I’ve been genuinely agonizing about what to do with this November’s general election ballot, as have many of my fellow movement conservatives.
To borrow the Democrat nominee’s recent description of the electorate, it’s a menu of deplorables: a creep, a crook, and a couple of crazies.
Those are some depressing choices, especially after having such a promising field of conservative candidates in the Republican Primary who were ready to champion individual liberty, limited government, and free markets.
Now, we’re left to cringe at the prospect of voting for Donald Trump, who probably doesn’t believe in any of those principles.
We’d sooner die than vote for Hillary Clinton, who definitely doesn’t believe in any of them.
We’d never vote for one of these silly third party libertarian sideshows. They either believe in everything or nothing, depending upon whom you ask.
And we’re not going to sit home or write-in some imaginary candidate’s name, either. That effectively allows a vote to slide into Clinton’s column unchallenged. Besides, it’s kind of craven to abandon the field altogether.
But what choices do we have left?
That’s the frustrating question that’s been tumbling through my mind since Trump secured the GOP’s nomination last summer, until I finally decided to simply do what I’ve done in every election since I was 20 years old – vote a straight Republican Party ticket.
Voting for the Republican Party instead of its presidential candidate will help me avoid, at least directly, having the indelible stain of Trumpism on my hands. Sure, it’s a paper-thin rhetorical barrier and doesn’t survive a strong test of intent – my vote will still end up in Trump’s column – but it will allow me to cast a ballot with nearly a clean conscience.
I’m supporting the most conservative party, not its miserable nominee for president.
For those who aren’t familiar with or have forgotten that portion of the general election ballot, it’s located near the top and gives voters an easy option to by-pass all of the individual, party-based races and make a single selection that casts their vote for everyone running under that party’s banner. If one selects “Republican Party of Alabama,” then their votes will automatically go to the party’s nominee for president, governor, senate, congressman, courts, commissions, and so on down the line.
There’s no need to select Trump individually.
Most people dislike straight party voting, though. They see it as a narrow-minded act, some sort of groupthink, or worse, obedience to party bosses. When close friends have asked me how I intended to vote in the past, and I answered “straight ticket, brother,” many said they’d never consider such a thing.
The implication is always clear – they’re too informed and independent to be such a party minded automaton.
I understand their apprehension, but I ask my fellow conservatives: are you really ever going to vote for a Democrat? And even if you find a random candidate or two from that party appealing for whatever reason, why would you want to give power to someone officially aligned with an organization that supports abortion-on-demand, opposes school choice, wants to grow government, increase your taxes, open our borders, and generally remake our nation in the image of Western Europe and Central America?
Even if elected in the most local and seemingly inconsequential race, every Democrat in office weakens the conservative movement’s ability to advance our principles. Period. That’s why primaries are so important; they’re our only chance to field the right candidate. If we’re defeated then, it’s tails the liberals win, heads the conservatives lose.
That’s where we’ve found ourselves today.
Trump is a sorry candidate and will probably be an even sorrier president, but at least he’ll ask Sen. Jeff Sessions for advice before nominating a Supreme Court Justice in a few months. Clinton won’t. She’ll select a radical, pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom statist, no doubt. That alone should settle it. It does for me.
So to my fellow conservatives: we may have lost a battle during the primary, but we will damn sure lose the war if Clinton wins in the general election.
If only for once, the best choice conservatives have this election is to cast their votes for a straight Republican Party ticket.