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.

What is the Biblical Standard for Choosing Civil Authority? Part 1 of Who Should Christians Vote For?

[I’ve gone out of my way to not talk in specifics about this election season, but instead look at principles that should frame our votes in every election, for every office.]

Part 1 of a 3 part series: Who Should Christians Vote For?

Americans have the great privilege of choosing their own civil authorities. Christians in American still have to submit to those in authority over us (Romans 13:1), but every so often we get to choose who those people are. The first Justice of the Supreme Court, Honorable John Jay said, “God is the One who has given us the privilege in this Christian nation of selecting our leaders.”

Since we have such an honor and privilege, how then should we choose our leaders? By what standard should they be held? How should we decide who to vote for?

In a time when there are many conflicting messages, I turned to the Bible. What does it say about rulers and civil authorities? Voting for a civil authority is not like voting for a pastor. It has often been said that the US President is not the Pastor-in-Chief. What does the Bible say about selecting civil authorities? How should we expect them to lead?

There are two significant examples of civil leaders being selected from the among Israelites. Before we examine them, let’s agree that these are descriptive passages about what happened, and not prescriptive passages about what we must do. Let’s also agree that if we hold the Bible to be true, then these passages contain lessons that can be applied to our own modern selection of leaders.

Exodus 18:21a “ But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain”

Deuteronomy 1:13 “Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”

In the Exodus passage, Moses needed help dealing with civil matters, with disagreements among the people. Jethro, his father-in-law, suggested looking for these qualities in the people selected to help;

  • God Fearing– They needed a healthy respect for God and the things of God.
  • Trustworthy– They were faithful, honest, and could be relied upon.
  • Hating dishonest gain– People of integrity.

Similar situation in Deuteronomy, when God told Moses what sort of people to choose:

  • Wise– People who were not just knowledgable, but wise.
  • Understanding– People who could understand the situation they were presiding over.
  • Respected– People who have earned the respect of the community.

That seems like a pretty smart list of qualities to look for in a candidate for any office. Based on those passages my personal list looks something like this:

I will vote for candidates that respect religion and religious freedom. They will be honest, and people I can believe will do what they say they will do. They will be people of integrity. I will look for people who are wise, and competent to fill the office they are running for. I will vote for people who I believe are capable of earning and keeping my respect.

For me, this is the minimum standard for my vote. Notice I didn’t mention specific social or economic issues, no foreign policy or immigration or any other political issue. That’s not because I don’t care about them, I very much do. But issues change as society changes. The bedrock of biblical truth upon which we build our worldview does not.

The 6 qualities of a civil authority listed here are immutable and timeless. You and I may disagree on nuances of issues, but we can agree on this short list. Plus, people who respect religion, and who I consider wise and competent will, in my view, hold positions on issues similar to my own. But if they don’t meet the standard of this list, I should keep searching no matter how much they might share my views on issues.

The book of Proverbs is also full of wisdom about civil authorities:

  • A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor. Pr 28:16a
  • When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Pr 29:2
  • If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked. Pr 29:12
  • Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Pr 11:14
  • Wicked behavior is detestable to kings, since a throne is established through righteousness. Pr 16:12 (HCSB)
  • When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. Pr 28:2

This isn’t an exhaustive list of verses, but you can get a biblical picture of the person we should be looking to vote for. It can be hard to hold to this sort of standard in our current political climate, especially on the national level. It’s very easy to allow fear to color your decision.

What if none of the candidates can live up to this standard? What if that horrible candidate wins? I point you to Romans 8:28, and encourage you to remember God is sovereign. While he cares about everything, God’s primary purpose is not to fix earthly governments. The Kingdom of Heaven is not about one nation, it’s about something far more important.

Dr. Russell Moore from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was talking about the 2016 Presidential election and he said, “If you lose an election you can live to fight another day and move on, but if you lose an election while giving up your very soul then you have really lost it all, and so I think the stakes are really high.”

Who should you vote for? It may be that you have several choices that biblically qualify for an office, or you may feel you have none. I think the process starts with prayer. Ask God to lead you to the candidate for each office. No one will be perfect, but it’s doubtful God will lead you to a candidate that is completely contrary to this simple biblical standard. He won’t lead you to a candidate who is not wise, not trustworthy, does not have integrity, is not respectable, who does not respect religion. But you may have to look beyond candidates who get the most media attention.

