Who Should Christians Vote For? A 3 Part Series

To be honest, before this election cycle I hadn’t really looked very hard at what the Bible says about voting. I can defend positions on various political issues based on scripture, but I hadn’t searched the text on voting and qualifications for candidates. But with prominent theologians and average Christians alike weighing on on why we should or shouldn’t vote for particular candidates, I was finally motivated to see what the Bible says.

Before I begin, know that I am looking for the truth. Like many, I’m wrestling through a horrible choice in the 2016 election. I have been a follower of Jesus Christ since 1982. I graduated from a conservative Baptist seminary. I know the difference between eisegesis  and exegesis. The last thing I want to do it “proof text” my way through this. Let me be the first to tell you, I could be wrong. I have friends that I respect who will disagree with me. Obviously, I believe I’m right, but I could be wrong. Instead of just accepting or rejecting my opinions, I encourage you to do your own study on the biblical passages I have discussed in this series of posts.

Christians find ourselves once again faced with voting for the lesser of two evils in the presidential election. I won’t go through each candidate’s litany of faults and reasons they are not fit to be president. Others have done that thoroughly. Suffice it to say that I approach these two candidates with the understanding that both lack the character I want in a leader. I disagree with many positions held by both candidates. I believe the character of both candidates disqualify them from leading our nation. I know that both will definitely implement policies I think are very wrong for our nation. Just like every previous presidential election, the GOP hopeful/faithful say I must support their candidate because the Democrat might get elected. She would ruin the Supreme Court, the 1st and 2nd Amendments, and basically destroy the nation. Hillary Clinton will be a disaster for conservative ideals.

I don’t dispute that Clinton would be a terrible president. Therefore, should I vote for the slightly better of the two very bad choices?

I freely admit that in previous elections I did just that. I pulled the lever for whoever the Right said I should. I ignored the primaries and assumed that the Republicans would always nominate someone that was decent. I don’t think anyone, Republican or Democrat, was fully prepared for just how bad both nominees would be this year. Faced with these two choices I have to look deeper. Must I vote for one of them to stop the greater evil? Is there a line that can be crossed where neither candidate should get my vote?

I believe that voting for the lesser of two evils is a pragmatic approach to the situation. Faced with hard circumstances, we make the best of them to keep something worse from happening. I get that approach. I also understand that since people are flawed, no candidate will be perfect. I see that in a sense, every election is a choice between two bad people, because we are all sinners.

But is there a line that Christians should not cross? What if neither candidate meets even the minimal biblical standard for a civil authority? It’s not a high bar. Based on what I’ve found a candidate should generally be God-fearing, trustworthy, respected, honest, wise and competent (see Part 1). This is certainly not a list “only Jesus” could equal.

So, approaching the Bible for help, I looked for incidents of civil authority being selected from between two “evils”  (Part 2) and I looked at incidents of pragmatism. (Part 3) Understand that looking at history, these stories are not prescriptive, but descriptive. I want to see what lessons we can learn from biblical examples.

The posts below are not exhaustive, but are representative. They reflect what I believe scripture teaches about these things. I would love to see other passages that support or refute my understanding.

The biblical standard for civil authority that I can find is not very high. Many candidates for office have exceeded it. Some of the people running for President right now exceed it. But not the two main party candidates.

The examples of choosing between two evils in the Bible did not end well. I’ve had conversations with people who acknowledge that choosing an evil isn’t ideal, but fall back on issues. They are afraid of whatever horrible end the Right has said will come if we don’t support their candidate. Have you ever noticed that every single election the fate of the free world hangs in the balance?  We are always told that we just have to choose the lesser evil one more time, next time we can find someone who we actually support.

It’s the pragmatic thing to do. I see that. Yet, every single example of someone being pragmatic from biblical history ends badly. Every example of someone doing what they believe God wants instead of the pragmatic choice ends up glorifying God.

Again, these are descriptive passages, not prescriptive. This is not what you are commanded to do, but you can learn from these examples. Pragmatism itself isn’t bad. Violating God’s principles is.

So, who should you and I vote for?

