I’ve made no secret of not being a Romney fan. Or, for that matter, a fan of establishment voting. I didn’t vote for McCain in 2008 and instead chose the third party option, and I had no trouble explaining why.
And earlier this year I wrote:
Be careful who you vote for. Make sure that it’s someone whose policies you really support, instead of just the guy you think has the best chance of winning. If we ever want better candidate choices, we need to send the message that we’re not just going to accept empty promises and the status quo.
I believe this approach has merit. In the long term, it’s what might actually change our politics. But for the present moment — for this election — this is wrong. Too much is at stake, and too little will be effected by following this line of thought.
Which is why — especially because I live in a swing state — I’ll be holding my nose and voting for Romney in November. And it’s why I think you should too.
Sure, I still have many concerns. If Romney becomes President, I believe:
- 4 years from now, Roe will still be the law of the land and no major legislation to change this will be an agenda of the administration
- Any Supreme Court appointments made during his term will be of dubious reliability on Constitutional or life issues
- We will still be spending far too much on defense, and involved in conflicts of dubious compatibility with just war doctrine
- We may not, in fact, see the promised repeal of Obamacare, due to legislative challenges (he’ll need to control both houses of Congress)
- We will likely see the continued erosion of civil liberties under an intrusive, nanny-state government, through the agency of things like the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and TSA
- The government will remain far too large, spend far too much, and we will likely continue on the path toward complete financial insolvency as a nation
And despite all this, I’ve been grappling with something for weeks. It is, in part, an intellectual conclusion, but it’s also (and perhaps more importantly) a gut feeling: Obama’s defeat in this election may be the most important single event in the future of this country for generations to come. There’s no scientific way to prove that this is true, but in that deep recess of instinct that has almost always kept me safe and helped me to make good decisions (when I’ve listened to it) there is a resonating sense, a growing urgency, that this is too important an opportunity to miss.
This has not been an easy decision for me, and I don’t claim in the slightest that it should be for you. Voters who choose conscience over cause are, in my opinion, on entirely respectable ground. But I would urge them to at least consider that while there are valid, moral and market-forces arguments to be made for voting for the candidate you can agree with over the one who can actually win (thus potentially influencing future elections) — this is not the election in which to do that.
First, because there is nobody on the third party ticket who we want to model future GOP candidates after. Sure, some of their policies are good. In at least one case, none of their policies are evil. But these candidates lack something significant. They don’t even rise to the level of, say, Chuck Baldwin, who I voted for in 2008. We are not looking at quality upstarts who will be dark horse game changers. We’re looking at people we know won’t win, and — let’s be honest — part of the reason those of us willing to vote third party would vote for these guys is because of exactly that fact. We’d be horrified to see some of these candidates in the office of the Presidency. They may have good ideas, but that doesn’t mean they have the leadership characteristics to do the job. As long as I’m going out on a limb here, I’ll admit it: I feel sort of the same way about Ron Paul, who I vote for in every primary I can. There is with many of these candidates an absolutism, an idealism, a social disconnect from the essential diplomacy and spirit of compromise that is quintessential to accomplishing anything in the world of politics or business that is, I think, a fatal flaw.
But let’s move on to the second, and far more important reason: a vote for Romney is not so much a vote for a positive good as it is a vote to limit evil.
President Obama is not only our most pro-abortion president in history, but he is doing astonishing damage to religious liberty, individual freedom, and our economic future. He is slowly replacing what is left of our republic with something else entirely. Every day, we come to resemble a quasi-socialist European state even more. In a post entitled “To the Purist Voter,” novelist and Catholic convert John C. Wright makes the case:
The United States is the one Republican form of government left in a feotid and ever-rising sewer of broke, ugly, churlish, socialist welfare-state bureaucracies, and broke, bloodthirsty, post-communist dictatorships, and broke, inhuman, totalitarian theocracies across the Middle East. The United State is rapidly degenerating from a Christian nation to a sub-pagan postchristian neo-barbarian nation, but the cancer has not yet reached her heart. My vote is a statement for my God and my nation, for liberty and justice, and against leftwing pro-Jihadist totalitarian political correctness.
Shall I betray my nation because the GOP cannot produce a candidate sufficiently endowed with a desire to defend the Constitution? It would be like letting my mother get beaten to death on the street by a gang of thugs, and not coming to her rescue because she is a drunk.
[ … ]
If my fears are reasonable, voting for a third part candidate, or failing to vote for Romney because he is not Republican enough nor Libertarian enough nor pacifistic enough nor warhawkish enough nor insufficient sincere in his anti-abortion stance or unwilling to close Gitmo, or for any other reason (aside from fear of eternal damnation) is a failure to vote for the salvation of the Republic.
The stakes are that high. We may struggle to survive as a nation under a Romney administration, but at least we will have a chance. Under another Obama administration, unfettered by the desire to make nice with the electorate who could put the man back in office? The country as we know it ceases to exist.
I’m not going to put a pretty ribbon on it. I won’t vote for Romney because I think he’s pro-life, I’ll vote for him because I am, and he won’t expand the grip of the culture of death over our government like Obama will continue to do. I’m not voting for Romney because he offers some sort of political salvation, or because I think he’ll turn the mess this country is in around — but I do think he’ll slow it down, and might even repair a little bit of the damage. I’m not voting for Romney because he fills me with hope, or because I will sleep so much better at night with him in office, or because I’ll feel good every day knowing I helped put him there, but I’ll vote for him because another Obama term fills me with dread, makes me worry endlessly about what kind of America will be left for my children, and I will live knowing that every day he’s out of office will maybe, just maybe, be a day that our nation will move just a little bit further in the right direction.
Politicians don’t often solve the kind of problems we face, but they most certainly have the ability to make them worse. I am confident that one of these two men will make things much worse, and the other will merely fail to make things much better. That’s a compromise I can live with. Because it buys us time. Time for the real conservatives to influence the policies of a new administration. Time to get better folks into Congress. Time to do grassroots work. Time to cultivate better leadership for the future.
We can’t afford more debt, more failed financial policies, more socialist experiments, more oppression of religious liberty, more expansion of the culture of death, more centralization of power in the executive branch. We’re losing control so fast, even maintaining the status quo is better. A little bit of progress would be a fantastic surprise.
I’m writing this to the skeptics out there, like me, who don’t want to do this. I know you’ve probably heard it every election for as long as you can remember: “This election matters more than any other in history! This time you really have to get on board!” And you’re tired, you’re fed up, and you’re cynical about it. The boy has been crying wolf for so long, you’re not listening anymore.
The problem is, I see the wolf with my own eyes. And I’m going to do my part to stop him.