I encourage you to stick to what you value and vote for someone you can support. Much more important than which party holds what offices is your own relationship with God. Don’t betray your values over an election. You have the privilege and the responsibility to participate in choosing your own civil authorities; do it well.

 

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.

Dear Conservative, It’s OK to Vote 3rd Party

Like you, I have always believed that we should do our duty, hold our noses and vote for whoever the Republican party nominates. The alternative would be to allow a Liberal Democrat in the office.

And also like you, I’ve been increasingly disappointed with the candidates that have gotten the nomination. Politicians that made big promises and proceeded to do little once in office. But I dutifully pulled the lever every time. I believed what I was told, we had to vote for this candidate or someone worse would get into office. I kept choosing the lesser of two evils.

By 2016 many of us were fed up.

Unfortunately, blind anger has led enough GOP voters to support a candidate I cannot, in good conscience, support. I evaluate candidates based on character, competence and core values. I remember when most Republicans felt Bill Clinton had embarrassed the presidency and didn’t have the character traits necessary to be president. Now some of the same ones want me to vote for a man who is apparently (based on his actions and words) just as morally corrupt. One who is not competent, and who does not have conservative core values. I won’t vote for Donald Trump. And I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

I have read that saying I won’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is un American. I’ve been told that not voting for Trump is the same as voting for Clinton. I have been reminded there’s no perfect candidate so I must choose Trump. I have been told that if I don’t vote for Trump Clinton will nominate 5 liberal justices. I’ve also been warned that if I vote for a 3rd party candidate we will end up with another Ross Perot situation, where the 3rd party takes votes from the GOP and gives the election to the Democrats.

Hogwash. Let’s take these one by one:

-The 1992 Perot Effect: For my entire adult life I’ve been told that Ross Perot pulled votes away from George H. W. Bush. He is the reason that we got Bill Clinton as a president. I believed this, and have even repeated it.

But it’s not true. I was shocked to discover when doing research for this article that Perot pulled voters away from both parties equally. According to a 1992 New York Times article , Perot pulled 38% of his votes from those who would otherwise vote for Bush. And 38% of his votes from those who would otherwise vote for Clinton. The rest planned to not vote or to vote for someone else. Ross Perot didn’t kill Bush’s chances at the presidency. He also didn’t help Clinton. Let that sit with you for a minute.

Perot did not get Clinton elected. Could a 3rd party candidate draw voters from the Republican candidate? Sure, if Republicans nominate someone that conservatives cannot support, and they leave the party. I have already said that the 35% of primary voters who promised they would never support Trump will be a hard hit to overcome. This should not be a surprise, since millions of us were very vocal about this before Trump became the presumptive nominee. We weren’t joking. #NeverTrump means never.

-5 Liberal SCOTUS Judges: It’s scary to think that the next president may appoint 5 Supreme Court Justices. Our so-called-conservative court gave us same sex marriage and upheld the Affordable care Act. Imagine a court with members selected by a liberal like Clinton. Now imagine a court with member elected by a man without core values. One who has a history of changing his mind and positions on major issues for conservatives. Republicans haven’t done such a great job of selecting SCOTUS justices so far, let’s give a life long liberal the chance to pick some. I mean Trump; he’s a life-long liberal. He’s a very recent convert to conservatism. And he has been so wildly inconsistent, how can anyone know who Trump will nominate? And how can the Republican Congress stop a Republican president from getting his own justice? The Republican congress can’t even stop funding for Planned Parenthood.

Assuming Republicans can keep the Senate and House, would you rather have a bad Clinton nominee voted down, or a bad Trump nominee forced through by the leader of the Republican party? There’s no good solution here. When 40% of Republican primary voters (along with a media which gave over $2 Billion worth of coverage) voted to make Trump the presumptive nominee, we gave up the chance to place actual conservatives on the Supreme court. It’s just degrees of bad now. And this one issue, the chance that Trump might not nominate bad justice does not overshadow how terrible his presidency will be.

