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Why I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils

02 Nov

If you’re voting for the lesser of two evils candidate, I probably know your reason already for why you don’t want me, or anyone else, to vote third-party. What is it?

The reason you don’t want me to vote third party is because you know that if I were to, like you, vote for the lesser-of-two-evils candidate, then I would be making it more likely for that candidate to win (and beat the greater-of-two-evils candidate.) Therefore, you conclude, that me voting for the third party candidate is making it more likely for the greater-of-two-evils candidate to win. That’s your main reason. You would rather see the lesser-of-two-evils candidate win, and I’m making that less likely to happen.

Don’t think I disagree- in fact, I concede your point. I admit that my voting third party will in fact make it more likely for the greater-of-two-evils candidate to win this election. I do not however accept the false accusation that I am effectively voting for the greater-of-two-evils candidate. The effect on the election, should one of the two major party candidates win, is as if I had not voted at all. Neither of the two major part candidates will have any more votes than if I had not voted. This doesn’t mean I effectively didn’t vote, I’ll explain that later.

Let me address a few things. First, I don’t think any Christian should have “party loyalty.” The Bible doesn’t tell us to be Republican or Democrat. The Bible tells us moral positions to hold, and our vote, just like our character, should reflect those positions. If any political party is in major opposition to our Biblical positions, then we should not continue to vote for them just because we have always been, and always will be a “loyal Republican” or “Loyal Democrat.”

Secondly, there is not really any such thing as a “third party.” The term means voting for a party that is not one of the two current major parties. But realize that these two parties have not always been the same. At the beginning of our republic, neither the Republican nor Democrat party existed. Instead, as support shifts around, different parties take hold for a while and eventually may become one of the top parties. Any political party can be one of the top two, as long as enough people support it. After all, The Republican party itself was once a “third party”, but people voted for the republican candidate anyway, and guess what, eventually their candidate won a presidential election (Abraham Lincoln.) There is nothing that says such a thing cannot happen again today. In fact, it is getting increasingly more likely as opinions of the current major parties decline.

Third, let’s address the reasons one votes for any specific person.

  1. People vote for a lesser-of two-evils candidate primarily because you want the candidate to win the current election.

If this is the reason you are voting for a candidate, you will need to pick a candidate that has a chance to win the election. This basically will force you into voting only for one of the top two candidates (or rarely, top three, if there is a close three-way race, which has happened.)

  1. People vote third party, primarily because they cannot in good conscience vote for either of the major party candidates, and want to influence a major party to give you better candidates.

The major political parties are not stupid. They want votes, often will greater priority than even the positions they hold. If a large voting bloc votes for a third-party candidate on Election Day, then they will notice that. The next election, they will be more concerned with picking a candidate that will attract these voters. If all the Evangelicals voted for someone who was not Republican, when they normally vote Republican, then come the next primary season, Republican voters and pundits will be trying to bring the Evangelical vote back into the fold, and so they’ll hopefully strive to put up a candidate that is more “Evangelical”, that is, one who by their principles will attract the Evangelical Vote back.

 It’s pretty obvious at a certain point in the election cycle that there are only two (or occasionally three) candidates who legitimately have a shot at winning the election. From the widely-pushed views of those who always vote for the lesser-of-two-evils candidate, and never third party, you would think that they will always vote this way. If you are a lesser-of-two-evils voter, then, let me test you and see if you really will.

Will you vote for the lesser of two evils candidate if they are pro choice? (i.e. if both major party candidates are pro choice?) Are you morally OK with voting for someone who condones abortion? What about abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother? Is it ok to vote for someone who wants babies to be murdered simply because their daddy was a bad person? Are you morally OK with voting for someone who pushes the LGBT agenda? Are you OK with voting for someone who wants to do away with religious liberty in America? Now if you say yes to all of these, that is, you will consistently always vote for the lesser-of-two-evils candidate, even if they are pro LGBT, pro-choice, and want to do away with religious liberty, then I cannot help but conclude you really are not a person of principles. You are willing to vote America into a cliff simply because you will push wickedness because wickedness is electable. Voting for people who hold these policies is being complicit in them.

But if you say no, you apparently think there is some right time to vote third party (so-called.) When is that time?

I want to let you in on a little secret here. The goal of voting third party is to stop voting third party.