This election is heated. People who don’t fall right in line on the Right, and agree to vote for Donald Trump, agree to vote for the lesser of two evils, have been called un American, holier-than-thou, and pharisaical. I’ve been told I’m asking too much of a candidate. I’ve been told I am going to elect Clinton. I’ve been asked how I can face my children knowing I didn’t do everything I could to stop Clinton.

I have friends who love Trump. They have been big supporters since the primary. They have looked at his record and character, and decided that he represents their values. He is who they want to lead our country. I disagree with their decision, but applaud them for finding a candidate they can support.

I have friends who have chosen the lesser of two evils approach, they hate to vote for Trump, but hate to vote for Clinton even more. They are essentially voting out of fear. I understand this decision. But that’s not something I can do.

I also have friends who believe that, while they greatly dislike the Republican nominee, they must support a Republican platform that more closely matches what they value than the Democrat platform. So they will vote for the GOP while wishing the nominee was someone else. A minor distinction, but one that’s important to them.

I have friends who are voting for Clinton for many of the same kinds of reasons people are choosing Trump.

If you ask me who to vote for, I will tell you this: Pray. Find candidates that meet the minimum standard. Then evaluate their values and positions on issues that are important to you. And vote for the one that best fits your values. If that’s Trump, great. Hillary? Good for you. Someone else, go for it! That’s the beauty of our system. We each decide how to use our own vote.

What I will not do is take seriously any suggestion that it is my duty as a Christian to vote for the lesser of two evils. I can find no scriptural backing for this position. I understand why people make this decision, but it is not a something I have done. Nor is it a biblical imperative for me to do so. In fact, the evidence I have found suggests that a pragmatic decision that goes against your values is not what you should do. I would welcome biblical examples I have missed that show the lesser of two evils or pragmatic choices in a positive light.

What if the worse evil gets elected because you or I voted for a 3rd party? What if it’s Nader/2000 in Florida all over again? Do you believe that God is sovereign? If you really believe that, then you know that He has a plan. I don’t know what that plan is, but I can promise you it isn’t for you to violate your values with a pragmatic choice.

What if now, in this horrible election, believers in American said they wouldn’t listen to the narratives from the Right or the Left. Starting right now they would find candidates who reflect what they value. And only vote for those people. They refused to be bullied into voting for a lesser of two evils. What if on the local, state and federal level we all voted for people, and didn’t choose the lesser evil? What would our country look like in a few years?

What are Biblical Examples of Being Pragmatic? Part 3 of Who Should Christians Vote For?

Part 3 of Who Should Christians Vote For?

Voting for the lesser of two evils is a very pragmatic approach to an election. Basically, you evaluate the situation based on circumstances and make a decision. At this point a 3rd party candidate is a long shot to win anything. So, if you don’t want the worse evil candidate to win, vote for the slightly less evil candidate.

Pragmatism is something we use every day. Where will you eat? What will you wear? Tons of mundane decisions are made all the time based on pragmatic choices. There are times when a pragmatic choice is good. In fact, the only time a pragmatic choice wouldn’t be a good choice is if it violates what you know to be true, what you know God wants from you.

I went searching for examples of pragmatism in the Bible. Positive or negative. People that were pragmatic, and people who weren’t. I’m sure I missed some, but here’s a list of what I found:

Old Testament:

  • Abraham had his wife pose as his sister: Genesis 20. It was pragmatic for Abraham (who feared for his life) to say Sarah was his sister, but God had other plans.
  • Israel spying out the Promised Land: Numbers 13,14. It was pragmatic to refuse to enter the Promised Land. God kept Israel in the wilderness until an entire generation died.
  • Israel defeats Jericho: Joshua 6. A pragmatic person would say marching around a city would have little effect on defeating it.
  • Moses’ mom did not kill him: Exodus 2. It wasn’t pragmatic to hide a male infant. But Israel was ultimately freed because of her actions.
  • Hosea didn’t divorce Gomer: Hosea 3. A pragmatic Hosea would divorce a woman who returned to prostitution. But God used his love as a symbol for his relationship with Israel.
  • Jeremiah kept preaching: Jeremiah 25. A pragmatic prophet would stop preaching after a few years with no results, but Jeremiah kept at it for 23 years.
  • Daniel in the lion’s den. Daniel 6. A pragmatic Daniel wouldn’t have ended up in the Lion’s Den.
  • Fiery Furnace: Daniel 3. A pragmatic Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego wouldn’t have ended up in the fiery furnace.
  • Solomon Takes wives: 1 Kings 11. The wisest man on earth decided it was pragmatic to marry and take concubines from other nations, and he ended up worshipping false gods

