Friday, August 17, 2012

How Important (in the Presidential Race) Is My Vote?

Only once have I voted in the fall for a major-party presidential candidate.  That was for George H. W. Bush in 1988, the first major election in which I could vote.  I came to regret having given him support.  Since then, I have voted for only 3rd-party candidates.  I will not vote for a Democrat, because they actively support intrinsic evils like abortion, but I have not found a Republican candidate with the right priorities to earn my vote, either. 

2008 Presidential Election by County

As a socially conservative Catholic, I get tired of comments like these:
bernadette says:  So what exactly does this mean? Romney supposedly is pro-abortion which I deplore. But I don’t want to hand over a victory to Obama to have four more years to destroy what is left of our country. This is what will happen if serious Catholics vote for a third candidate. I am really torn about this.
wmeyer says:  bernadette, this is precisely the point I try to make to those who think they can abstain, or vote for a 3rd party candidate. History shows that the result will be against us. And though I am not a Romney fan, I shall vote to remove O.
As an aside, what wmeyer really means is that if a lot of people refuse to vote for the Republican, the result will be against the Republicans, not that if a lot of people refuse to vote for the Constitution Party, the result will be against the Constitution Party.  Both statements are obviously true.  His first mistake is thinking that people who vote for the Constitution Party, as I have for as long as I have known it existed, are really Republicans, and that they will be happy if a Republican is elected.  His second mistake is thinking that a Catholic who takes the Catholic teachings on, for example, abortion seriously is morally obligated to support a party -- the Republicans -- who consider abortion a very serious matter when raising money, a very serious matter when turning out the vote, and the least important item on their agenda when it comes to governing.

For the sake of argument, though, let's pretend that it is indeed a grave sin for me to cast my vote in a way that helps a Democrat into the Oval Office.  Has that ever actually happened?
  • In 1992, I was a resident of Florida.  George H. W. Bush won the state and all of its electoral votes.  Obviously, changing my vote would not have changed anything. 
  • In 1996, however, while I was still a resident of Florida, Bill Clinton won the state with 2,546,870 votes to Dole's 2,244,536. Let's further pretend, though, that if I had changed my vote to Dole, so would more than 300,000 other Floridians, so that the GOP would then have won the state.  Even then, Bill Clinton would have easily won in the Electoral College, 354 to 184.
  • In 2000 and 2004, I was a resident of Texas.  In both elections, George W. Bush won the state of Texas easily and went on to win the elections. 
  • In 2008, I was a resident of West Virginia.  McCain won West Virginia by a large margin, but with only 5 electoral votes, it made no difference, and Obama won the national election by a wide margin in the Electoral College.
In other words, my vote has never had an impact on the presidency.  

The one thing my vote represents is my choice.  That is the only thing it means.  And I choose not to support an evil just because I have passed up on the opportunity to support a greater evil.  


"But what if everyone voted the way you did?"  Then both the Democrats and Republicans would be swept out of office, and the country would be better off for the change.

"Oh.  But I won't change my vote to your party.  That means you have to change your vote to my party, otherwise our votes will be divided and the greater evil will win!!!" 
  1. First of all, see everything I've written above.  
  2. Secondly, if you were convinced that being politically undivided is a moral requirement, you wouldn't be playing electoral chicken and assuming that I will flinch first. 
  3. Finally, why should the Republican Party buy the cow (actually govern to eliminate abortions) when they can get the milk (pro-life votes) for free?  Other groups understand this.  The pro-abortion and pro-gay-rights crowds won control of the Democratic Party by playing hardball.  It's long past time social conservatives learned to do the same.

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