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.
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!
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)
- He’s very bad on religious liberty, which is an essential requirement for any Baptist. Read these articles for more: Article 1 Article 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
- 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
- He wants to change the GOP Platform to allow more abortions. Article 1 Article 2
- I’m open to discussion in the comments. Thanks for reading!