Regarding the power of a legislative body made up of 9 unelected judges, I would like to see the Convention of States people keep talking about happen. Part of that process could be to introduce a way for Congress to overturn a SCOTUS decision. Maybe even to set a term limit on sitting justices (as well as Congress). It’s obvious that whether the court is supposed to be conservative or liberal they won’t stop legislating from the bench. I believe we need a few more checks against their balances.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.09.01 AM-It’s a vote for Clinton: Not voting for Donald Trump is a vote for Clinton. The logic of this doesn’t work. I could just as easily say a vote for someone besides Clinton is a vote for Trump. That’s obviously untrue. Your vote is for who you vote for.

But what they are really saying is that in order to win, Trump requires all of us to vote for him. It’s a play at guilting us into voting for someone we don’t like. And it’s been successful for decades. Do you want Obama? Vote McCain, vote Romney. But the problem with voting for the lesser of two evils is that you end up with one of the evils.

When candidates are so far from my own core values, I don’t have to vote for them. Do you know why we have a two-party, lesser-of-2-evils system? Because millions of us keep dutifully voting for one of the 2 party candidates, even if we don’t like them.

The real question is do I owe anyone my vote? My answer is no. Candidates must earn my vote. Just as they must earn every vote they get. There will be millions of people who vote Republican to stop Clinton. But that is an individual choice. One of the greatest responsibilities of any American citizen is to vote. It’s how the Republic works. My vote counts. I don’t think my one vote will be the deciding vote between Trump, Clinton or someone else. But my vote counts, and it’s mine to give. If a candidate wants my vote, they must earn it. No party can demand my obedience, especially when I (and millions of others) warned that we would not vote for Trump.

-There’s no Perfect Candidate: Sure. I agree. I don’t expect to find one. But I do expect to find one that comes closer than Clinton or Trump. This time around, the Republican nominee is just too far from what I require in a candidate to be able to vote for them. I understand that line will be different for everyone. But this time the GOP has gone down a path I cannot follow. I won’t find a perfect candidate to vote for, but I will find one that is closer to what I desire in an elected leader.

-Un American: This is just plain wrong. It’s very American to find a candidate you want to vote for. It’s not unpatriotic to reject two candidates that you don’t want elected and go looking for a 3rd. The Constitution did not create the 2-party system. It is not un American to want to see that system broken. To vote is one of the most American things anyone can do, even if they choose not to vote for a Republican or Democrat.

It’s said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Can we hope to stop Clinton or Trump? Perot’s ill fated campaign received almost 19% of the vote, but won no states and earned no electoral votes. He announced in February, and by early Summer he was leading the polls. He bought 30-minute blocks on TV to introduce himself to voters. Mid Summer the wheels came off. He dropped out of the race for over 3 months, He performed poorly later debates, and never regained his position again. The most successful 3rd party run since 1912 was a terrible campaign. And he gathered almost 19% of the popular vote.

A smart 3rd party run would utilize the strategy of winning enough states to prevent either candidate from getting 270 electoral votes. Don’t waste resources in states that you can’t possibly win. Win enough states and the election gets sent to the Republican controlled House. The House must choose from the top 3 candidates. They would either choose Trump or the 3rd party. If Trump, then the 3rd party is in a great position for 2020. If by some chance it’s the 3rd party, then that’s even better.

No matter the result, there is nothing wrong with voting for someone who is not a Republican or a Democrat. Your vote is your own. You owe it to no one. Find a candidate that you want to support.

#NeverTrump vs #Trumpertantrum: 2016 General Election Concerns and Math

This weekend Ted Cruz swept all of the delegates in Colorado. This led to Donald Trump complaining that voters were being cheated, and that the whole system is corrupt, and rigged. He’s right. It is actually rigged, to favor the frontrunner. Even though Trump has won just 37% of the vote, he has claimed 45% of the delegates awarded, so far. That’s after Cruz swept Colorado. I find it odd that Trump’s campaign didn’t care about the delegate process in Colorado, which has been planned this way for a long time, until after he lost all delegates there. To be clear, Colorado Republicans did vote, just not the way the rest of America did. Frankly, this faux outrage is just sour grapes after Trump’s campaign made some major mistakes in the process there.

There are 16 states left in the GOP primary. Trump has secured 37% of the vote in the previous primaries. In order to win the nomination airtight, he must win 1237 delegates. There are 854 delegates remaining. Trump must win 494 to secure the nomination before the convention. Otherwise it’s a contested convention and many think Trump will not emerge the nominee.