New Testament

  • Ananias and Saul: Acts 9. It would have been pragmatic for Ananias to stay away from a renowned killer of Christians. But then he wouldn’t have been there to begin discipling a man who would write half the New Testament.
  • Jerusalem Council: Acts 15. It would have been pragmatic to give in to the Jewish believers and make Gentile believers follow Jewish customs.
  • Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:12. Pragmatism says that older people know more than younger ones.
  • Gamaliel: Acts 5. Gamaliel gave some very bad pragmatic advice.

The only positive reference to anything pragmatic comes in 1 Corinthians 8. Although believers might have the freedom to do something, we should pragmatically choose not to do it if we might cause others to stumble, and sin.

Generally, pragmatism is not a good thing in the Bible. Many, many times God asks us to do things that just don’t make sense based on circumstances. I’ve seen it in my life. I’ve seen it in other’s lives. I’ve seen it time and again in the Bible.

Some of the examples above are specific to a particular command from God. Normally you wouldn’t expect walls to fall down by marching around them. It normally isn’t smart to present yourself to someone who kills people who follow Christ.

But other instances are just followers of God honoring God in every circumstance, even if it doesn’t make sense. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t know they would survive. (Daniel 3:16-18) They knew God could save them if he so chose, but regardless of circumstances, they were going to choose to honor God.

Luckily no one is asking us to bow to an idol. And they aren’t threatening to kill us if we don’t. We’re just trying to figure out how to vote.

Pragmatism is the foundation of situational ethics and the heart of post modernism. Valuing pragmatism more than the things God values is what has led us into this political wilderness. Making a pragmatic choice between two evils will always end with choosing an evil.

When presented with a choice where the pragmatic answer is different than the answer you know lines up with what the Bible teaches, what will you do? If you believe that there is a minimum standard for civil leaders, and the candidate you’re considering voting for does not meet it, will you make a pragmatic choice or keep looking?

What are Biblical Examples of Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils? Part 2 of Who Should Christians Vote For?

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series: Who Should Christians Vote For?

In 2016 our choice for President is truly a terrible decision between the two major parties. Approached pragmatically, of course we must do our utmost to achieved the best result. Besides, as we are often told, unless Jesus himself is on the ballot, every election is a choice between the lesser of two evils. What does the Bible teach about this?

Are there any biblical examples of choosing a civil authority from between two evils?

Because Israel had judges, chosen by God, and kings there aren’t a lot of examples of people choosing between the lesser of two evil rulers in the Old Testament. And none that I could find in the New Testament. God, it seems, is less concerned with earthly governments, and more concerned about the Kingdom of Heaven. I found no prescriptive commandments regarding choosing civil leaders. Part 1 of this series looked at the minimum biblical standard for civil authorities. Like that post, I’m looking for examples in history from which we can draw lessons that might apply to our situation today. These are descriptive in nature, They tell us what happened, not what we must do. But, those who do not learn from history are likely to repeat the same mistakes.

In my search I did find an article that claimed to show 3 examples of voting for the lesser of two evils. (This was from 2012, and about voting for the lesser evil of Romney vs Obama. If only that was the choice today…)

 Here are the 3 examples of selecting the lesser of two evils the author mentions:
Absalom vs David:
This is an attempted coup. 2 Samuel 15 outlines how Absalom gained support to try to overthrow his own father. David was not perfect. Among other things he had a man killed to cover his affair with that man’s wife. And his troubles with Absalom (who had been exiled for killing his half brother, after that brother had raped his sister) also stemmed from issues within his family.

But David was king of Israel. And David was a repentant, restored man. 2 Samuel 11,12 tells the whole story. Acts 13:22 describes David as a man after God’s own heart. This wasn’t an election, and it wasn’t a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Adonijah vs Solomon:
 1 Kings 1. David is on his deathbed. Adonijah decides he should be the next king. But David has already told Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan (same one that confronted David about his affair and murder) that Solomon is to be the next king. This isn’t a secret, although no public announcement has been made.  Adonijah knows about it because he doesn’t invite Nathan, any of David’s Mighty Men or Solomon to the event where he planned to take the throne. Since Adonijah was well liked, he likely could have become king.

