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November 3, 2014

Don’t Be the Vote That Keeps Democrats In Power

“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.” –U.S. Senator Daniel Webster, 1840

Election time is upon us again, and with it the deluge of attack ads, misleading statements, grandiose promises, and distorting of records. It’s enough to make one want to stay home. Yet to stay home is to neglect the privilege of performing peacefully these civic duties that our forefathers fought, bled, and died to secure for us.

With every election cycle comes the question of the value of the vote, and our responsibility in deciding for whom to cast it. Do we vote for the person who most closely resembles our ideal candidate, or do we cast a more pragmatic vote for the person who most closely reflects our values who also has a legitimate chance of winning? For many conservatives, the answer lies in a rule of thumb offered by the great William F. Buckley, who said he would vote “for the most right [conservative], viable candidate who could win.”

Still others argue that an idealistic vote for a candidate that can’t win (or a refusal to vote because the candidate is not ideologically pure enough) sends a message to the major parties that we are not happy with what they are offering.

Both positions have merit, and both have weaknesses.

In 2012, millions of conservative voters stayed home rather than vote for Mitt Romney, who was deemed not conservative enough. And whatever the merits of that criticism, the fact is that our choices were limited to Obama, Romney, and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party (and a handful of other third party candidates that never had a chance to win). So what is a conservative voter to do?

Well, we know what conservative voters DID do. Millions stayed home, and some cast a protest vote for Gary Johnson, even though he held positions on important issues with which conservatives disagreed. No one who cast a vote really expected him to win, so this was really a way to poke a thumb in the eye of a Republican Party that conservatives felt had been insufficiently vigorous in their defense of conservatism and the Constitution, and that libertarian-leaning Republicans felt had become too comfortable with Big Government (not to mention the reality that many felt Ron Paul had been railroaded in the primary; whether true or not, they were adamant in this viewpoint, and the party’s actions often exacerbated rather than assuaged these feelings).

The result of this discontent was Obama rewarded with a second term in spite of having had a disastrous first term, including numerous scandals, high unemployment, a sluggish economy, and the fact that he received millions fewer votes than he had in 2008.

Having retained his power, Obama has been able, with the help of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who implemented the “nuclear option,” to have radical, progressive judges appointed to the federal bench; judges who have tossed out the decisions of tens of millions of Americans in thirty states which passed constitutional amendments codifying the long-held definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. These same judges are upholding the power of the EPA to kill our economy through the regulation of CO2, dismissing lawsuits against the IRS for targeting conservative groups, and allowing Obama’s unilateral rewriting of the Affordable Care Act for nakedly political purposes, and in direct violation of the law.

So, here we are again, deciding whether to reward a Republican Party many feel undeserving of being handed back the reins of congressional power, or voting for the Libertarian candidates on the ballot.

I will never condemn someone for casting a vote for candidates they sincerely believe is the best option, even knowing that the candidate can’t win. At the same time, I would ask these voters to be objective in that decision, and not overlook weaknesses in the Libertarian candidates out of frustration with an imperfect Republican candidate.

For example, here in Georgia, polls are showing an extremely tight race between Republican Governor Nathan Deal, Democrat state senator Jason Carter, and Libertarian candidate Andrew Hunt. For conservatives, Carter is automatically a no-go. How can a conservative ever vote for someone who thinks that government “doles out” rights? That leaves Deal and Hunt.

Deal has been a good governor that has occasionally been at odds with conservatives. He has, however, made Georgia one of the top states in the nation for doing business, and has made Georgia the 6th largest creator of new jobs over the last four years. He has also signed into law bills that conservatives should adore, like HB60, which significantly expanded and clarified private gun rights.

By contrast, Hunt, who claims to be a libertarian, wants to expand Medicaid at significant cost to Georgia taxpayers, and in his own life he has shown a willingness to take advantage of Big Government largesse when it benefits him personally (he got very rich by securing millions in government subsidies for his businesses…the very corporate socialism which libertarians rightly abhor). How, exactly, does voting for Hunt benefit Georgia or the cause of limited government?

Likewise, U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue finds himself in a tight race with Democrat Michelle Nunn, whose sole qualifications seem to be that she is the daughter of popular former Senator Sam Nunn, and that she ran Bush’s charitable organization, the Points of Light Foundation (during which, hypocritically – considering her attacks on Perdue for outsourcing – she laid off more than half the workers while more than doubling her salary). For those not sold on Perdue who are considering voting for Libertarian Amanda Swafford, I simply ask…why? Swafford has no chance of winning. It will be either Perdue or Nunn, and if Nunn wins that increases the likelihood of Democrats retaining control of the Senate, which means that Obama spends the next two years packing the federal courts with radical leftist judges who want to turn America into a socialist utopia, while Harry Reid continues to kill, by a refusal to allow a vote, bills coming from the Republican-controlled House (currently 400+ and counting). A vote for Swafford doesn’t mean a win for Swafford, it just means a higher likelihood that Nunn wins and Obama keeps the Senate.

I truly understand the frustrations of my liberty-minded and conservative friends who lament a lack of progress in advancing liberty by the GOP. However, I ask again, how is liberty being advanced when Democrats are elected? The Republican Party has much work to do to win the hearts and minds of liberty-lovers everywhere. At the same time, liberty-lovers have to understand that, for better or worse, we have a two-party system in this country, and any gains will be made through the political parties. I encourage liberty-loving Americans of all stripes to get involved at the grass roots level, to get involved in the primaries where you have the best chance of selecting true constitutionalists.

Help America have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas by depriving Obama of the minions he needs to complete his statist transformation of America.

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