town hall meetings and challenge their thinking on upcoming bills. Write letters to the editors of your local paper. Don’t forget the Executive Branch, which also needs to be held accountable. Mayor, Governor, perhaps Secretary of HHS or whatever department.
Even conservatives elected to office have a reputation for “drinking the kool-aid” and straying from the principles that got them elected. They need to be held accountable, and more importantly, supported when they stand up to the entrenched interests to defend our values. If they know we have their back when things are difficult, they will be better able to stand strong.
b) The medium game: POLITICS:
Are you frustrated at how often we have to vote for the “less bad” candidate? Why are there so many mealy-mouthed unprincipled representatives in office, even those that call themselves “Conservative”? Does “The Establishment” seem to hold sway over who “they” will allow onto the ballot? The answer lies in taking an active role in the Republican Party, so that we can restore the party to its conservative roots. The local party is extremely influential in poorly-attended local primary races, such that the party-sponsored candidate usually wins (sometimes unopposed). You can become the “they” that promotes party-approved candidates. I heartily recommend “The Precinct Project” (http://precinctproject.us/ ) that explains this better than I ever could, and provides practical advice on how to get involved.
Note that the local County, City or State elections are often the “farm team” where individuals are tested and trained for higher office. As you work with, and promote, conservatives at this level, they develop the skills and experience to be available for higher office. Then you will not only know the future candidate personally, but will have an enthusiastic choice in that future election. Perhaps you could even be that choice?
c) The long game: CULTURE.
Politicians reflect the people they represent; otherwise, they could not get elected. Ultimately, to obtain representatives and government that is consistently conservative, the CULTURE of the country must be moved toward a conservative world view. That requires involvement in cultural institutions that shape the opinions of the wider society, and future generations. I could name some national organizations I support, but the more important institutions are the local community groups that are part of the day-to-day life in your area. Churches, social clubs, sports teams and gathering spots where people interact. Maybe even become a “community organizer” to assemble like-minded neighbors. These are the places where peoples’ opinions and worldviews are shaped, and therefore can be challenged to consider conservative ideals. And of course involvement in schools are important to shape the next generation of future conservatives. Our current schools are often hotbeds of mushy liberal thinking, and it requires the active involvement of parents and communities to counteract the education establishment. Not to be forgotten are the mass-media forums that hold sway over what much of the country learns or thinks about. Conservatives should be involved in news reporting, movie production, TV, music, radio and the Arts. Even the Internet. Many of these are hostile platforms for conservative ideas, but a diligent effort can make a significant difference in what people see and think about every day. These are the leverage points that move a culture, over time, and we must be involved to use them to move our Country toward true ideals.
This is just a brief overview of what you can do to make a difference. What MUST be done in order to save our country.
As Thomas Paine said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”