Except Nathan discovered what he was doing. He knew that Adonijah would kill Solomon and his mother. So both he and Bathsheba went to David. After David learned what was going on, he made the official announcement that Solomon was his heir. Adonijh heard about this while his own feast was still going on.

So again, this wasn’t a choice between two evils. This wasn’t an election. Solomon was designated the heir by the king, and at this time wasn’t an “evil” choice. It’s not until the end of his days that Solomon turns away from God. That leads us to the last example.

Jeroboam vs Rehoboam:
You can find this story in 1 Kings 11,12. Solomon has turned from God. Rehoboam is Solomon’s son and assumed heir to Israel. God sends a prophet, Ahijah, to Jeroboam and tells him that Israel will be split. 10 tribes will be for Jeroboam to rule. 2 for Rehoboam. This isn’t an election, it’s God sending word through prophet. It’s judgement on Solomon, 1 Kings 11:39 says he will afflict David’s line, but not forever.

Was Jeroboam an evil? We know from verse 28 that he had some leadership in Israel; Solomon trusted him to lead the forced labor of the house of Joseph. That’s it. We do know that God made Jeroboam a promise:
     “And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” 1 Kings 11:38

Jeroboam did not have to do evil, he had a choice.  Unfortunately, after an ugly division of Israel (along the lines the prophet predicted) Jeroboam did not obey God. 1 Kings 14 describes another prophecy from Ahijah concerning Jeroboam’s line because of his disobedience. From this time onward the Northern Kingdom never had a king that followed God. Judah and the Northern Kingdom never reconciled. Both Rehoboam and Jeroboam chose to do evil in the sight of God.

This is the closest of the 3 examples to choosing a lesser of two evils. Even though there was a prophecy, what if the tribes of Israel had a choice in who to follow? We knew how the division would end up because of the prophecy, but the people made a decision. What was the result of choosing between those two?

Both leaders moved their respective kingdoms away from God. The Israelites may not have known that Jeroboam would do this, but this pattern continued throughout the Northern Kingdom’s existence.  Judah sometimes had kings who tried to follow God, but often had kings who also did evil in the sight of God.

What if there had not been a prophecy? What if the people of Israel truly could have changed the course of history in the moment? Instead of choosing between the tyrannical Rehoboam or the idolatrous Jeroboam, what if they had said no? What if they had demanded a king who followed God; one who was like David, a man after God’s own heart? What if they had rejected two bad choices, and chosen a good one? What would the history of Israel look like today? We don’t know, because that didn’t happen.

What we do know is that God eventually let Israel be conquered by Assyria and Judah by Babylon. He protected the line of David and maintained a remnant, and Jesus was born into a world ruled by Romans.

God eventually allowed his chosen people to be captured and carted off as spoils of war because they kept choosing to worship false idols and do evil in the sight of God. So if Israel had a choice in this situation,what should they have done? Would it not have been better to change course and not end up a conquered nation?

I, for one, don’t want to see America keep sliding into the hole our current political system has dug for us. What makes us think that God will preserve our country as we keep blindly choosing between two bad candidates for leadership when he didn’t even protect Israel, his chosen people? Time and time again, Israel’s leaders and her people turned from God. And he eventually allowed them to be conquered.

Even though the New Testament doesn’t report examples of choosing lesser evils in civil authorities, there is one passage that relates to doing something bad in order to achieve something good.

In Romans Chapter 2 and 3, Paul was writing about accusations that preaching about grace would devalue the law. Essentially, that doing things that go against the law (like not being circumcised) because believers are under grace devalues the Law.
“And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. ” Romans 3:8

The sentiment is the same as echoed in Romans 6:1-2. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Not just one sin, but sin in general. Not just one evil act, but do evil in general to do good.  The greek word for good in this verse is “agathos” which means “good, profitable, benevolent, useful”. Paul is talking about doing things that are bad for a good benefit. Some comments on this passage:
  • Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says, “Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just.”
  • Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible  says, “Whatever is evil is not to be done under any pretence. Any imaginable good which we may think will result from it; any advantage to ourselves or to our cause; or any glory which we may think may result to God, will not sanction or justify the deed.”
  • Matthew Poole’s Commentary says, “ The apostle doth not vouchsafe to refute this absurd saying, but simply condemns it, and those that put it in practice.”
  • Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary says, “Such reasoning amounts to this- ‘which, indeed, we who preach salvation by free grace are slanderously accused of teaching – that the more evil we do, the more glory will rebound to God; a damnable principle.’ thus the apostle, instead of refuting this principle, thinks it enough to hold it up to execration, as one that shocked the moral sense.”