But as we continue through this contentious primary, more and more people seem to be hinting that if Trump is not the nominee at the convention, they will walk from the GOP. That’s very similar to the #NeverTrump movement, who say that if Trump is the nominee, they will not vote for him. It looks like no matter what happens some group won’t support the GOP nominee. Whether it’s caused by a massive #trumpertantrum or people who are #nevertrump, it’s becoming clear that the eventual nominee won’t have the support of the entire GOP primary voting body.

That sounds bad. I’ve been #NeverTrump since before there was a hashtag. But this doesn’t look good for the general election: Either Trump’s gonna take his millions of voters and go home if the nomination is stolen from him or millions of #NeverTrump-ers will never vote for Trump if he is the nominee. How can we hope to win the general election.

Let’s look at the math.

#Trumpertantrum:

To date, Trump, who has earned just over 8 million votes so far, has just 13.3% of the number of votes that Romney earned in his failed bid, in the 2012 general election. 13.5% of what McCain received in 2008. Only 12.9% of what Bush received in 2004, where he won. 16% of Bush’s 2000 presidential win. (Where he lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college)

8 million votes is a big number, more than any other 2016 GOP primary candidate, so far. But that is a small percentage of the overall general election votes. And, if the GOP turnout continues to be as large as it has been in the primaries, we should see more GOP voters than the last several elections have seen. Frankly, most of them won’t care about the primary. I used to be one of those voters, I rarely voted in the primary, but always voted in the general. This primary has brought more people into the action, but there are tens of millions more GOP voters who have not participated.

If all of Trump’s voters walked, it would be a blow, but one that could be overcome in the general election. But according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, Only 35% of his voters would walk. 2/3 would still vote for a brokered candidate. Based on current numbers, a non-Trump GOP candidate would lose 2.8 million votes in the general election. Not all 8 million. Obviously these numbers will change as the rest of the primaries are held, but the percentages will likely stay the same. A Trump campaign that is defeated at a brokered convention will take about 1/3 of his votes with him. Votes that probably won’t switch over to the Democrat candidate.

Losing a third of Trump’s voters in the general election will hurt, but it doesn’t have to be a death blow to the general election chances of the GOP. If the Democrats field an unpopular candidate like Hillary Clinton, GOP voter turnout should outpace Democrat turnout. Unless the GOP also fields an unpopular candidate. More on that later.

#NeverTrump

Compare Trump’s 1/3 walk away votes with polls showing that a full 35% of Republican primary voters won’t vote for Trump in the general. That isn’t 35% of Cruz supporters, that’s 35% of all Republican voters. #NeverTrump isn’t just Cruz supporters. Members of #NeverTrump come from the 63% of primary voters who did not vote for Trump. If that percentage holds, half of Republican voters in the GOP primary who didn’t vote Trump won’t support Trump as the eventual nominee.

There have been 22 million votes cast in Republican primaries this year, so far. More will follow as the rest of the Primaries happen. If 35% of those Republicans follow through with their claim of #Nevertrump, that is a much bigger number that the third of Trump’s 8 million voters. At this point, it’s more than 7.7 million GOP voters that will not vote for Trump. If the percentage of #NeverTrump holds, that number will grow.

Is that the death knell for a Trump presidential bid? Not necessarily, but with Trump’s growing unfavorable ratings it doesn’t look good. If 35% of your base will not vote for you, and your unfavorable numbers are far below your opponent’s (10 point difference), it becomes very hard to get out enough votes to win in the general election.

Nominating Donald Trump almost certainly hands the general election to Hillary Clinton. And, if the #NeverTrump people choose to not vote at all, it harms other GOP candidates down the ballot.

Nominating Ted Cruz will alienate some Trump supporters, but in the end, the deficit is much smaller. Plus, Cruz has actually beaten Clinton in some polls about the General election. Cruz currently trails by 2.5 in this Real Clear politics average, while Trump trails by over 10 points. Obviously, things will change during the general election cycle, but a Cruz nomination has much less to overcome than a Trump nomination going into the general election.

A #trumpertantrum walkout of Trump supporters is much better than a #NeverTrump revolt against the GOP nominee.

I don’t Care About the GOPe or the GOP

This morning someone told me I was dumb for thinking a vote for Cruz was not a vote for the Republican “Establishment”.

I could not care less about the GOP Establishment, or the GOP at all.

