** FILE ** In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, the rising sun casts voters’ shadows as they wait in line to vote at a polling place at Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles’ Venice district. Enthusiasm among blacks and Democrats for Barack Obama’s candidacy pushed voter turnout in this year’s elections to the highest level in 40 years. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
For many of you who may know or follow him, you are probably not going to like it too much when I say I respect Tom Nichols. But I do.
Unlike, say, Max Boot or Jen Rubin, Nichols is someone who truly believes he is doing the right thing for his country. He is not saying what words he needs to say in order to get people to like him. He is a longtime true conservative, and the era of Trump is simply one he feels is bad for the country. So, I respect his idealism, even if I disagree with his methods.
Why do I disagree?
Nichols, and others like him, believe that the only way to keep Trump in “check” is to vote straight Democrat down the ticket. The Republican Party must be “punished” for electing the man. To an extent, I get that. Here at RedState, after all, we have long fought against the idea of party loyalty. What made Ben Domenech, Erick Erickson, Leon Wolf, Caleb Howe, and the others who came long before me such champions for conservatism is that they fought against Democrat and Republican alike to advance the cause of conservatism.
But, that is exactly why I cannot vote for a Democrat on Tuesday. There is not a single Democrat in any race I can vote in who would advance my core beliefs.
Everyone will say – and to an extent, correctly so – that Tuesday is a “referendum” on Donald Trump. Does America accept him, or does America reject him? What makes this so tough is that it can absolutely go either way, or worse yet, split down the middle. What we get in that scenario is precisely zero answers and one thousand percent more drama.
The thing is, though, that Nichols and those who say the same things he says are contradicting themselves when they say to vote Democratic on Tuesday. Many of the people who go after the Republican Party like to say that the GOP is putting “party over country.” In essence, then, voting all Democratic is doing the same. The idea of a party is more important to them than the ideas that initially drew us to one party or another.
I have rejected the idea of voting for one party over another because I don’t trust a single party to always be right. But my beliefs and my ideals are, nine times out of ten, embodied by candidates belonging to that party.
So, to whoever is reading this right now, I challenge you to do something you may be unfamiliar with doing: I ask you to vote not for someone or against another. I ask you to vote for ideas. I ask you to vote for what represents who you are as an American voter.
It is important that we as Americans continue to vote for or against ideas, rather than for or against people. To do the latter is to continue the unhealthy behavior we’ve been taking part in for so long. It isn’t healthy to make your choices based on how distasteful – or worse – you find Donald Trump. It isn’t healthy to do the same in voting against a Democrat because they are a Democrat.
I will vote Tuesday for people who I feel truly believe in limited government, the right to life, reducing spending (a fight we must continue to bring to even the Republicans in control of whatever chamber they will hold after Tuesday), religious liberty, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of speech, and the basics of conservatism.
That is who – or rather, what – you should vote for on Tuesday. Vote for ideas. Vote for what you truly hold dear, what you expect to get from your representatives. Make us healthy again.