Doing something bad for a good result? Condemning that action is just. Evil is not to be done under any pretense.

I cannot find a single positive example of something bad in hopes of a good result in the Bible. Choosing between evils never ends up with a good result, just a less bad one. How bad will we let things get before we reject the perpetual binary cycle?

I cannot find any biblical evidence that suggests a Christian should choose the lesser of two evils in an election. Many are facing that choice today.

If I may be so bold, don’t chose the lesser evil. Find someone or something to vote for.

Trump Cannot Save SCOTUS, the Court is Already Lost

“If you don’t vote for Trump, you are handing the court to Clinton! She will appoint so many liberal judges that we will never get it back!”

I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has become politicized. It’s possible the next President of the United States  will appoint 3 to 4 judges to the court. It has become a lighting rod in the election. On both the right and the left, people proclaim that unless we want to see the court destroyed (and America with it) we must vote for their candidate!

Conservatives are told that unless we want to see the court swing far left we must vote for Trump. We have to stop Clinton at all costs. For some, this is the only reason they are voting for Trump. They hope that he will appoint conservative justices, while they know Clinton will appoint progressive ones.

Let’s forget about the fact that there were far better qualified conservatives in the primary that would have absolutely have appointed conservatives. Candidates about which there wouldn’t be any doubt, as opposed to a candidate who says “Everything’s negotiable.” Forget that the 40% of GOP primary voters who selected Trump did not care about the SCOTUS. This is where we are now:

We are faced once again with the fear that SCOTUS will slide to the left if we don’t get in line and vote for the GOP candidate.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. SCOTUS is lost. Our supposedly conservative court is the same one that upheld the Affordable Care Act twice and gave us same-sex marriage.

Conservatives try to appoint justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally written. Progressives appoint justices that will interpret it in light of current views and circumstances.

So, in our “conservative” court we see progressive appointees always render opinions that line up with progressive positions, and those appointed by conservatives sometimes break ranks and join the progressives. The only way to fight this sort of thing in the current climate is to appoint conservatives that will always render opinions along the lines of conservative positions. Just as progressive justices adhere to their progressive values, we must appoint justices that will adhere to conservative principles even if they feel they violate the Constitution.

This is not what the Court is supposed to be.

This one branch of government is not supposed to have this much power. They are definitely not supposed to legislate. Aside from hearing cases from lower courts, one of their main roles is Judicial Review. Since 1803, Marbury vs Madison, SCOTUS has passed judgment on the actions of the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Here’s a quote about the case from USCourts.gov: 

“In this case, the Court had to decide whether an Act of Congress or the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. The Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus (legal orders compelling government officials to act in accordance with the law). A suit was brought under this Act, but the Supreme Court noted that the Constitution did not permit the Court to have original jurisdiction in this matter. Since Article VI of the Constitution establishes the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land, the Court held that an Act of Congress that is contrary to the Constitution could not stand. In subsequent cases, the Court also established its authority to strike down state laws found to be in violation of the Constitution.”

I believe that SCOTUS has moved too far away from what it was. Justice is no longer blind, but instead the view of the court is slanted to the right or left. We should not fear our own Supreme Court, no matter what party holds the Presidency. Pandora’s box is open. There is no way to return to the Court of before. We have to find a way to fix the Court as it is now.

Currently the only way to reverse a SCOTUS ruling is with another SCOTUS ruling or a Constitutional amendment. That worked well when the Court wasn’t legislating from the bench. Imagine Congress with such limited checks and balances that every law they ever passed was virtually immune to being overturned. That is SCOTUS today, When they make such broad rulings that, in effect, force new laws on the people, they have overstepped their role and need to be put in check.