The Republican Party is a vehicle for candidates that hold my conservative views. Period. If it stops being an effective vehicle I will look for candidates that hold those views elsewhere.

People, myself included, are annoyed with the GOP and the “establishment” for foisting candidates upon us that are actually not conservative. They do not work toward limited government, but instead are a part of the Washington system that doesn’t actually accomplish anything conservative. At best the establishment slows down the march of progressive left political will.

What exactly is the GOPe? It’s this nebulous group of people that provide leadership to the GOP. It’s not a defined group, it’s just a useful generalization. People aren’t actually members. But if you are in leadership in the Republican party and you think Romney and McCain were good candidates, you probably are a member of the establishment.

I don’t care about the GOPe. Look, I voted for McCain and Romney. I have accepted establishment Republican candidates as the lesser of two evils at the voting booth for a long time now. But the GOP or the GOPe mean very little to me. I wanted conservatives to have a new party back when Romney was running. I hoped the Tea Party would become that political party, but it got sucked into the GOP. Political parties in general, mean little to me. They are just a mechanism to vote for candidates that I like, or at least dislike less than others. I do not like the 2 party system we have. But since we have it, I participate as best I can. I vote for the candidate that will do the least harm and might lead us back toward more limited government.

This election cycle, the frustration over the GOPe has boiled over. Now people want a candidate that isn’t a part of it. Although he was very liberal before, and admits to being a part of the establishment until he decided to run for office, Donald Trump has emerged at the poster child for anti-establishment voters. Now, like this morning, when any who is annoyed with the GOP says they plan to vote for anyone else, the Trumpkins lash out. How stupid can we be? Don’t we know that every other candidate is part of the GOPe?

What they are saying is that I (a conservative) should only vote for a blow hard, blustering buffoon who cannot articulate even simple policy positions in most cases, and who when he does actually state a position clearly he flips on it within 24 hours, who thinks insults are the way to defeat his opponents, who has a history of supporting liberal Democrats and leftist positions, who admits he personally takes advantage of laws that are bad for the USA, who literally holds positions based on poll numbers, who has promised to open up libel laws so he can sue people who criticize him, who has promised to expand laws so that he can order the US Military to kill women and children who are related to terrorists, who embodies values and behavior that I would never want in any elected official much less the President of the USA… I should vote for him because he is the only candidate who is not controlled by the GOPe.

I don’t care who is or isn’t a GOPe favorite.

I will never vote for Donald Trump for any elected office, Ever. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton, either. Before you say a vote for someone else is a vote for Clinton, let me stop you. It’s not. It’s a vote for someone else. If enough people vote for someone else, that person gets elected. If Clinton does get elected, which she undoubtedly would in a general election versus Trump, at least then we know what we are going to get. She is a known factor. A bad one, but we know her. We don’t know Trump. He has changed his views so often I can’t be sure he has any core values… except to do things that benefit him and post crazy stuff on twitter.

So, no. I won’t vote for Trump. I will vote for the candidate that will do the least harm. If that is a GOPe candidate, fine. If that is someone else, fine. I will not vote for Trump to stop the GOPe because I don’t care about them. If the GOP puts up Trump as the nominee, I won’t vote GOP in the election. And I won’t consider myself a part of the GOP until such time as it dies off and is replaced, or comes to its senses and started nominating conservatives again.

There are rumblings about the GOPe conspiring to steal the nomination from Donald Trump at the Republican convention. The rules are pretty clear. If no candidate has the needed number of delegates prior to the convention, during the gathering they will do multiple delegate votes until a nominee is selected. If Trump has the most delegates, but not enough to secure the nomination, some fear that this will shatter the Republican party if he is not the nominee. Assuming the rules are followed, the candidates enter this process knowing that this could be the outcome. I’m not a fan of ignoring the votes of individuals in a brokered convention. I’d rather see voters select a conservative candidate before the convention. But if the GOP comes out of the convention with Trump as the nominee, no matter how that happens, I won’t be joining them in support of Trump.

I don’t want to save the GOP. I don’t care if the GOP splinters. I don’t care if a new party rises from the ashes of the GOP. I will vote for the candidate that is most likely to return us to a limited government. One who is actually a conservative, and will do the least harm to our nation. I will not place party over principle.