I don’t want to always vote for the losing candidate, nor does anyone else. We want to make our voices heard. Here’s how this works.

If my preferred major party puts up a candidate that I cannot in good conscience vote for, I will vote for a third party candidate that is closest to my views. If you do too, as well as other “conscience objectors”, the election may not go our way this time, but next election, the major party will likely put up a better candidate, and this time I won’t have an objection and I will vote for them. (If we don’t vote, or if we vote for the greater-of-two-evils candidate, we’ll influence the party in the wrong direction. To have this effect, we must let the major party know where we stand by voting for a third party candidate that represents our positions) My end result is going back to voting major party next election cycle.

Now what if instead of voting third party, I and others like me went ahead and voted for the lesser-of-two-evils candidate against my conscience? As a result, the lesser-of-two-evils may or may not win the election, but come next election cycle, the major party will see that I am on their side, regardless of their shortcomings. They don’t have to worry about me. They don’t need to move my direction to get more votes. SO what will they do? They will move their political positions the opposite way instead, to try to pull more votes from fence-sitters in the other party. As a result, if you vote for the lesser-of-two-evils every time, you effectively encourage your preferred major party to ignore your positions, and to become even more like the opposite party.

Here’s your big objection. I’ve heard it a lot. This is what you say “We can’t afford to lose this election! If we lose this one, our country will be in the tank! We’ll never get another chance! Now is our chance to save America!”

This is really just nothing more than political, partisan hype to try and keep you from upsetting the major-party apple cart. This is said at every election. Each year the lesser-of-two-evils candidate just gets worse, and no real change takes place. The foundations of American Republicanism are strong, the country isn’t going to become irreparably damaged by 4 years of the other party, but it will consistently move to more and more damaged and never toward getting fixed if your vote becomes something your party can take for granted.

Let’s bring this home

So how does this apply to the election at hand?

  1. If you vote for Donald Trump, you may or may not get him.

If he does become president, you will have at least four years of Trump, and you’ll see the party care more about Trump’s positions. If he doesn’t become president, the party will likely repudiate his positions, but that doesn’t mean they will move toward yours. Instead, they will go for the folks who didn’t vote for Trump. If they are mainly Liberals, the party will get more liberal to try to get votes back. Very likely, if you go ahead and vote for Trump, and he still loses, your vote will be taken for granted in the next election cycle. The party will get much more liberal, and perhaps drop from the platform anything about Traditional marriage and many other conservative principles.

 

  1. If you don’t vote for Trump, he may or may not still become President

If he doesn’t , and enough of us voted third party, next time around the Republicans will likely elect someone who can keep the “Evangelical vote” (or whomever it was that voted third party) The more who vote third party, the more likely it is that the candidates next year will try to appeal to our convictions and stand for the right things.

Another possibility is that the two major parties don’t listen to the voters. This has happened in the past. If that is the case, keep voting third party. More and more people will, there will be a shakeup, and we’ll end up with new major parties. This has happened before!

Isn’t this all just a pipe dream?
Nope! Not at all! This happens all the time. Third party candidates that draw the most support away from the republicans often get better representation in the future. This is why you see many republican candidates nowadays holding more libertarian views. They see how many people are voting third-party libertarian, and they are trying to bring them back in. Christians can do this too!

Finale

To close, I don’t advocate always voting third party, but I also think it is very irresponsible to always vote for the lesser of the two evils. We need to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Our vote is a wonderful privilege that we can use responsibly. We need to carefully consider how to best effect change.

Why I’m Not Voting for Trump

You may not personally feel Donald Trump is bad enough to not vote for him this year. I’m fine with that. I just hope you recognize the legitimacy of voting third-party and how it is a great tool. For your reference, here are some of the reasons I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump (and thereby push the party toward his positions)

  1. He’s very bad on religious liberty, which is an essential requirement for any Baptist. Read these articles for more: Article 1 Article 2
  2. He promotes bans on Muslims based on religion. Legally Restricting Muslims based on religion alone means that your beliefs are also in danger. Russel Moore says “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody.” I agree. Article 1 Article 2
  3. He’s pro LGBT. Did you know he waved an LGBT flag on the stage on October 31, three days ago? His actions speak louder than words. Article 1 Article 2
  4. He wants to change the GOP Platform to allow more abortions. Article 1 Article 2
  5. I’m open to discussion in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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10 Comments