The power to appoint Justices to the Court has become a political tool that is more effective then electing actual legislators. We have allowed this to happen, and we can stop it. The solution is not to appoint justices that reflect our views, so we can get rulings we like. That is a temporary solution to a long term problem. That solution ensures that we will always be in a fight for the Court.

The long term solution is found in Article V of the Constitution.

“Article V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress”

This solution doesn’t just have the potential to fix SCOTUS, but to limit the power and jurisdiction of the Executive and Legislative branches as well. 34 states must petition for a Convention and submit amendments. We can fix our government. But repeating the same cycle of elections over and over is not the way. A Convention of States could be.

Regarding the Court; I believe the current system has been corrupted to the point that it must have outside reform. We cannot appoint our way out of this mess. We need measures to limit terms of Justices and ways to more easily overturn a ruling.

That is what we should be fighting for. The current Presidential election matters, because the President does (among other things) appoint Justices. But the only way to actually, truly fix SCOTUS is to limit its power. No President can do that.

Vote Your Values, Not Your Fears

The wonderful thing about a representative form of government is that we, the voters, can put people who represent us into positions of leadership. These elected officials have the power to represent the things we hold dearest. They have the power to lead our towns, counties, states and nation in a way that reflects who we are.

Unless we vote based on our fears. On the national scale, in our 2 party/binary choice elections we seem to always hear about voting against the worse candidate. If we don’t vote for candidate x we will have horrible consequences. These tactics play on our fears.

If we elect people based on our fears, they will govern based on our fears. Is what we fear the best representation of us? Do we really expect our government to improve if we put people in office who represent what we are afraid of, rather than what we value?

I propose a radical alternative in the political climate of 2016: Don’t vote against someone you are afraid of. Don’t vote against ideologies you fear. Vote for what you value, for the things you hold dear. Vote your values, not your fears.

Warning: Binary Choice Syndrome Epidemic in USA

WARNING: There is a dangerous epidemic spreading across America. Binary Choice Syndrome (BCS) is a condition where voters believe they only have 2 choices for President. If they don’t vote for one, then they are actually voting for the other. The condition, prevalent on both the right and the left, has caused feelings of alienation and frustration. In more acute cases, the people afflicted with BCS have shown symptoms of rabid, illogical support for one candidate over the other. It is in this state that they are actively spreading the syndrome. Be very cautious when dealing with anyone who says the presidential election is a binary choice.

Binary Choice Syndrome plays on your fears about the two major party candidates. If you find yourself in the position where you don’t want to vote for either politician, those with BCS try to scare you into reluctant support of their candidate. They hope you will hold your nose and vote against the horrible politician by voting for the less horrible one. Should you think about not doing that, they trot out the binary choice. It’s your duty to vote for the less bad candidate, or you are helping the worse candidate get into office.

The premise of BCS is this: If you don’t vote for candidate x, then you are voting for candidate y.

3 reasons why Binary Choice Syndrome should be destroyed.

  •  It’s illogical. Obviously, if you don’t vote for X then X get’s one less vote. But does that mean Y get’s an extra vote? Of course not. Just just means X doesn’t get a vote. You might chose to vote for Z or even not to vote at all. (I encourage everyone to vote their conscience, but that’s your choice.) Voting for Z does not add votes to the tally for Y or X. It just adds votes for Z. In a 2 party system it may feel like you are throwing away your vote but you are definitely not adding to the tally of another candidate.
  •  It cheapens your vote. Binary Choices limit your options. Who are they to say you must choose between one or the other? Who are they to say that a vote for a candidate you support, no matter how unlikely to carry the day, is actually a vote for someone else? It is your right as a citizen to participate in the election process in the way you feel is required by your conscience. If that means voting for someone not represented by the two major parties, then that is your right. BCS is often spread by those in leadership of one of the two major parties because BCS keeps them in power.
  •  It is only valid if voters allow it to be valid. The ultimate cure for Binary Choice Syndrome is to realize that as long as we vote for the lesser of two evils we will get one of the evils. Every voter has the power to break free of the binary choice and vote for someone they actually support. If enough voters did this, the 2 party system would fall. We are not required to vote Republican or Democrat, just as people in elections of the past were not required to vote Whig or Democrat. Parties can change, the system is what we, the individual voters, make of it. We have all the power. We choose to remain in a 2 party system by voting for the two major party candidates. We don’t have to.

