Must a Christian Vote?

When Christians look at Donald Trump, they are not happy. But many are now asking, wouldn’t it be better to support Trump so we can block Hillary Clinton, who is even worse?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about that question. Indeed, Hillary probably is a worse person than Donald Trump. And her ideology is certainly worse. Because she has an ideology. But is one candidate more dangerous to the country than the other? If so, why?

To even ask such a question is to invite derision.

“How can you even ask such a question? Hillary Clinton must never be president of the United States!” I agree. But is Donald actually going to be better for the country?

Say somebody did not already know that Hillary was going to do more harm to our country than Donald… how would you convince them of it?

Don’t be offended that someone would ask the question.

That’s the whole point of this election, right? I think Hillary is an extremely evil person. I would hate to see her in leadership. There are some other facts we need to consider, though:

1) We are not asking who is a worse person. Should we not ask instead, who is more dangerous to the USA?

2) Shouldn’t we consider the likelihood of a congressional gridlock if Hillary is elected? That wouldn’t happen if Donald were the president. He’d have free reign. Whereas Hillary would have a failed presidency, Donald might succeed in doing many things he should not do.

3) The country is going to get worse under either candidate. Which ideology is going to have to bear the blame for it?

4) If Republicans show that they are willing to support Trump, a known authoritarian, liberal demagogue, should we expect to get anything better in our next Republican candidate?

5) At some point wouldn’t it be better to be the party of principle and to loose, rather than to become the party that is “not as bad” but actually ends up bringing all the bad policies into reality?

6) Is there reason to believe Donald would save babies from being aborted? Is there reason to believe he would appoint a strongly conservative Supreme Court justice who could help overturn Roe v Wade?

Now, notice, I’m not sure myself about all the above questions. I’m not judging anyone who says “Reject Hillary at all costs.” Perhaps they are right. I simply bring up the above points for consideration.

It’s important to note that this is not the first time a populist base has been drawn to an unstable fascist in order to reject a socialist establishment.

There is a reasonable argument that conservatives should take what they can and be happy, accepting the reality that in politics you never get all that you want.

But there is also a reasonable argument that Trump is so unacceptable as a candidate that to vote for him would be to sacrifice too many of the principles that are worth standing for. Some then, would prefer to lose and stand for something, rather than to win and stand for nothing (except “winning”).

Each must take a hard look to determine his choice. But let those who say “compromise—vote for Trump” be willing to offer an explanation of the morality of that decision.

What level of a debauchery and tyranny would a candidate need to display before you would stop playing the game of “at least he’s better than the opposition candidate”?

Equally, those who say, “I would rather lose and yet stand for something” must answer a question: How far would you be willing to apply such a position? Since politics does involve compromise, we must be willing at some point to choose from the options available rather than the options we could wish for.

I fall into this latter group, the group who would who sometimes be willing to lose, yet to stand for something. How far from my own ideals am I willing to compromise before saying no?

Let me tell you my method.

First, I ask whether it would be immoral to support a candidate. If it is immoral, then it is outside of consideration. You have to start at morality. Otherwise you will end up picking the “most electable” candidate, which means only “the candidate everyone thinks everyone wants” which means “I don’t have a standard.”

Would it be immoral to vote for a supporter of abortion? I think so. Hillary is outside of consideration. I would not even consider giving her a protest vote for the sake of keeping Donald out. There is a moral difference between voting for one candidate who is vocally pro-abortion and another who is weakly pro-life. That difference is so large that I cannot bridge it. For that reason alone I would never vote for Hillary.

Let’s look at Donald. Would it be immoral to vote for an unstable serial liar who knows nothing about the constitution or individual rights? I think so. Likely as he is to become a tyrant, Donald is also outside of consideration.

Just think of the difference it would have made, had Weimar Germany refused to “make a deal” to “make Germany great again.”

Would it be immoral to withhold one’s vote in the general election? No. It would be morally acceptable. To not vote is, if done intentionally, to say that one finds both candidates morally unacceptable. That is, though there may be a difference between the candidates, and one may be potentially worse than the other, the voter refuses to participate. He refuses to give the impression of accepting either of the immoral options.

Such a choice sends a clear message to future politicians and to the political parties: Voters will not allow you to cross certain boundaries of decency. They will simply refuse to vote. Therefore, if you want to win, you must offer a candidate who is acceptable to your constituency—not merely one who is the “lesser of two evils.”

“Throwing away your vote?”

The same reasoning applies to those who cast protest votes or vote for independent candidates. While many protest that this practice is “throwing away your vote,” they fail to see that this is the very point. To throw away one’s vote can be an intentional, moral decision.

If Donald and Hillary face each other in the general election, I will not be voting for either one. I will write-in the name of a candidate whom I can morally accept. Or I will write George Washington.

I don’t judge those who, holding similar convictions to me, end up voting differently out of desperation. We are all desperate. The above writings represent my best thinking on these issues to this time, and they represent a combination of tactical and moral conclusions which are far from self-evident.

Not convinced?

It may be on the grounds that you don’t think Donald is as bad as I do, so he has not crossed that moral line for you. Or you may reject my method of bringing in the moral calculus as a prerequisite.

On this much we can agree: The way we choose to vote (or not vote) is a moral decision. It speaks to what kind of people we are, on the deepest level.

I believe all moral decisions should be made in reference to the needs of man’s own life. When I refuse to vote for Donald or Hillary it will be not because I am stomping my feet and rejecting the facts because I cannot have my ideal. Rather, I will be accepting reality.

I accept the reality that a Republican party that puts forward a Donald Trump is no longer a party that I can trust to make the world safe for me to live in. I accept the fact that, in not voting, I am leaving notice to future Republicans that morality matters. It is possible to lose by being too centrist. I accept the fact that my son and daughter will one day ask how I voted.

They will want to know why. I will have a reason. Will you?

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