Posted by on November 2, 2016 in Politics

 

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10 responses to “Why I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils

  1. Heather Lindsey

    November 2, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Great thoughts, honey!!! Thank you for sharing what the Lord has led us to do! I believe voting for those that honor God will bring blessing from the Lord 🙂 Love you! 💗

     
  2. Joseph Vos

    November 2, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Your article is very well thought out, sir and I not only respect but also agree with your opinion. This actually came at a very good time because I was really becoming more and more uncomfortable with the two major candidates. Voting for someone who still disagrees on VERY major Biblical issues is a violation of conscience for a saved believer, and if it is not, it should be.

    Thank you for your time in writing this!

    Vos

     
  3. Scott A.

    November 2, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Already voted for him today! 😊👍🏻

     
  4. Scott A.

    November 2, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Already voted for Tom Hoefling today! 👍🏻

     
  5. Autumn Davis

    November 3, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I’ve never heard anyone explain third party voting this way before. Excellent and convincing analysis. Thanks, Brother Lindsey!

     
  6. Matthew Lentz

    November 3, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for your words of wisdom, Josh. I had to do some wrestling with what I had to do this election and I’m glad to have read your article. I just wish everyone in the country could read this; it may help stop some of the siege mentality I see all too often. Thanks again.

     
  7. Krissy Carter

    November 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I agree with you, already filled out my ballad and went ahead and voted third party. This is an excellent article I just pray that people would realize that God is incontroll of this election, and as believers we need to stand up for the bible. Lesser than two evils doesn’t make it right especially if they go against the bible and everything God word stands for.

     
  8. Dan Bryant

    November 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I used to be a big believer in some of the points you made and believed strongly in voting 3rd party. I learned much over the last 15 years of really seeking to understand the truth of the system. One thing we must understand… Every candidate is a lesser of two evils. We are not living in a vacuum. We must think within the realm of real life. “Psychology” is a weapon used against us. We as people don’t struggle with “familiarity breeds contempt” as much as we struggle with “unfamiliarity breeds idealization”. In other words, if held up to the same light, any candidate would be disgusting. We should know this as Christians. I could go on and on about variables not being considered in the argument, but do not have time. Here is one thing to understand… Did you know that a huge part of campaign strategy is to villainize the other candidate so that most voters will drop out or vote 3rd party due to such psychologies as “moral conscience”? They actually understand that it is easier to get people away from the other candidate then to support their own! The goal is to strip the field back down to the base support of extreme party backers. It is these kind of truths that help us to better understand God’s command for us to be “wise and serpents”. Again, I could give about 5 other good examples and explanations that may shift your paradigm of voting 3rd party (and maybe not voting at all). However, one thing is abundantly clear… there is a much bigger evil between those who can actually win. Thanks for allowing my thoughts.

     
    • Joshua Lindsey

      November 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Dan,
      Thanks for your thought-out comment. Sorry, it caught in the spam filter and I did not see it until just now. I agree that every candidate has some level of evil, that is, no candidate is perfect. Yes, every one is the lesser of two evils. But my argument is not that one should never vote for the lesser of two evils, nor is my argument that one should not vote for a person because they are the lesser of two evils.

      My position is that there should be certain disqualifiers in each person’s conscience, which will cause them to not vote for someone. Do you have any such disqualifiers? Because if one does not, we may end up with two bad candidates, Take as an absurd hypothetical that we end up with Bernie Sanders (D) vs Hillary Clinton (R) as our General Election Candidates- would you vote for Hillary as the lesser of the two evils? If you would, then I would not argue with your position, you are consistent, but I would disagree. If, however, you would not vote for Hillary in that case, that means there is some point at which you will decide to vote third-party. My goal is to find out what that point is.

      I recognize for many people, Trump was not a person that brought them to that point, and I’m OK with that. Each of us has a different level of tolerance for differing position in our political choices. I’d be interested to see if you will always vote for the lesser of two evils, no matter their position, or if you think that it is sometimes legitimate to vote third party if neither of the top two candidates meets certain qualifiers. I’m actually not all too concerned what those qualifiers are for you, but just want to know if you think they exist at all.