Be careful, one of the more slippery symptoms of BCS is the Issue Related Binary Choice. Sometimes, BCS sufferers will not talk about particular candidates, but will choose an issue to present as a binary choice. Recent cases of this have centered around the US Supreme Court. BCS sufferers will present the concern over the Court and then point to a binary choice as the only way to protect us from this runaway government branch. Previous cases have centered on the issue of abortion, LGBT rights, immigration, and many other social and economic issues. While concerns about issues may be valid, the binary choice is not.

You can be vaccinated against BCS by realizing that your vote matters, and you can choose who you will vote for based on your values, not your fears.

The Impending GOP Delegate Revolt?

It’s no secret I dislike Trump as a candidate. Character, competence and core values: he falls short in every area. I understand why some Republicans will support him over Clinton, but I cannot.

Still, he won the primary vote, fair and square. And as any Trump supporter will tell you, he won with more votes than any previous candidate. Of course what they don’t mention is that even more people voted against him than for him. Trump won about 40% of the primary vote. And in the broad field of GOP candidates this cycle, that was enough to earn the required 1237 delegates.

IMG_7397Since his opponents dropped out several weeks ago he has failed to unite the Republican Party. He has even spent time attacking fellow GOP members. It has been revealed that he has very little money in his campaign and is no longer planning to “self fund”. (See image of the “survey” fundraising letter I received) He has let major issues go by without comment (i.e.- SCOTUS abortion ruling) and created self inflicted wounds on his own campaign (i.e.- the Star meme, praising the “bad guy” Hussein). The same polls that he loved in the primary continue to show him losing to Clinton. He doesn’t have a significant campaign apparatus. The media which gave him massive positive coverage in the primary (over $2 Billion worth) has turned on him. Clinton just beat the rap on her email scandal.

And we’re not even to the GOP convention yet.

There have been rumblings of a delegate revolt. There may be some sort of move to make the first ballot, on which the 1237 delegates Trump has earned are bound to vote for him, an advisory vote. Or something that makes it not binding in the convention, or similar. Allowing delegates to vote their personal convictions on the 2nd ballot. Basically, we would have a contested convention.

Is this possible? A recent report says that only 890 GOP delegates are personally loyal to Trump. 680 oppose him. 900 are “in play”. It’s a longshot at best. It still takes 1237 delegates to secure the nomination. 680 is a long way from 1237.

I have said I don’t think the GOP could survive something like this, and I don’t care if it dies. With Trump’s campaign becoming more and more of a so-called dumpster fire every week, I just don’t know what would happen anymore. I’m certainly not pushing for it. If I was a delegate bound to Trump, I’m not sure I could be a part of the revolt. He won the primary. But since I’m not, if another candidate emerged from the GOP convention I might vote for him or her.

What about the will of the people? It’s true that the will of 40% of GOP Primary voters would be thwarted in a move like this. It’s also true that this would only be possible if the candidate in question failed so utterly at delegate selection that the delegates bound to him actually would consider voting for someone else. Which of course, Trump did. Every state has its own rules and a part of that is the delegate selection process. And Trump’s own ineptitude set up the potential revolt.

Would it be legal? Remember that the political parties are not actually Government entities. They are private. They could change the rules in some way to make this possible, if enough delegates put on enough pressure. According to the same report on delegates, 20 of the 28 committee members needed to bring something like this to the floor are already on board.

One could make the case that the reason political parties have delegates and conventions is because they need one more stop gap before they nominate someone who will lose. Similar to the electoral college for the general. It’s never happened, but theoretically a presidential vote could be overturned by the electoral college. (In 1820, 1960, and 1988 individual electors chose not to vote according to the state vote) From a purely pragmatic point of view, Trump trails in polling and funds more than Romney at this point. Delegates might feel it would be smart to nominate someone else. After all, the point of this is to win the election, right?

Even so, any delegate revolt getting beyond the rules committee is unlikely. And then, for that effort to successfully nominate someone else is even less likely. While it might be a pleasant day dream for #NeverTrump-ers to cling to, we had better prepare for Trump as the nominee. And for Clinton as president, if polls and trends continue.