Let’s Talk Independent Presidential Bids (And Breaking the 2 Party System)

Well, I had been writing this before the debate last night. But that last question where each GOP candidate pledged again to support whoever the nominee is… sort of ruined it. Even so, fun to speculate:

Super Tuesday has come and gone. With a few surprises, Donald Trump won most states, but also under performed in most states. Is it too late to stop him from entering the GOP convention with enough delegates to secure the nomination? Maybe, maybe not. But aside from Carson mostly dropping out, the field of GOP candidate won’t get any narrower until it will likely be too late. There is no way Kasich drops out before Ohio and no way Rubio drops before Florida.

There is a good chance… unless things turn… that Trump will be the GOP nominee. I cannot believe I typed those words. He is not a conservative. He does not represent me. But, the GOP hasn’t really represented conservatives for a while. We vote in Republicans, and then they continue to do big government things and get nothing we want done. We haven’t been happy with the GOP for a while. That’s part of the revolt against the “GOPe” that’s going on, ironically it’s part of what’s fueling Trumps popularity. It started with the tea party, then that got side tracked and squashed. Whatever. If we put up Trump as the nominee, I am done with the GOP.

Period, end of sentence. Done.

In our current 2 party system, that means my 3rd party vote is a waste in November. But what if we could use the opportunity to destroy the 2 party system and bring some options to our elections? Ross Perot tried it, and that failed horribly; but this is 2016. No one knows what is gonna happen. I hear rumors of people like Bloomberg from NY running 3rd party. Imagine if there were 4 viable candidates? Trump, Clinton, Bloomberg, and … ? Bloomberg is a long shot, and really, if Clinton gets indicted and drops out… also a long shot… who knows what happens to the Democrats. Can you say Biden vs Trump? The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain in this election.

Looking at the GOP field, who could run independent/3rd party and have a chance? Who has money and support, but isn’t too tied to the GOP? The only candidate is Ted Cruz.

I have gone out of my way to not endorse any candidate. I obviously tried to derail Trump with what little influence I have. But I have never said who you should vote for on this blog. And I’m not endorsing Cruz, per say, as much as saying he would be infinitely better than Trump or Clinton. Sadly, our 2 party system lends itself to voting for the less undesirable of 2 candidates most times. In a scenario where Cruz is a viable 3rd candidate, he will do the least harm to our nation, and has the most chance of getting elected. So I’m not endorsing him, as much as saying for the sake of our nation we should support him.

That goes for the primary as well as the general election. If you vote in the GOP primary, vote Cruz. If he runs 3rd party, vote for Cruz. He is the only one who can possibly beat Trump in delegates, and he is the only one who can beat both Clinton and Trump in a general election. Kasich doesn’t have a chance. Rubio appears very tied into the “GOPe” and couldn’t swing the support. Doesn’t matter if he is a part of the “establishment” or not, he looks that way. Only Cruz could do it.

Now, before you jump down my throat about Cruz’s campaign antics I would urge you to remember: no candidate is perfect. I felt he should have handled the Iowa/Carson issue differently. He ended up having to fire his communications guy anyway over that Rubio video. His campaign has made mistakes, and done some stuff I don’t like. I’m not saying he’s my perfect candidate. I’m saying if I have to choose between Cruz and Clinton or Trump, I pick Cruz every single time. And so should you.

Yes, a 3rd party run of a popular conservative could split the GOP vote and give the election to Clinton. I’d hate to see that happen. I really do think that a true conservative like Cruz could position himself in a way to win the general election. I’d love to see a poll on that. Here’s the rub: at least with Clinton we know what we’re getting. She will do what she always does, placing herself above the needs of the nation. we’ll have 4 more years of policies similar to Obama’s, with gridlock in Congress, and then have another election. Not the best option. But is it better than a Trump presidency? At least we know what we get with Clinton. Trump is a wild card.

I am not saying I want Clinton as president. I am saying that I will not vote for Trump, and I think Cruz could beat Trump and Clinton with a properly run campaign. Add a 4th person running as a liberal, and all bets are off.

But what if Trump gets fed up with the RNC shenanigans, and runs as 3rd party? Again, Cruz would still be running against Trump and Clinton.

Of course, after the GOP debate last night, no GOP candidate will run 3rd party, they all said they would support the nominee. The only hope of a 3 person race would be for Trump to bail and run independent. Or another liberal to jump in. Regardless, I will never vote for Donald Trump.