      You state that “if held up to the same light, any candidate would be disgusting.” Now that is true to some extent, to the extent that you and I are disgusting, that we are all sinners, etc. But we can’t take this to the extreme, that since we’re all sinners, no political choice is any better than another. I know you don’t believe that, I tend to think you believe Trump is better than Hillary. There are certain things, form my vantage point, which are disqualifying.
      And they may be relative too. I’m a realist also. I don’t want to push the political parties the wrong direction when there are plenty in the party who would take it the right direction. If I was in a country where Christians made 5% of the electorate, such as Pakistan, then yes, there would be a good time to vote lesser of the two evils. But when Christians are in a position where they can make a difference, and choose not to, then they have neglected their duty.

      You stated “Did you know that a huge part of campaign strategy is to villainize the other candidate so that most voters will drop out or vote 3rd party due to such psychologies as “moral conscience”?”
      I do know that is the case. They also intentionally try to prop up candidates that they think will turn off the base of the other party. There are a lot of complexities. Obviously one should not listen to politicians and pundits and let others determine their standards of morality. But as well, just because there are people with less than pure motives who try to play with our standards of morality does not mean we should choose to not have such standards. That would be playing right into the hands of one’s own preferred political party, which is “Get them to vote for us no matter what!” There were a lot of people who were very upset when Ted Cruz said to “Vote your conscience” at the Republican National Convention. Why? Because the Republican Party doesn’t care about conscience. They care about winning. Be aware there are political tricks each way.

      I would categorize my strategies as being “Wise as serpents” also. It is wise to be informed about the political situation, and make use of one’s vote in a wise way. If any group’s vote is considered to be a given for their political party, then there is no need to give them any more than the minimum to keep them on board. If the Republicans know you’ll vote for their candidate every time, then they will get more liberal each time to try and get more Democrat voters. After all, they want to win.
      As my article states, The goal is not to vote third party every time. That is not wise. The goal is to influence the political system for good as much as possible. For some, that may mean to vote Trump this time, but reject some other candidate down the road. For others, we’ve decided to not go with Trump this time. I don’t want my vote to be taken for granted, and Christians are getting near that point.

      I also agree that there is “a much bigger evil between” the two major party candidates, but my view is a little more long term. As an absurd illustration, The Christians in the USA could if we wanted, try to stage a coup and impose our views on the country. Abortion would be stopped, People would have to work to eat, etc. But the problem is that it would be short-term and that the pushback would cause much bigger problems (Plus it is a decidedly un-democratic and un-constitutional way to behave) Now that is an absurd illustration, but in that view, we’re actually tolerating abortion when we could stop it, because we have a longer-term view, that it is good to live in a country with the rule of law, and we’ll do better by using the political process to see our views enacted.
      My position is similar. I’m willing to let there be temporary evils, I am willing to let a person I don’t want to be president take the office, if it will mean that in the long term it will bring about an opportunity for a president who will pull the country back in a better direction.
      God could, if he desired, step in and stop evil, but he does not. There are places even for a perfectly holy, good and just God to allow evil. I think that there are also times when we as Christians may have to suffer some evil because we’ll refuse to endorse other evils.

      But I do understand where you stand Dan. There’s some things as mentioned above I would like to see you clarify. I know our positions are different, but it wouldn’t be right to say that they are because one or the other of us has not thought through where their arguments lead or because there’s an error in our logic. I think it comes down more to where we view the position of our country, our tolerance for candidates who oppose our own views, and our difference in long vs short term goals. Because we don’t know the future, neither of our views can guarantee a good outcome. But they both have valid enough logical structure that we have justification (in a philosophical sense) to hold them.

      Thanks for commenting. I always appreciate positive dialog.
      Joshua

       
    • Joshua Lindsey

      November 9, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      One more thing Dan, is that I have seen very good people have good, reasoned out arguments on why to support Trump. I think they have good points. I personally, for the reasons stated here, would not vote for him in this election, but I certainly respect the opposite position, and think someone could completely rationally come to the decision to vote for Trump. I think it is a good case study in personal soul liberty. Kent Brandenburg, who I agree with on nearly everything, and certainly respect, is pro-trump. You can see his articles here: http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/

      I think if anyone has convincing articles for the Pro-Trump camp, he is the one. And I respect that My articles and positions are not to say that nobody should vote Trump, but to explain better why I did not, and why I think it is a defensible and logical point to vote third party some of the time.

      God bless,
      Joshua

       

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